Being a better Mother

71 days down, 294 to go!

Dear Orange Rhinos,

Here is the 2nd guest blog this week as I continue my “staycation” with my family. I thank my dear friend who has been a supporter of The Orange Rhino Challenge since day 1 for taking time out of her very busy schedule to write for us. And I thank her for her honesty – both about herself and about what the Orange Rhino Community means to her. Enjoy. I know I did,

Cheers,

The Orange Rhino

*

The Orange Rhino was a bit surprised (editor’s note: FLABERGASTED more like it!) when I asked if I could be one of her guest posters.  She said, “But you don’t yell, right?” and this is correct.  I am not much of a yeller at all.  This is for purely selfish reasons; I am averse to loud noises and generally dislike drama.   And yet, I read every post of hers, click on every Facebook status update, and read every single one of her readers’ comments.  Why? Because I love my children, and I really love hearing the words of other parents who are doing their best to be better parents.  We’ve all got issues, and while yelling may not be one of mine, I still have plenty of areas in which I could improve my parenting.

I get inspired by being a part of the Orange Rhino Community… this is a hard task that all of you have taken on, and I respect each one of you for the attempt- even if it is only day three for you.  Anyhow, on to the “meat” of my post:

I struggled for years to get pregnant the first time, so when I became a Mommy seven years ago, I was in total bliss.  My daughter was my entire universe from the moment she was placed in my arms.  When I found out that I was expecting again shortly after her first birthday, I was extremely surprised and delighted that it had happened again without medical intervention, but I had these secret nagging worries that I would never, ever be able to love my second child as much as I loved my first.

There just didn’t seem to be enough space in my emotional landscape for that.

When an early ultrasound revealed that I was in fact expecting my second AND THIRD children (fraternal twins,) that nagging worry turned into a not-so-silent panic.  As my belly grew larger and larger (I kid you not, it was an EPIC belly- 54″ diameter just before I delivered,) I felt that I owed my oldest an apology for what was about to happen to our neat little mother/daughter bubble that we had been living in… and I mourned the loss of that bubble with a vengeance. (Editor’s note: glad I am not the only one who ever felt that!)

But time marches on, and before I knew it, I was a mother of three children under the age of 2.  Harumph.  I’d love to write about what those early days were like, how I came to terms with the new reality, and how I slowly but surely bonded with the twins and watched my love expand to fit all three kids… but anyone who has had newborn twins will tell you that there is a blur effect that takes place, blocking out all but the occasional snapshot of the first six months.  So, I have no idea how it happened, but I know that by the time the twins were old enough to sit up on their own, my emotional landscape had grown to accommodate the tremendous love that I felt for all three of my children.  Every storm cloud has a silver lining, and as I sit here thinking about how soul-crushingly hard those early days were, I have to admit (now that they are in the past,) that it was the best thing that could have happened to us as a family.

My children are best friends and wonderful playmates for each other.

As a parent of a 7 year old and two 5 year olds, my life is less concerned with the logistics than it was in the early days; the children eat, sleep, dress themselves, eliminate waste, and amuse themselves more or less without a great deal of effort on my part.  However, now that they are older, I have had to up my parenting game significantly…. because now, they are PEOPLE: each one unique, each one with thoughts and hopes and dreams and fears and circumstances that they need to deal with as they move through life.

And I am their guide.

The awareness that how I handle things in life is the main example that they will learn from as they mature is nearly paralyzing- because I am deeply flawed.  I have a short fuse, I am rigid and easily annoyed, I am bossy and a know-it-all, and sometimes, my sense of humor is unkind.  What if they end up flawed like me???

So.  While I may not have an issue with yelling, the Orange Rhino Community is my place to remind myself that I want to be a better person, so that I can be a better mother.  As the Orange Rhino has pointed out numerous times, knowing your triggers is a good place to start, so I attempt on a daily basis to recall those elements that make me struggle (stress, not enough rest, and relationships…to name a few,) and I do my best to be intentional about how I handle those challenges- because my children are watching me, and they deserve my very best effort.

*

“I want to be a better person, so that I can be a better mother….and I do my best…because my children….deserve my very best effort.”  This is certainly a sentiment I can relate to, in fact it was the main driver behind starting The Orange Rhino Challenge. My children deserve my best effort. Period. And while I can only do so much, as long as I have given this whole parenting gig my best effort, as long as I have TRIED, then I know I won’t have any regrets. Even if I am not perfect. Notice how my friend uses better, not perfect? That’s perfectly put. It’s not about being perfect. It is simply about trying our best. Doing what we can.

And I can tell you, my friend is doing a pretty bang up good job. Both as a mom, and as a friend. Thank you for being my friend AND for writing.

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2 thoughts on “Being a better Mother

  1. Wow…3 kids under 2 yrs old…I can’t imagine what kinds of feelings you had leading up to the birth and then postpartum. Kudos for being a great friend and Momma. (as a side note, for some reason I have this nagging feeling I’m going to end up with twins next time I get pregnant. My SO says it’s gonna be twin girls LOL…hehe…yikes!)

  2. That was awesome!  It really is interesting to see how the parenting challenges morph from overall physical care to emotional care and well-being.  And I certainly feel that parenting has made me so aware of my flaws…and there are many.  Some days are certainly better than others.  But I do my best. 
    “Tomorrow is a new day, there are no mistakes in it.”…yet.  🙂
    Thanks for sharing.

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