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What I Learned…

We all agree that mama-ing means constantly learning and adapting and changing to take better care of your little one who is also constantly learning and adapting and changing, right? I mean it certainly isn’t static. For me, just with my one, no day is the same as the one previous. I learn something new everyday, either about myself or M or just parenting and  being a mama.

Bearing that in mind, I thought it might be fun to start a new weekly series (inspired in part by fellow Twitter mama @queen_elisheba, check her out at Lollipop Royalty) recounting what I learned over the course of the week about being a mama.

To get the ball rolling, this week I learned:

M changes so much everyday. One day he’s just learning to sit up and seemingly the next he’s launching himself forward, trying to crawl. It happens just that quickly. If I don’t pay attention, I’m going to miss something monumental.

Being present, in the moment with your child, is so important. So often we let ourselves get distracted by screens and media.  Our phones are constantly in hand and we have the instant gratification of being able to tap a screen and instantly connect to the entire world. I am so guilty of ignoring him in favor being connected to everyone else. I look at my phone when he’s nursing, when he’s playing on the floor, when I’m wearing him…my phone is my constant companion. It’s insane.

Last night, as I was nursing him to sleep, I found myself getting irate because Twitter kept freezing. I was getting impatient and frustrated and angry, all while I was trying to get my baby to relax. I was stressing out during what should be a peaceful and calming time because of my phone. I wasn’t present. I wasn’t using this intimate and quiet time to connect with my son. In fact, I was counteracting all the calming and peaceful influences and really just ruining the moment.

I put my phone away and I concentrated on M and my breath. I focused on spending that time with him, soothing him and quieting him and…mothering him. It was one of the most relaxing bedtimes we’ve had and he drifted off to sleep and didn’t wake up again for over an hour. Normally, he wakes up on and off every 15 minutes for the first hour he’s in bed. Just taking that extra step, spending that time, being with him, instead of dealing with him made all the difference and resulted in a happier, more relaxing night for everyone.

It’s so easy to pull out your phone or your tablet or your laptop and connect. As stay at home moms, I know we often feel disconnected and alone, and the pull to talk to people, be around similar women in situations similar to our own, can be a siren call. Don’t let the ease with which that’s possible cause you to disconnect from your main priority and miss out on those precious, once in a lifetime moments. Be present. Be with your kids.


Village? What Village?

It takes a village. Right? To raise a kid, it takes a community, a network of support to be there to lend a hand when mama needs help or has questions or feels blue. During those rough patches when baby is teething or up all night and mama hasn’t slept more than 2 hours at a time in weeks.Mama needs a village.

But what if you don’t have a village? What if you don’t have that community to provide hands-on help? What if there’s nobody to take the baby so you can get a nap? Nobody to sit and drink coffee with and answer your questions or give you a hug or comfort you when you cry? What’s a mama to do when she doesn’t have friends or family nearby?

Since B and I married in 2000, we’ve moved 8, count ’em, 8 times. Yes. Eight. 12345678. And 5 of those moves have been since 2009. I know. This vagabond, gypsy lifestyle we’ve had to adopt, while making us very adaptable, does not lend to the creation of or nurturing of friendships. Work friends and bar friends tend to become Facebook friends and that’s about it. You lose touch and people carry on. Out of sight, out of mind.

Since M was born in April, we’ve had two non-family visitors. The first was when he was very, very wee, maybe 2 or 3 weeks old. The second was last weekend. I don’t have a village. I don’t have anyone to whom I can say “here, take the baby while I pee” or nap or drive to the store to get some milk or wash the dishes. It is just me 15 hours a day.

So what’s a mama to do when she has no village? She finds one on the internet. Facebook and Twitter mamas have saved my sanity on countless occasions. I know that I can go to Facebook and post a question about a cough that I’m worried about or what the best colic remedy is or whether or not M should take  Tylenol before his shots…anything really, and a host of mamas will sally forth to help me or calm my fears.

And Twitter?  Man. Twitter has been a Godsend. I never used the Twitters before M got here but I have found it to be so helpful as a place to vent my frustrations. I have received so much love and support from COMPLETE STRANGERS on Twitter that it almost renews my faith in humanity. Those Twitter mamas are second to none when it comes to making me feel like I’m not messing up every step of the way. When I’m lonely or sad there is ALWAYS someone there who knows how it feels to be a first time mom who is overwhelmed. Those women are priceless.

So, while real-life, tangible shoulders for me to cry on or lean on are miles and miles and miles away, I always have the internet.

Thank you, internet.

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