I’m thinking God knew what he was doing when he decided to give me another baby. (Surprise, surprise.)
Last night, it occurred to me while I was bathing 3/4 of my children that I’ve been much calmer about Jones’s homework since Ivy arrived on the scene. And also about sibling squabbles. And whether or not Harper chooses to wear the appropriate shoes and socks when we go to pick up Ezzy. Really, I’m calmer about most things. (Except the bane of our parenting existence: dinnertime. For some reason, our kids really suck at SITTING and EATING, and must leave the table multiple times without asking or saying why, or move around in their chairs enough to spill many liquids, or chew unholy amounts of food while jumping in their seats. It’s ridiculous. And I am not calm about it. At all.)
Ivy has spared the family from my controlling and perfectionist nature, which was making a strong comeback in the months leading up to birth. (See yesterday’s post.) I was all about the clean house and the routine and the bedtimes, and I wasn’t about to give an inch on anything, because I have one of those kids who will gobble up a foot of inches before I even know what’s happened. I wasn’t demanding anything… yet. But I was toying with the notion that I could exert my will over the reactions and behavior of my children, which is a surefire way to have NO FUN in mothering. Kids are people, too. They can’t live life on their own yet, and sometimes they can be quite rude, but they are entitled to think their own thoughts and feel their own feelings. A mama shouldn’t get in the way of that — but I was starting to think I could clean house, cook meals, AND control children. Yikes.
But this baby is helping me change directions. I’m too tired to try to control things I know don’t belong to me. Sleeplessness is setting me straight. You don’t want to finish the last problem of your homework? Well it’s not my homework, it’s yours, so just tell your teacher why it’s not finished. You want to keep fighting over that toy, despite my attempts to help you work it out? Take the toy upstairs and figure it out there; I’m here if you need me. You want to put rainboots on over those bare feet, in January? As long as you are okay to not climb on anything while we’re out, then be my guest, girl. If your feet get cold, we’ll talk about the benefits of wearing socks.
Babies help you cut down and simplify. Usually, this looks like cooking easier meals and streamlining your cleaning routine. This time, Ivy girl is helping me cut down my expectations of the precious little people in my house, and also of myself. She is helping me simplify my emotional load, because I’ve remembered I’m not responsible for anyone’s feelings but my own.
She has no idea what a gift she’s given her siblings, in allowing me zero control over her needs and wants. Thank you, little lady. I look forward to the other lessons in my future.