As a parent, I cannot genuinely express how many times I’ve been told to slow down, enjoy life. When you’re in the thick of it, with three kids that do not value sleep the way an adult does, that saying gets old. Fast. It’s the same as other “advice” out there; sleep when they sleep is a prime example. Is there ever a parent out there that can consistently make that work? Don’t dishes need to be done? Laundry put away?
But I digress.
Being a working mom of three boys, my life is always on the go, whether it’s to the office, karate, soccer, t-ball; the list is endless. There are meals to make and laundry to put away. Kids to bathe and do homework with. Bedtime stories to read and pages to color. The baby, however, the youngest of the three at only 8 months old, is the one that takes up so much of my precious time.
Don’t get me wrong, I love spending it with him. Watching him grow has been an exciting and scary roller coaster of emotions, as he is my last little one, making baby moments so special. There are moments that I find myself constantly thinking of the next thing, though. There is still so much to do, which means there have been many cases of multitasking.
We’ve been fortunate enough to have a good breastfeeding routine this time around, but I never realized the amount of time that would be put into it. So, I set myself up at the computer, either working or writing, while I feed the baby. Two birds, one stone, right?
After a long 8 months, of which 6 I’ve been working either at home or in the office, my brain finally formed an epiphany. What if this is meant to make me slow down? What if, the idea is to watch the baby eat, then sleep, before you put them down to bed?
My husband and I have complained to one another numerous times about needing a moment, wishing life would slow down, that we could get a break. Breastfeeding my baby seems to have been just that: a forced moment to slow down, that I definitely need.
So, I’ve slowed down. I now watch him eat, his little eyes closing as his hands roam my skin, taking comfort in our warmth together. I listen to the gentle sounds of his breathing as he starts to feel sated and drifts off into a sound sleep. Before putting him to bed, I pick him up and sit with him, his head on my shoulder. Though I tell myself that it is to let him have the opportunity for a good burp, it’s more for me.
Putting away my electronics has allowed me to focus on him fully, and him on me in turn. The older he gets, the more distracted he is, which can get frustrating as someone trying to feed him. Turning everything off, though, giving him my undivided attention, has been just the key. He latches better, he dozes off into a calmer sleep, all the while giving me the comfort that I need. He is telling me, “mama, you are everything I need right now”.
Though I am by no means perfect, as I don’t think anyone is, our calm moments of feeding have given me time for reflection, a moment to center myself, and ask questions of how to be better. For him, right now, I am enough, but soon he will be older, and we will have to start going to karate, soccer, or t-ball. Until then, I revel in those moments of pure calm. They are a real treasure.