Yes! This May is the Month of Mommying on the blog.
I’ve started using an editorial calendar for the blog a few weeks ago, and I’m finding it a really helpful tool. Whenever I think of an idea for a post, I think about when it would be best to write and share on that topic, and I tentatively schedule a date for that post. What I’ve discovered is that thinking this way helps me to generate more ideas, and often a theme develops.
That’s what happened with May. I had a few ideas for posts that were related to parenting, and I figured that the month of Mothers’ Day would be a good time for that kind of content. Then, the more I thought about topics related to parenting, the more ideas came to me.
I hope you enjoy this month of thoughts on parenting (with other subjects blended in there as well). Happy May!
When my son Teddy was a little younger than a year old, he had a pattern. He would start to fade out sometime between 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. every evening. I’ve heard parents call this “the witching hour.”
When Teddy would get into that zone, one of two things would happen: either he would erupt into adorable (and often unprovoked) baby giggles, or he would start having back-to-back meltdowns in rapid succession.
An interesting phenomenon would occur at this point: Teddy would forget his coping skills.
Yes, even though he was still a baby, Teddy definitely had coping skills. What I mean is – he had activities he could engage in that were reliably comforting and calming for him. Like standing by the front door looking outside at the cat napping on the porch. Like looking at a book of baby first words. Like playing in one of ‘his’ kitchen cabinets.
However, when Teddy is exhausted and burnt out on the crazy baby life and not thinking straight, he forgets about all the things that help him feel better.
That’s where Mommy comes in to save the day. I’d pull out his favorite baby book and turn it to the page with all the cars on it. I’d shake his little tambourine so he could pretend to dance. I’d scoop him up, carry him to the window, and point out the cat. Then I’d set him down beside the window, and he’d stare at the cat, smiling occasionally. Tantrum over. He didn’t even need me to sit by the window with him.
He just needed me to remind him of the things he can do to feel better when he’s struggling.
Oh, boy. Don’t we all need reminders sometimes?
I constantly forget to do the things that help me to feel happy, healthy, and whole as a human being. I start to feel sluggish and it takes me days to realize it’s because I haven’t been running or eating healthy food. My monkey mind starts twisting and turning like crazy, and I forget that going to meetings or meditating or journalling helps me to get out of my head and back in the present moment.
Sometimes Tee or a good friend can remind me; I’m always grateful for that. Often, though, I wish I could remind myself. Sometimes, when I slow down and allow myself a little bit of Kerriann time, I’ll feel myself calming down and getting back to neutral. I daydream about writing messages to myself on giant post-its all around the house. YOU NEED TO RUN. YOU NEED TO READ. YOU NEED TO WRITE. YOU NEED TO MEDITATE.
I’ll consider it.
For now, I’m grateful to have just finished a day that included reading, writing, a long run, and pancakes. Excellent self-care.
I’ve been thinking hard about ways to cultivate mindfulness in my everyday life. Lately I’m trying to face up to my sort-of-chronic anxiety, and friends have advised me that mindfulness is an effective tool to use.
Sometimes, mommying can be helpful in this way. I’ve realized that right now, my mommying time is the least stressful thing in my life. Not that it’s not tiring or stressful or worry-inducing in its own way – but I feel the most in the zone and in the flow when I am mommying Teddy.
Today we were curled up reading a book together, and I realized that reading to Teddy is one of the few times of day when I am completely and totally engrossed in the task at hand and not multi-tasking in any way.
That’s a breath of fresh air, for me.
Not everything I do with Teddy is quite as mindful. Sometimes, when we take our walks outside, I have a podcast playing on my phone while we walk and play. I try not to beat myself up about this, but it’s definitely something I’d like to be different someday.
One of my intentions for 2018 was to meditate more – again, with the hope t
hat it will help my anxiety. I’ve been doing pretty well with this habit, but I’m grateful for the mommying moments that pull me into the present.
SIDEBAR: we just borrowed a book from the library called Baby Present, by Rachel Neumann, which I got partially because I thought Teddy would like it and partially because the book is basically a mini meditation. It’s delightful and I feel myself relax into the moment every time we read it.