Monday, December 5, 2011

Transitions

Last week, Mr. Briggs turned 18-months-old. I figured this was a bit of a milestone in this little one's life, so we celebrated with a photo shoot.

Briggs was thrilled and he thanked me over and over for giving him such a great gift.
No, no he didn't. He cried. But not before we got some cute pictures. I win.
I'm constantly asked how Briggs is transitioning. How's he doing? How's he eating? Is he sleeping well? And I am always so thrilled to say that Briggs really is doing great. He eats a lot. He sleeps a lot. He's happy and obedient and runs and plays and giggles, giggles, giggles.

But I get a little bit uncomfortable about this question because, well honestly, I feel like the one who has struggled with transition these past three months has been me. While Briggs fits seamlessly and perfectly into our family, I often feel like I fit the role of "mother" like a square peg into a round hole.
I had a pretty good system going on for myself from day to day, and this little one has, understandably, shaken things up quite a bit. So, do you really want to know how the transition is going?

First of all, I think it's safe to say that we adore each other. Completely. I'm learning that the way I sometimes feel about "being a mother" is not at all connected to the way I feel about Briggs.
We are working together on figuring out our new day-to-day routine.

One one hand, I love taking Briggs on outings and he loves going, going, going. When we go grocery shopping, he sits up in the seat and waves and blows kisses to all passers by. And the women swoon. It's like I'm pushing a parade float carrying Justin Bieber. I'm shopping for milk and eggs and Briggs is stealing hearts.

On the flip-side, staying at home all day is not.for.me. Oh my word I get so bored. Not that reading "Good Night Gorilla" (a wordless book) twice an hour isn't fun, but c'mon.

And I do miss tutoring and coaching club volleyball. ALOT. I've spent a few low moments feeling just a tad bit resentful about how much I've "given up." But you know what? Those thoughts simply don't get us anywhere and I would have to be an idiot to not see just how much I've gained.
I look forward to nap time every day. Last week, Briggs refused to nap three days in a row. There was weeping and gnashing of teeth. On days when Briggs does go down for his nap (which is most of the time), I spend the first twenty minutes feeling completely conflicted about what I want to accomplish. Edit? Learn? Read? Nap? Shower? Email? Clean? Cook?

Who am I kidding? I never debate over those last two at nap time. Heck no. I'm not spending even one of my 120 precious minutes elbow deep in bathtub scum or spaghetti sauce. But beyond this one nap-time standard, I have a hard time knowing what my priorities should be while Mr. Bieber gets his beauty sleep. Do I put my foot down and demand that this is "ME time" or do I commit the time to building my business? Do I spend the time organizing my life and home so that things can run a bit more smoothly around here? I'm pretty sure there is no right answer, but the possibility that there just might be one right way to use nap time taunts me.

I do know that those 120 minutes work miracles around here, and when I start to hear tiny waking-up noises coming from his bedroom, my heart skips a little beat. As it turns out, after we take a little break from each other, I'm actually pretty excited to have his energies and antics bounding around the house again.
Briggs finally stopped demanding a middle-of-the-night bottle about two weeks ago. Glory hallelujah, the extra sleep is changing my life. Also, I gave myself points for refraining from announcing his full nights of sleep on Facebook. (But I did just mention them here, didn't I? Minus 1.)
Still, I am tired, and I run out of steam faster than ever. This little one is revealing to me on a daily basis my own selfishness and limitations. I am a lister. I make a to-do list every morning and goshdarnit it WILL ALL be done before I go to bed. It's been more than difficult for me to convince myself that playing hockey and pushing cars and reading books is more important than any one single item on my list.

But I'm learning. Slowly. On good days I even have fun accomplishing nothing but a dance party and five diaper changes. It's still a battle though. I'm not gonna lie. That feeling at the end of the day - you know the one you get when your husband asks "What did you do today?" and you say "Uh..." - it still stings.
I don't know if he knows it or not, but this little Briggs has a big job. He is the one who gets to teach me to parent. Sometimes, I think it's kinda painful for both of us. But he is so patient and forgiving and the sincerity in his sweet little neck hugs makes.my.day. It's ironic that, even though it is his addition to our family that it causing me growing pains, I am so, so thankful for him.

So, how's the transition going?
Briggs is doing AWESOME.
And me? Well, I'm getting there.

Aren't you glad you asked?

3 comments:

thehomespunheart said...

Hi Becky! I loved reading your post - and my mother's heart could so identify with so much you said. Oh, yes - it is a hard job. Thank you for being real! We're in this together!

Jess said...

I think you put it beautifully. And hats off to you for being a stay at home mom. I haven't felt it was for me either for very similar reasons. I hope you find your rhythm and peace in your new role in life. And when you feel like you've gotten nothing accomplished, remember you are creating a home, building a life and nurturing the soul of that precious little boy. That is a *big* accomplishment :)

morais family blog said...

becky... you say things so perfectly!! I think adjusting to being a parent is the same for a newborn or a 14 month old!! Its a hard adjustment and no one can explain it unless they have been there! Thank you for putting all that into words because thats exactly how i feel!!! You are a wonderful mother and briggs is SO lucky to have you at home!