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I’m still learning

The little miss is now almost 3 years old, yet the more I think I know I realize there’s so much more to learn. So much more growth, possibly more growth for me 🙂

Today, I lost my cool, I may not have shouted but internally I lost control. Sunshine lied to me and I kept asking her to just tell me the truth. I kept getting frustrated that she couldn’t say the truth and stuck to her ‘truth’. That should not be a big deal, she is still so young after all, she cannot be perfect, but for me to take it so personally! I felt like she was letting go of all the values I’m trying to inculcate in her. And that’s not true at all because whenever I look at her I’m amazed at how centered and whole she is. She is already the best she can be at her age, and I am always so proud of the girl she is. So, for me to have felt so frustrated today…that definitely wasn’t about her, it was about me. Her tiny lie was just a trigger for me and I got hurt because I was already worn out and overwhelmed, so that was just the last straw.

I’m always talking about self- care, especially for mums; because if you don’t take care of yourself, you cannot take care of another. But often it’s hard to practice what you preach. When you’re tired, overwhelmed, worn out, stressed or sleep deprived, you start operating from the emotional part of your brain as opposed to your rational part, so all your decisions and actions, will not be the best. And it’s so easy at this point to make any small mole hill a mountain.

After taking a moment today, I acknowledged that my frustration was not about Miss Sunshine or her ‘half- truth’, I was just worn out because of a series of late nights, poor sleep and a whole week without taking time to do things that nurture me. I’ve neglected nourishing me-time and that’s what brought me to this point. So, see why I’m the one who’s still learning? I have to keep reminding myself that for me to be the best me and best mum to my Sunshine, I need to take care of myself. The only way she’ll also know how to take care of herself is by modelling what I do.

Additionally, being overwhelmed made me make today about me. Why did I need her to tell the truth so badly? Probably so I could affirm that I’m bringing her up to be honest. But that’s about me, and that’s what made me keep asking her over and over again. If I was more relaxed and calm, I would have approached it in a different way and because I wouldn’t have internalized any hurt, I would have shown her what I wanted to teach her in a different way. When we’re reacting from our emotions, we forget that children are their own persons and we shouldn’t be controlling them but guiding them. and just like us, they do have flaws, and that’s perfectly okay.

And because there’s no time like the present, I’ve taken some time out today to refresh and re- energize, and that will be a priority every day. My Sunshine, once again I apologize for making a big deal out of nothing. Thanks for being part of my growth process, for teaching me something new each and every day. Remember, you make a difference in MY world.

Love you sunshine!

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Balance… (And a tribute to my bookies)

Being a psychologist, I always emphasise to clients the importance of a balanced life…work, hobbies, rest, having time for oneself as well as family, social life etc…and I always thought it wasn’t that hard.

Then came my precious bundle of joy and all my well- meant advice went out the window (for me)…it’s like the cord that bound us together in the womb never ceased existing after birth, such that I felt unable to be too far away from her. This was probably enhanced by her being unwell during her first year, meaning we spent 90% of our time together. Then even when she was better and I was working more, I’d try and fit in as much work as possible within a few hours, without even a lunch break so I could go back home to her. It took me a couple of months to even go to the salon because I was afraid of leaving her, I always thought, “What if she needs me?” I guess with time, especially because she’s been so well, it’s been easier being away from her…well at least physically, maybe not so in my mind. Until I realized how hard it was to be out having fun, without her. I’m ok being at work but whenever I’d think of meeting friends, having time out alone, I’d feel so guilty, like I’m doing something wrong. Of course consciously I know how irrational this is, and being a psychologist means I also know it’s totally untrue. A happy mum makes a happy child and a happy mum needs to have a whole life, a full life… I mean I’m constantly preaching this. I think it’s just been hard for me to live this because I made my life revolve around my Sunshine, obsessing about her, her happiness and needs and wants, to the exclusion of everything else. And because I love her so so much, it has never felt like a sacrifice or taken effort, it just felt normal, like this is how my life has always been.

Lately however I’m trying to add some balance to my life, more for her sake than mine (because I want her to practice living her life for herself and having a full life- so maybe not the best motive as it still begins with her, but it’s a start :-)) So, I do meet my friends and even refrain from talking about her more than 70% of the time :-), I have the coffee dates alone I previously cherished, I’ve started thinking about my own goals and needs and I even joined a book club (more fuel for my book obsession.) And, all this has made me a better and more fulfilled mum, and when I rush home to my Ss, our quality time is even more enriching…

Like today was my monthly book club meeting…and as usual it was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.! I love being with my fellow bookies and chatting about anything and everything (not just the book.) Thank you bookies! Each time I attend a book club meeting, it’s like I get a new lease of life…and I just get to be young and carefree talking about my greatest pleasure…books…and maybe Ss 50% 🙂

The guilt however is still a work- in- progress. It’s easy for me to meet friends on weekdays because I feel like those are working days. But I feel like weekends should be fun filled days for the little one and that means I should be with her during the weekend, either home or out, and if not, have planned a fun activity for her with significant others. I think a part of me feels neglectful, like “How can I be rushing to go enjoy myself and leave her home, bored without me?” Which is not exactly true because when I get back I can tell how much she’s enjoyed her day and that she doesn’t feel any loss. But as I said, work- in- progress… I’m just taking baby steps and hoping that soon I’ll be able to let go somewhat like she’s able to 🙂

And maybe…in the distant future I’ll even be able to resume browsing and shopping for my own things and not just Sunshine and Sunshine- related things 🙂 otherwise, one day when she’s all grown I’ll be asked, “What do you enjoy?” and I’ll say “Ss” and I’ll be asked “Where do you like to hang out?” and I’ll give a list of child friendly places and finally I’ll be asked where I like to shop and I’ll give a list of baby shops 🙂 and then probably all I’ll remember being is Mama Sunshine and nothing else… (which might even make Ss embarrassed to know me :-()

Here’s to balance! And here’s to my little Sunshine who’s the healthiest obsession I know 🙂