As a working mother, I’ve been humbled by motherhood more times than I care to admit. There could be the time my baby called her daycare teacher, “mama,” or the time she knocked a few jars of olives crashing onto the tile floor of the grocery store. I won’t bother humbling myself with a complete list, but I will tell you one thing – I should celebrate more. I’m actually doing a really great job!
I don’t mean to sound conceited, but come on mamas! Maybe we deserve to be. We are keeping people alive! We gave life and we are guiding every step of it for our babies. Why are we always looking for the next method to master or the next test to prepare for?
Is my one-year-old sleeping through the night? Nope! But she’s getting four teeth and we are still nursing. That definitely doesn’t make me a less than capable mother. So I celebrate that we reached our nursing goal and I move on! Are we still cloth diapering? Not anymore! My husband entered a new career field and is gone a lot and I have a full-time career of my own. So I celebrate the time we have together as a family and clip diaper coupons on our weekends without him.
Celebrate! This is something I have decided I would make time for. Really, ladies! We have every right to be proud of ourselves. Why is that the toughest thing for some of us to do? So I decided that I would put down any book that sounded like it should be entitled “The Right Way to Parent,” and spend my spare time celebrating the ME way to parent.
My daughter, Addison, hated her car seat. No matter how long the ride, she would fuss the whole time. I tried every piece of advice I got and none of it worked. I knew my baby. Why was I even listening to anyone else? She didn’t like the car seat because she couldn’t hold us. She was cold and out of our warmth. I couldn’t swaddle her and buckle her safely, so I made her a blanket to wrap around the buckles of her seat. Now, she drifts off to sleep riding in the car.
She hated riding in the cart at grocery stores. She would get fussy and mad that I was trying to juggle her and groceries and the buggy. She wanted me to hold her so she could see everything, but cuddle to my shoulder if she got tired. So I made a baby carrier to hold her where she needed to be. Now, she cuddles up to me while we shop until she can wave at the cashier.
Her daddy missed her. This one almost broke me, but I couldn’t let it. I am celebrating. I am celebrating that my husband has a thriving career that can help him provide for his family. I am celebrating that he does work that he is proud to do. So I wrote a book about all of the things she had done in her first year of life. I stitched it together and tucked it away in a gift bag labeled, “To: Daddy, From: Addy.” God help all my emotions, I would celebrate our blessings. Now those memories are with him on a boat in the middle of the ocean, until he can make his way home.
I know these things celebrate her, but there is a piece of me in all of them. They remind me that I can make my own resources to deal with the ups and downs of motherhood. If I need more arms to help me at the grocery store, I can accomplish that. If I need something to help get my husband through those tough times away from her, I can find a way for him to see those memories.
I am building a small Etsy shop and blog, Cribs & Cabernet, to help other mamas celebrate their own milestones. It’s in its very infant stages of set-up, but I am excited about it!
Whether your baby just said their first word or you are merely happy to be making it through the day – celebrate with your whole heart. You deserve every bit of it.
~ Rachel Ley, SpitfireMom Contributor
Handlettering by Ashley Gaffney for SpitfireMom