Tag Archives: babywearing

Learning to be a Mother

Welcome to the January Carnival of Natural Parenting: Learning from children

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared the many lessons their children have taught them. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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Spending my days and nights with Joshua for the past ten months has taught me about myself and about how to be a mother.

My first lesson was in patience.  I always thought of myself as patient, since I’m a teacher and patience is necessary for survival, but also because I am willing to work and wait in hopes that my patience will pay off.   We may have saved for years to build our house, we may have waited five years after getting married to start a family, I may have earned multiple college degrees, but I didn’t know what real patience was until I became a mother.  Real patience, I learned, is pacing the floors in the middle of the night, rocking my baby to sleep.  Real patience is nursing my baby for four hours straight each evening for the first three months, and learning to eat my dinner with one hand (even the left one).  Real patience is changing my baby’s diaper or clothes or my own clothes for the fifth or sixth or seventh time that day, before noon.  Real patience is what enabled me to do these things quietly, calmly, even happily.

I also learned to trust my instincts.  Experts, both respected and self-proclaimed, are contstantly telling me how to feed my son, how often to pick him up, what to dress him in, how to lay him down to sleep, how to get him to sleep through the night, when to start solids, when he should reach each milestone.  After some self-doubt early on, I realized that nobody knows my baby better than I do.  So far, my instincts have led me to breastfeed on-cue exclusively for the first six months, nurse in public, cosleep, respond to my baby’s cries, hold or wear my baby, feed him real foods, and allow him to achieve milestones on his own developmental timeline.  I’ve learned to smile, nod, and discard advice that doesn’t meld with my instincts.

Finally, in these last ten months I’ve learned what it means to love a child.  I always knew what it was like to love my parents, siblings, other family members, friends, and of course my husband, but I now know what the love of a mother for her baby feels like.  It is unconditional, unwavering.  I understand why mothers in nature can be the most formidable, fearless, and dangerous protectors of their babies.  My resolve to live sustainably has strengthened since becoming a mother, since I see it as an extension of protecting my son and providing for his future.  Joshua owns my heart and my soul.

P.S. This is my 800th post!

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

 

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