I am trying to remember the last time I woke up naturally. I am usually awakened by one of three things: 1)Charlie yelling in his sleep 2) Matthew screaming in his crib 3) Holden fussing in his nursery. As a mom to three, little boys three and under, sleep eludes me. Come to think of it, many things elude me- adult conversation, meals at a table, high heeled shoes, phone conversations that do not include bribery....though on most days, these are all small tradeoffs. Despite the hurdles motherhood presents on a daily basis, there are so many opportunities for growth- and not just in body size.
Prior to having kids,I taught high school English. I loved my job. When I made the tough decision to leave the classroom and stay home with Charlie, my assistant principal said, "I can't picture you as one of those moms that is all goo-goo, ga-ga with her baby at home." I guess he was insinuating that if you stay home with your child, you have to resort to baby talk and lose your identity. Okay, I have thought about his comment many times over the past three years, but it has also motivated me to make the most of this time. It will not last forever.
Honestly, the past three years have taught me more about myself than four years of college and seven years in the classroom. My boys have taught me that I owe to myself to "stop and think" in the words of my three-year-old. Think about what I value in my life. Think about what message I want to send my children and it isn't just "goo-goo, ga, ga". I am a lifelong learner. It doesn't feel like it somedays when I am juggling emergencies- remove Matthew from the top of the kitchen table or grab Holden who is simply a speed bump to sword-yielding Charlie imitating Luke Sidewalker on TV? I feel a long ways from my English lit degree when I am explaining why Big Nutbrown Hare loves Little Nutbrown Hare. I am many miles from studying abroad in Ecuador when I am explaining what Go Diego just said to his monkey, but these moments force me to "stop and think." Just like my three-year-old encourages me to do almost daily- as moms isn't it critical that we stop and think...for our children and for ourselves.
What can I do to make myself a better mom? I can stop. I can think. I can dream and I can attempt to sleep.