Scenes from Life: Being a Mom (Parent)

Go with the flow. Be flexible, agile, patient and open to experience the unexpected. Live on minimal sleep. Drink plenty of caffeine. And, some wine after the kiddos go to bed. Eat standing up while making breakfasts, packing lunches and taking inventory of backpacks. Exercise to keep stress away.  Stay organized. Two planners — traditional and smart — are what it takes; for me. Support systems of family, friends, teachers, neighbors and virtual connections for stability; and comic relief. Listening to music does wonders, too. The Killers, When You Were Young, is pumping me up.

It takes a human with a balance of love, stamina, strength, intelligence, fortitude, compassion, calm, resolve, persistence, resourcefulness, creativity and many other attributes to be a mom (parent). Prior to being a mom (parent), I spent most of my time helping Syntel, a global information technology solution provider, generate new business leads and land multi-million-dollar contracts. It was a pretty intense, fast-paced, always-changing, not-for-sissies life.

So, 12 years ago, I sat at my desk in a cubicle at the 525 office building on 16 Mile in Troy, Mich. I was prepping for the next leg in life. 22 more days. The calendar did not lie. My temporary replacement baulked at the project list he would inherit and support. Could he keep up in this needed-it-yesterday environment? That was the least of my worries.

My plan was to work from home until Issa — my eldest child — made her début. Then, maternity leave. But, my first lesson in being a mom (parent) was about being ready for and managing the unexpected. Issa arrived early. Work-from-home projects had to be delegated. Maternity leave began earlier.

What to do? Give Issa all the love and attention she needed to thrive.

The second lesson was about adaptions; survival of the fittest. Before Issa, I easily slept until 9 am. Unfortunately, Issa gravitated toward her dad’s wake-time of 6:30 am; even on weekends. In the beginning, I unleashed a few snarls of discontent at my husband; especially when he claimed not to hear her crying for some attention.

What to do? Wake up! Drink coffee. Play.

Now, early wake-times no longer phase me. In fact, I accomplish more. I stay on track with work, school schedules, volunteerism, socializing, and wine time.

A third lesson, which I am still in the midst of learning, is about resilience and resourcefulness. As Issa entered preschool, we (my husband and I) discovered she had ADD (attention deficit disorder) as well as global development delays. Riff (my youngest) also has learning challenges and development delays.

What to do? Learn. Make friends with school district decision-makers, teachers, therapists, education consultants, pediatric non-profits, and peer parents. Advocate for whatever Issa and Riff need to be on a path for current and future success. Actively support them through participation in their activities, tough love and understanding.

Finally, the most important lesson is the one of patience. Before Issa, patience was not a natural virtue. It still isn’t. It’s just not in my DNA.

What to do? Self-imposed time-outs, calming strategies, and positive self-talk.

Home life is peaceful. Well, maybe I went a little too far there. My home is not synonymous with church. There are daily moments when I snap into a being I do not recognize. I swear, yell and use not-so-nice sign language. Imperfection at its finest; beautiful chaos.

So, now what?

Go with the flow. Be patient. Experiencing the unexpected is one of the greatest gifts of being a mom (parent); and it is not for sissies.

 

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365: Revelations – The Journey Continues

April 13 –  Three Recent Revelations

Upon recommendation from a close spirited journey companion, I am reading Raising Your Spirited Child, by Mary Sheedy Kurcinka. The description on the front cover says it’s a guide for parents whose children are more intense, sensitive, perceptive, persistent, and energetic. As I read, I gain a better understanding of my own perceptions, feelings, sensitivities, intensity, and energy; and I gain a better understanding of how to relate more successfully with my children as well as all people. Since beginning my journey, three revelations have become rather clear.

1. Daily organized chaos is preferable to the sedentary lifestyle I followed prior to motherhood. Before children, a majority of my job functions kept me in front of a computer screen or on the telephone in a dull, gray cubicle. In the fall and spring, I broke out of my cube to manage tradeshows in exciting urban centers across the country. Each of these journeys yielded a splendid mix of organized chaos, adventure and achievement, which is closer to my daily experiences with my children. Life with children is filled with the unexpected. I never know where the day is going to take us. While, I offer my children a structured environment, consistent meal and bedtimes, and regular playtime with friends, I know children will be children. Life happens. They are learning as they go; just like we all are.

2. Self-discovery is continuous and exciting. Both of my children have development delays with gross motor, fine motor, language and social skills. Looking back at my elementary school and junior high years, I struggled in a number of these areas, too. While I succeeded academically and in life, I know my early academic years would have been much easier if educators, doctors and health professionals knew then, what they know today. It fascinates me to appreciate all that is being learned about our brains and bodies; and how we can use natural therapies and remedies to live better.

3. Learning releases the inner child. My daughter is inquisitive and curious about many scientific matters. Currently, her fascination is focused on space. She is constantly asking me about the planets, solar system, galaxy, stars and more. Her eagerness to learn inspires me to learn right along with her; and encourages me to look at life unvarnished rather than through the 24/7-politically-centered-lens our global media dictates.