A friend of mine recently said to me, “you know, em…it sounds like you have hit a really difficult place right now with the kids and I believe that means you are about to turn a corner.” It was one of those pieces of wisdom that among the snippets from sympathetic friends that go in one ear and out the other, served its actual purpose, creating a pause and some peaceful space in my endlessly frantic head. And, lo and behold, this week seemed a little easier. I don’t know if this has anything to do with the couple of yoga classes I forced myself to take, (although Isabelle had much better ideas for what I should be doing with my time) or just the hope that things may soon feel lighter. Perhaps just a different mindset and clearer head allows us to view the same set of circumstances differently when in fact nothing has actually changed. But, also I am reminded of one of the most important pieces of advice that although I hand out regularly to new mom’s, can’t seem to hold onto for myself. It is the simple fact that no matter what is happening….IT WILL CHANGE. One of the most frustrating things with children is also one of the most encouraging. Nothing stays the same. Just when we are on our knees, humbled by the pure exhaustion and seeming impossibility of getting through another day and we have no idea how to change what isn’t working, something shifts. And this shift usually has nothing to do with our best laid plans or lack thereof. It is simply our children entering a new phase. This is sometimes great news! Unless we are in a blissful phase during which we feel proud and a bit cocky about our excellent parenting skills. “Of course Isabelle is happily putting herself to sleep for her naps! It must be my beautifully timed nap routine and the spa –like ambience in her room! I must write a best selling book about the art of mothering!” It is exactly this thinking that is a warning sign for a landmine. Usually , it means that within a day or two I am headed back to a place of utter insecurity concerning all of my choices and abilities to parent and my kids are screaming and bouncing off the walls as I look for the camera that is surely taping the “before” video footage for an episode of Nanny 911.
Therein lies the lesson which I relearn probably every other week. I’m doing my best. Every day, I’m doing my best. Sometimes that “best” is less to be desired, but at the end of the day, it is everything I had. And there is another day. Perhaps, I need to learn to live a little more in the middle, allowing for these shifts and changes. After all, the constant, the one and only thing that will never change, is the fact that everything is constantly changing. Maybe if I could breathe a little through the difficulties as they run their course without hysterically envisioning an entire lifetime of ruined naps and blinding sleep deprivation and then lashing myself for all the things I must have done wrong to create them, they would perhaps not last as long…or at the very least, may not seem to last as long. For that matter, pride in a well timed day, restorative naps, healthy (actually ingested) meals and quiet, sweet bedtimes is a beautiful thing. But taking too much credit for the good is just as dangerous as taking too much responsibility for the bad. We are here to help them as best we can to grow and learn, but most of the time….it’s just not about us.