Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It's All About Perspective

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"The grass is always greener on the other side." Isn't that so true? One of the hardest things to do in life is to be content with where you are and what you have. Perhaps that is one reason childhood is such a happy time. You are so content with life as a child.

When Brayden was a baby, I often felt overwhelmed and like things were very hard. I looked to the future thinking, "When he can crawl, things will be easier" or "As soon as he is walking, life will be a lot easier for me." Brayden was a busy boy, and I was exhausted. At some point, I decided I needed to enjoy him at each stage. I worked on it and have really been able to do that. I have learned to become content with life. I have found that each stage has its benefits and drawbacks. As a result, I am much happier. The downside is that time goes by much faster, so my kids are growing up too fast :(.

It is all about perspective. When Kaitlyn was born, I really had to work with myself again. Newborn stage is definitely my least favorite stage of a child's life thus far. I think they just get more and more fun as they grow. I love toddlers. I love talking with my children, playing games, and watching them learn at a rapid pace. I know some people love the newborn stage best; I have several friends that way and we just laugh over our personal viewpoints of the stages. It is all about perspective.

The other day, I told Brayden (almost 3) that Daddy was going to mow the lawn. He asked me if he was going to mow those pretty yellow flowers. What yellow flowers? Those dandelions?!?!? See, it is all about perspective. I see dandelions and think obnoxious weed. He sees dandelions and thinks pretty, yellow flowers.

For me, having my second child was a whole lot easier than having my first. I think this is a common occurrence. For one thing, you are a lot smarter and more experienced in the role of a parent. You've been there and aren't going to make those same mistakes twice. There are the difficulties unique to a second child, like learning who your second is as an individual and not placing the personality of your first automatically onto your second, but overall, you just know better what you are doing.

Kaitlyn has honestly been a very easy baby (now 13 months old). She has had her 45 minute nap runs, and we have our troubleshooting times every so often. But she is so easy in comparison to Brayden, I don't feel any need to complain! :) It is all about perspective.

I would feel ungrateful if I complained about any of the difficulties I have with her, simply because it was much harder with Brayden. A lot of it is due to the fact that I am just wiser and this isn't my first rodeo, so they say. When it comes to raising children, experience is worth a whole lot! Plus, I don't stress as much as I did the first time around. Why? Because it is all about perspective.

I know the difficulties will get better at some point, and I know that hiccups are all a part of the process, so when one comes along, I am better at rolling with it. Yes, I have had my moments of wondering "Will this stage ever pass?", but I have known from experience it would. I have also learned that there are pros and cons to every single stage. I don't want to wish away what is before me and not savor every one of those benefits.

I think many second, third, fourth, etc. time parents don't get as worked up over bad days or over things not going perfectly...we have learned it isn't a huge deal. It is all about perspective. You do what you can, you try to solve problems the best you can, and you just press forward. We know things do get better and get to be extremely predictable. It takes time and effort on the part of all parties. Your personal consistency, your circumstances, and your child's personality are all individual factors that contribute to when things get better. We also are better at seeing more of the picture as a whole rather than just the small pieces of the puzzle.

So as you go through your rough patches (because they will come), try to keep the proper perspective. You will work through those rough patches with more grace, patience, and happiness if you do. It's all about perspective.

12 comments:

heather said...

As a first time mom, I see such truth to this! I've been so worried about "messing something up"! Hopefully the next time I'll be more confident and willing to not get stressed about the little things. Thanks so much for your encouraging words. God bless your day!

Shari said...

I agree with Heather. I am a first time Mom & say all the things you said to yourself "When _____ happens, things will get easier." My daughter was adopted & she was a preemie born at 28 weeks, which presents a unique set of issues and sometimes it's hard to "stay in the moment".

Thanks for writing this & every blog that you write. I know for a mother of two it takes a lot for you to do this & please know it is very much appreciated!

Susanna said...

Wow, did I ever need to read this today. Between poopy diaper explosions, massive spit ups all over the carpet and no naps since I'm trying to see if my son will nap with just one hand swaddled, I wasn't enjoying him much today.
Thank you for your encouraging words...I have to keep reminding myself that "this too shall pass".

LisaZ8605 said...

I have read your blog for weeks and have found it so reassuring - thank you for doing this and especially thank you for expressing the approach I try so hard to have, though don't always succeed in doing so. Susanna and I sound like we're in the same boat (and that's one of my fave expressions to). I very much believe in life being about the journey, not the destination. And I am always one to count my blessings. But when you're in the midst of tears and stress (I am caring for my elderly mother as well as learning my way as a first-time mom of a 4 1/2 month old) it can be hard to keep those idealistic perspectives. You're doing such a great thing here - thanks again!

Rob & LeAnna said...

Wow Val, thank you so much for your words of wisdom and encouragement. As a 3rd time mom, it feels like the first, because of the two older ones. It is sooo much more difficult to make and stick to a schedule when you have 3 other schedules to keep. Today was horrific and I actually was scared because I don't know how to "parent" any other way than BW and Creed is all over the map right now. I still have him on a feeding schedule, but the naps...yeah, like 20 minutes and then it is crying, screaming and not happy unless he is on my hip (which, I wish I had time for, but don't).So right now he isn't even on a sleep, feed, wake schedule :( and the next two months are not looking any better. So I really needed to hear about perspective. I need to change my perspective and relax a little. I have decided to adjust his scheule so that it can work for me rather than against me at this point. Please wish me luck, I want to enjoy this fleeting phase, and capture all the precious moments without the feeling of frustation and anxiety. Thanks again for your blog.

Abby's Mom said...

Wow, so true and so nice to know that the feelings I have had along the way are normal and shared by others. As a first time mom of a 5month old, I had to stop myself about a month ago. I was constantly thinking I can't wait until the next stage....One day as she sat in her swing content to just babble and suck on her fingers I realized that I need to enjoy every day and not look to the next. Someday I will wish she could still just sit in her swing! I too hated the newborn stage and cried almost every day for the first two months of Abby's life. (It doesn't help that she won't take a bottle, so I NEVER get a break for more than a couple hours) I have always felt a little guilty about hating that stage so much because my friends would always say to me "Don't you just love being a mommy" I felt I had to lie and say yes when in reality I was wondering if I was really cut out for this job. Now as Abby turns 5 months today, I can honestly say that this is the hardest job I have ever had, but I do finally love being a mommy. With each new day and set of challenges (reflux, fussiness, naps, etc) I gain a little more confidence. Still not sure I could do it again, but I sure do love my little girl and will remember to enjoy every day to the fullest with her. Thanks Valerie for sharing your thoughts!

Plowmanators said...

You are all welcome. We all need to be reminded, quite often :). I love that thought, life is a journey, not a destination. So true.

LisaZ8605-- that sounds very emotionally taxing. I am sure you will be blessed for your selflessness. Those are probably two of the hardest things to do, and you are doing them both simulatneously.

Leanna--I can only imagine. The whole schedule thing is one reason I plan to have my third pretty soon. I hope to have the third here and well-established in a routine. before Brayden starts prechool. You can only do what you can. I have said it before, but I think we are here in our birth order for a reason. Your place in your family has a large impact on your personality.

Abbys Mom--I think your feelings are more normal than you think. I have always been very honest about my feelings as a mom at every stage. I have a good friend who had her first a year after Brayden was born. She has always told me my honesty made it easier for her because she knew her feelings were normal. It is a hard adjustment. And it is the hardest thing I have ever done also, but with the difficulty comes the most joy and the most fulfillment of anything else I have ever done. The harder the battle, the sweeter the reward.

Ikaika and Laura said...

I am starting babywise with my 6 week old. I have been doing the feed wake sleep as much as possible as well as a 3 hour feeding schedule from birth but I have been helping him fall asleep when needed (he also sucks a binky sometimes but not always). He has always fallen asleep and slept well the first nap of the day without any assistance, but my big problem is gas. He has exceptionally long fart sessions every day all day long so many times he will wake up early from sleep (1.5 hours until next feed) in order to make farts. By the time I finish helping him get the gas out it is almost time for the next feed and then he is so tired that he either falls asleep while feeding or is overstimulated and wont fall asleep at all and then stay awake for hours. The past few days he has stayed awake for 5+ hours at a time. He is not crying or fussing much but it just screws up the whole rest of the days schedule and eventually he does fall asleep during a feed.
I know this will pass but my qustion is when do I let him CIO (I wont do it if I know he is having gas pains) and how do i keep the schedule as much as possible despite the gas. (his farting can last up to 1.5 hours at a time with much crying and discomfort) the worst session is first thing in the morning usually. He is currently sleeping 4 hours at night and the past 2 nights he went 4 hours twice instead 4 then 3 hours. I also have a 18 month old and so I would prefer to do most of his CIO in the day for naps so that the night is less. That is what we did for my first son and by the first night he only cried for a couple minutes because he already cried all day.
Any help would be appriciated I did not do Babywise with my first so dont now much trouble shooting.
mahalo nui loa

Rafat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ProudMum said...

baby girl is going to be 12 weeks cant sleep on her own, not sleeping through night.breastfeed.
I am literally crying while i am writing this to u. I am desparate mum, will u please help me.
how can I apply babywise rules. I just wanna sleep her night.

Plowmanators said...

Ikaika and Laura,

See this post for a bit on gas:

Non-BW Tips and Tricks: Got Gas?: http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/01/non-bw-tips-and-tricks-got-gas.html

If you are breastfeeding, I would evaluate your diet to be sure nothing you are eating is contributing to the gas problem. Keep a food log if needed.

While he continues to have gas, I wouldn't recommend you start CIO. It sounds like you would question the reason for crying and likely "interfere," so it would be better to wait until you are ready to go all the way. See this post:

Should You Do CIO? http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2007/11/should-you-do-cio.html

When I do CIO, I start with day and not do it at night. It usually quickly gets to a place where you lay your baby down in the middle of the night and he just goes to sleep without crying.

Try your best to get his napping in between feeds. I would stick to the feeding schedule. Be sure to look through the blog index. There are a lot of posts that should help you with really understanding the principles of Babywise. Good luck!

http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/02/index.html

Plowmanators said...

ProudMum and Rafat,

Are you the same person? Your posts were word for word verbatim the same.

If you think want to Babywise, read the book. If you do, apply the principles outlined in the book. Be sure to look through the blog index to find answers to questions you have. If you have questions, be sure to ask.

http://babywisemom.blogspot.com/2008/02/index.html

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