Friday, May 13, 2011

Growing Into Motherhood

Motherhood is an interesting thing. It seems to be something where you slowly learn over time and change your ways and your goals. Where you begin to relinquish some of your control and discover increased peace and contentment in the process. I reflected on this realization the other day when I took my middle son to the greenhouse to get some soil pep. As we were leaving, he expressed that he wanted to walk over the bridge. This greenhouse has a bridge over a pond on one side. Even just a year ago, I would have said "no", that we needed to hurry home. Instead, I loaded our purchases into the car and then walked back over with him to stand on the bridge. He was so thrilled to be standing on the bridge, looking at the fish and the water. It only took a minute or two, but it made his day. Once we got off the bridge, he said to me, "mom, I wanted to go on the bridge this many times,"holding up three fingers. I told him to run over it two more times and then we'd go, which he happily did with a very satsified grin in his face. He had no complaints as we got in the car and headed home. Had I said no to going on the bridge, he might have whined and cried for 20 minutes, or put up a fight to get into the car. And I used to do just that with my oldest. I tried to own all of the control. I was always in a hurry. And I paid the price with many, many, many a tantrum. Now, as I have learned through these experiences and mistakes, it seems I know better which battles to pick. I am allowing my children to be individuals, and I am choosing to let two minute adventures supersede the "hurry" I always seem to be in.
This morning, I needed to get out of my house. I needed to enjoy the beautiful spring weather that has finally decided to show it's face. I packed up my three kids and we headed out for a bike ride, with two in the bike trailer and one on his own bike. We live near the country, with open canals and gravel lining most roads we were traveling. But again, I noticed myself having more patience than I might have in the past, letting my son ride at his own pace and stop when he got into the gravel. I was able to calmly comfort him when we had to ride near the canal. I know there were times in years past when I was cross and frustrated at him for riding too slow, or for getting off his bike to walk it across a road. Now, I realize how counter productive that was. My griping at him did not help him to ride faster or more confidently. On the contrary. Now I find myself smiling and enjoying then experience, and praising him for his success.
I guess I've realized that, at least for me, some lessons just come with time and from mistakes. Maybe that's why you hear seasoned mothers often say they with they could do it again knowing what they know now. I'm starting to understand their longing. But, I'm also beginning to accept myself as a mother and be patient with the learning process. I'm far from being a perfect mother. I still loose my patience and make many, many mistakes. But now, I'm beginning to realize that those mistakes serve as learning experiences to help me become the mother I want to be.

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