Tag Archives: Motherhood

Did you cry?

I sat talking with a patient about a year ago. Her 36 year old Down Syndrome son had just tried to sneak a soda and we were discussing the challenges our children faced as well as what we faced as parents.

“Did you cry when you found out?” She asked me. “I did. I bawled for days. I didn’t know what else to do.”

I felt bad telling her the truth because the truth is, I didn’t. I didn’t cry leaving the developmental pediatrician’s office that day. I left feeling relieved.

“Honestly, no.” I hung my head. “I felt relieved. I spent 5 years feeling like I was failing as a mom that I was so happy to hear that this wasn’t my fault.”

It still sounds self indulgent.

But the truth is, by the time she was diagnosed I had cried a lot.

I cried every time I couldn’t get her to eat as a newborn.

I cried when I knew her very rigid schedule was disrupted because I knew I would spend the next 48 hours with a baby that couldn’t cope.

I cried when her temper tantrums seemed to never end.

I cried when the next one started again 20 minutes after the last one stopped.

I cried when we couldn’t get her to eat.

I cried when she would bite me and pull my hair.

I cried when we exhausted one therapy and we still weren’t “normal”.

I cried when I made the appointment for yet more therapy or to meet another specialist.

I cried a lot.

And I still cry when she struggles.

But the truth is, the tears come from struggle, not a label. These days she is a happy kid. She’s starting to make friends and finding herself in hobbies. She excels in school and radiates with her accomplishments. Her diagnosis doesn’t upset me because it doesn’t define her and it allows us to deal with the tears constructively. And that is something to celebrate.

I am important

I have enjoyed over the past week reading why a bunch of moms can’t find the time to work out or don’t have wash board abs, toned muscles and gorgeous hair. It’s taken me awhile to get to my excuses posted because I have a gazillion reasons why I don’t look like a super-fit mom, but I’ll keep to the short list.

  • I gained 60 lbs with my first pregnancy, 45 with the second
  • Nursing did not lose the baby weight
  • I work full time
  • I balance my work schedule with Molly’s OT and Counseling sessions
  • Charlie had surgery at the age of 1
  • Charlie has been in the ER 4 times for falling off furniture, a blocked urethra, and 2 allergic reactions
  • We have “homework” for both therapies and for Pre-K
  • We have to eat, so I have to make it and shop for it
  • I LOVE to sleep
  • I LOVE to eat cake, ice cream, cookies, pie…
  • I’d rather sit on the couch and eat at the end of the day
  • I want to relax and drink coffee in the morning
  • I have to manage shopping, cooking and planning for Charlie’s allergies

This list could go on and on. Here’s the deal, DESPITE all of these excuses, I eventually lost the baby weight and even just ran 7.3 miles for a race. Because that’s all they are. They are excuses, not reasons. It’s about priorities and I have to make myself a priority. It took almost 18 months after Charlie was born to lose all the weight and I still don’t have wash board abs. Why? Because I don’t need them to be a good mom, but I do need the physical activity to make me a better mom. I can hold Crow in yoga, but my arms aren’t perfectly sculpted. I’m pretty sure at some point someone replaced my armpits with that of a 300 pound person. It’s not about what I look like though it’s because I function better with the physical outlet. It’s just how I relieve stress. I also find that it’s more excusable to wear yoga pants everywhere if at some point I have worn them for yoga. And I do wear them everywhere.

I spend the day making sure everyone’s needs are met. From my family to work, I am constantly answering the complaints of others and making them better. I would count on Stampy to make me feel important but this is the same guy who took costume jewelry out of his pocket and said “I got you something” to propose. Seriously. So, I make the choice to say “I am important”. I make the choice to take care of myself and occasionally put my needs first. I take care of myself so I can take care of others effectively. And if nothing else, it gives me an hour to myself. When I can’t even take a shower or pee by myself at least I can get on the road and run by myself. And as much as I can (and will) complain about Stampy, he gives me the opportunity to better myself week after week.

That being said, maybe yoga and running isn’t your thing. Maybe physical activity isn’t your thing at all. What the activity is isn’t important, what is important that you do what makes you happy. That you give yourself some time to be healthy and to praise yourself (Look what I can do!). Make yourself a priority, take time to take part in your hobbies, just get a breath of fresh air with some friends that doesn’t include a playground. I think if we can put ourselves first once in awhile, we can find happiness and the ever important message that “I am important”.

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It also helps to surround yourself with people who love what you do…. whether we are running, doing yoga or drinking wine we always have a great time.