The three “T” rule became my rule for life since I became a fresh mom many years ago.
The first T: Think less, breath more
“Raising a kid is part joy and part guerilla warfare.” – Ed Asner
It’s not that I don’t like the process of thinking and having this inner dialogue with myself. But not when it begins to control my time and my energy.
From empirical perspective, most of the thinking I’ve done in my life was absolutely useless. It’s hard to admit. It’s the same thing like saying – I wasted tons of time – my only precious resource, a resource will never come back.
Since I started meditating on a continual basis I realized, that conscious breathing and chaotic thinking do not come together. Try it yourself and you’ll see, that it is impossible to concentrate on the flow of air coming in and out your nostrils while your brain is working on a problem at the same time.
Conscious breathing or meditation (choose the most appealing word, even aqualung will do), is what helps mom (and soldiers on a battle field, managers or hunting tigers) freeze the leaks of energy and gain powers.
“Mothers of teenagers know why animals eat their young” – Unknown
Why is it so important?
Moms need energy more than any other human beings. Moms are on non-stop demand (guess by whom). Moms eat on the go. Moms never really sleep. Moms are expected to multitask and still look good (no, really?).
Hyper responsible moms have no time to visit cosmetologists (they only have time to put sunglasses to try and hide the blue circles under their eyes). Moms don’t have time for gyms (fitness at home – yes. Aqua aerobics = mopping the floor, weightlifting = picking up the baby, cardio = running between the kitchen, the bedroom and the bathroom). In short, moms DO need an effective and affordable way to keep themselves afloat.
Disclaimer: when I say “think less, breath more”, I do not mean this nonchalant style of living when your motto is “this will never happen to you”. All I am saying is, worry less about hypothetical things. Most of our fears do not come true.
The second T: Trust your intuition
Moms (especially first-time moms) are walking receivers of never-ending advice, remarks, question and criticism from relatives, friends, colleagues and even female strangers on the street.
“Oh, watch it, the edge of your child’s blanked is on the ground…”
“It’s so cold, your child’s hat is 30 degrees on the left than it should be, the tip of his ear is exposed…”
“Do you breastfeed?”
“Do you breastfeed at night as well? You shouldn’t do it, you know”
“You should give yourself some time off, ask your husband to stay with the baby from time to time”
“Don’t pick up your baby, he will get used to it and will never want to stay off your arms”
“The baby must get used to sleep in her own room after the first month.”
“The baby must sleep in her parents’ bedroom until she is at least one year old”
“Never breastfeed in bed”
“I always used to breastfeed in bed, it’s the most comfortable way to do it”
“Never put the baby in bed with you, you might accidentally strangle him”
“Always put the baby on you, stomach to stomach, it will relax her fast”.
And the list never ends.
I’ve learned to trust my intuition right from the beginning, taking apart my own feeling and professional advice. It’s true, that sometimes you have to shut up and listen to what the nurse or the doctor says. It’s true, that moms need to be open minded. However, this does not contradict something very basic, that all women bear in themselves, but do not always let it pop out – our intuition.
It comes handy in a million of situations starting with a newborn, then a toddler, then a schoolkid, a teenager and so on. Actually, trusting your intuition stretches far beyond your motherly duties. But since it’s a mom-focused blog, I will not spread on other things.
So – mom and intuition, just like in Sinatra’s song about love and marriage, go together like a horse and carriage. I know moms who cannot make a single decision without asking for somebody’s opinion (though, paradoxically or not, they mostly ignore these advice. It’s more of a tradition – to ask everyone around). I don’t really know what they are doing that – lack of confidence? The urge to get an “official confirmation”?
I’ve never suffered from that and I’m happy to have always walked hand in hand with my inner feeling in every smallest details along my kids’ growth:
- how many layers of clothes to put on my kid when the weather is unstable?
- does he cry because he’s hungry or just to get my attention
- is she really sick or does she pretend only to skip a day in school?
- is it a good idea to make him read a book now or better do something else?
- Should I let them watch cartoons and rest or force myself into some activity?
- Should I allow another piece of chocolate or should I play the strict mom this time?
- When they fight – should I be the judge or let them try to figure it themselves?
- Should I praise my kids for every little thing or let them know my honest opinion about the drawing (sculpture, toy-tower)?
These questions are endless. There is not a single book, person or website, that can clearly answer them and give mom the perfect advice for every small occasion. It simply does not exist, because we, humans, are meant to respond and not react in an automatic way (if a then b).
The third T: Treat yourself well
This one is my favorite. As Christmas time is approaching, I find myself spending amounts of cash on gifts, trying to remember everyone – from the cleaning lady’s dog to the painting teacher.
Somehow we, moms, tend to neglect ourselves in this messy gift-buying process. Or maybe we secretly hope someone will get us something magical, like a medium-sized diamond ring or at least two tickets to the opera. Sometimes it actually happens, but to count on that? Seriously? Remember: a mom needs constant supply of positive energy since her energy expenses are enormous, extending far beyond financial amounts she can possibly spend. Mom’s happiness stands above all (of course, that still does not give moms the indulgence to do certain things). Don’t listen to those who say, that happiness cannot be bought. Of course not – in the broad sense of the word. But when it comes to treating and spoiling yourself with little necessities, no one can do it better than mom herself.
Face oil, black lacy stockings, earrings from a bijouterie shop – yes, there are things than money can buy and provide a temporary splash of joy. The problem does not lay in the money. It’s the attitude.