Today was just one of those days. Fussy from teething. Wouldn’t eat her pears. Cried the second she left my arms. Wouldn’t go down for her afternoon nap. I had a bad headache. It was cold and rainy outside. We didn’t go for a run. We didn’t play with friends. I couldn’t make dinner and had to resort to mac n’ cheese. We didn’t go to the playground down the street. And a load of laundry sat cold in a basket in the living room all day – just long enough to wrinkle everything and need to be tossed in again. One of those days.
After I put her down for bed I was left with this feeling of disappointment – like I had failed her today. I felt like today was a wash, I had nothing to show for it, and that I should’ve and could’ve done better.
And then I read an article that put things back in perspective. The article reminded me that even when it didn’t feel like it – today was enough. I have the link to the article itself below, but I want to walk through some of the things the article taught me about days like today. What I hope it reminds you moms of as well, because I know I’m not the only one that has “one of those days”.
Out of the difficult, resistant, cluttered, patience-trying chaos of today, I taught her the following:
1. She can always depend on me. When she needed to be changed, fed, cuddled, and put to sleep – I was there to cater to her needs. Every single time. When she needs something and is letting me know through her cries – I am there, and always will be. We are currently working on baby sign language, and is another way that we are strengthening our bond and communication. I care about her needs, and will do what I can to meet them.
2. Its OK for her to depend on herself, too. Tonight I put her down for bed wide awake, and after one and a half minutes, she had figured out how to fall sleep on her own. Watching that banana puff stick to her hand over, and over, and over (and over) before she got it in her mouth was painful – but I let her figure it out on her own as she practiced her fine motor skills. My instincts wanted to run and catch her every time she fell from pulling herself up on something. But if I had, she wouldn’t be mastering her graceful sit down/fall she’s been working on. Sometimes being a good parent means doing less, not more.
3. She learned how words work. We talk, we sing, and we shout. All. Day. Long. We counted every item we pulled out of our grocery cart (much to the annoyance of the young cashier hating his job). We read books (and by read I mean chewed as I tried to read). We described all the different colors and textures of leaves we encountered on our walk. We sang what felt like at least 108 kids songs together. We had conversations about life as we ate dinner together. She learned the sounds, rhythms, and tone of verbal language – and that, is awesome.
4. She learned how to take turns. Between our peek-a-boo game with the blanket outside, rolling the ball back and forth, and having squealing matches back and forth in the kitchen, she learned that human interactions are give and take. Socially, she’s learning – and that too, is awesome.
5. She learned that making a mess can stimulate the best science experiments. We TORE UP her play room. The entire alphabet letter mat turned into giant blocks for her to bulldoze. We dumped out ALL of her toys to see how we could make the tallest toy tower ever – just to knock it down again. And again, and again. At bath time, everything in a 3 foot radius from the tub was soaked. But tonight we learned that all the water that goes into the giant cup, will come out. And if done with force, will come out faster and farther. She also learned that if you’re quick enough to grab the shower head from mom and get your mouth on it, you will choke on water. We played, we made a mess, we had fun, and we learned that it takes exactly 5 balls to fill up mom’s shoe.
6. She learned that life has a pattern. Wake up. Nurse. Play. Oatmeal. Nap. Poop. Bottle. Play. Veggies. Walk. Bottle. Nap. Play. Dinner. Oatmeal. Bath. Books. Bottle. Bed time. Her world is predictable, consistent, and allows her to look forward to things as she knows (for the most part), what’s coming next. Its safe, and she’s comfortable and thriving in it.
Today was enough. I was enough. These days happen, and now when I try and tell myself it wasn’t enough – I know better. I respond to her needs, I love her fiercely, and I give her my all. I play, I laugh, I encourage, I teach, I touch, and I support her. And even when nothing else goes right – that will always be enough.
Article from Parents.com: