Wednesday, April 13, 2011

so much for "lessons learned"

i ended milo's 6 month-post with a sweet sentiment on how i know i needed to give myself more grace, and what i thought that looked like. this mothering business makes me feel so foolish. i have no clue what i'm doing. every once in awhile i think i have a little bit more figured out, only to trip over my own feet and fall flat on my face.

ben said it again to me this morning, "zoe, you need to give yourself more grace."

and maybe that's true. but in reading the "the sleep lady's" chapter on 6-8 month olds, i'm learning of all the things that i'm doing wrong - or at least all these different things that, according to this one person's opinion on the matter, are hindering my child in his ability to "learn" proper sleeping patterns.

including but not limited to:
  • we have no set schedule. we eat and sleep in compliance to milo's fussiness and what i've been able to tell are his "i'm tired" signals. but sometimes we go out and do things, and he's too busy taking in the world, being entertained and interacting with others to really complain about being hungry or tired, so his feeding or naptime gets pushed around accordingly.
  • i still use feedings as part of my "put you down for a nap" routine.
  • we do not have set meal times.
  • we do not have two weeks (or more) of uninterrupted schedule to focus on nothing but adhering to a napping and eating schedule for milo. the biggest interference is church on sundays... everything else i'd be willing to skip for a few weeks, but then we have our easter road trip coming up not this weekend but next... and would that even be enough time to start "nap-training," or would the trip just set us back to square one?

so sure, maybe i still need to not be so hard on myself, but at the same time, if i'm continuing patterns that i've been told are going to inhibit his ability to nap and grow and develop and learn, wouldn't it be wrong to simply give myself grace? say "oh well, better luck tomorrow."

i dunno, maybe my definition of "giving myself grace" is off.

i feel like this hits at a core weakness for me - self-discipline. sure, i can get things done, complete tasks, etc, etc, but it's been a long hard process of learning how to get things done when they're due, or when i'd said i'd have them done by. i very well could have been a straight-A student if i had devoted my afternoons to focusing on homework and getting things done in a timely manner. but i knew i wasn't going to be a doctor or astronaut; i had no driving motivation to get straight A's.

when working at my various jobs, my ability to self-discipline depended on the task and nature of the job. youth ministry was difficult for me. how to gauge what task was most important and needing immediate attention; how to not avoid and procrastinate over the more vital tasks because i feared failure. being a barista was easy. it was all technical mastery of frothing milk and timing espresso shots. a customer puts in their order, you make it, you give it to them. when no customers are waiting to be served, you clean up, restock, put everything back in order. a customer comes in, repeat the process. i loved it, because it was so easy to succeed with flying colors.

with housework, it was more difficult than being a barista, but not as crucial as work or school related tasks. yes, keeping a clean and orderly house would keep ben happy and help him to feel more sane, but at the end of the day, a paycheck or a grade to complete a class was not depending on it. i truly want to make ben happy and have our home be a place of peace and comfort, and i too love having it be clean and orderly, but some days my own selfishness got in the way - i was too tired or worn out from a hard day at work, i wanted to paint instead, or write an uber long blog post. (ahem... clearly i still get in my own way...)

and now i have something that feels crucially important before me. something worth caring about, but something that is far from easy: raising a child.

i know i'm not perfect, that i'll make mistakes, but i still want to do the best that i possibly can, and when i know of something i should be doing better, i have a hard time giving myself grace, and yet, because i have no clue as to what i'm doing or how to go about it, as i haven't taken the time to fully study the different opinions/ideas/ways of doing things, i hesitate to change my patterns until i know what i'm doing. i don't want to create an environment that is even more unstable because i keep trying and dropping every new idea that comes my way...

but then comes the problem that i don't know how to focus on only being a mother - and i don't feel like that's the right answer either. i'm also a wife. and sometimes even a contributing member of society. (at least half of every week we don't get out of the house, let alone talk to anybody besides ben, or maybe my parents.)

and while i'd love any and all the advice i can get, i'm also tired of hearing so many conflicting views and opinions.... how am i supposed to know who's right? who's wrong? whose way of doing things is closest to what milo needs and is best for our family?

and i'm not octomom or the eldest in a set of sister-wives, so i think my maternal instinct has yet to develop, as it's been of very little help to me in discerning "what's best" for milo.

oy. that's enough of milo's nap-time spent venting my frustrations, time to focus on something new and not so daunting....

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