Leave Some Space for your Kids
Advice for all types of parents especially the first timers (mothers)
Kids are a joy to the world. So many characteristics they display while growing from infancy make you grin from ear to ear as if they were all yours. Having yours is a different ball game altogether. Because this time, it requires you not only to enjoy their cuteness overload (if you have the remaining energy for that) but also tend to their behind-the-scenes mess. The dirty diapers, vomits, teething and cleaning, nursing, late-night wakes, and all of that.
“You think you love (other’s) kids until you’ve had yours and endured all these other sides to them”.
But at the end of it all, we should embrace our kids and leave room for them to truly occupy a space in our hearts and the world. Yes, this is confusing considering that we assumed to have already bonded and accepted them while they were in the womb and after delivery. But that’s slightly untrue. Accepting our kids means doing so at every stage of their life. Not the cute, convenient parts or stages alone. This can be hard especially when you thought you loved your child. But you think you love kids until you’ve had to endure all these other sides to them.
Recently, I was discussing with a pediatrician, and I reminisced on how cool it used to be babysitting other’s kids with little or no extra duties to follow. Because once they mess up, you’re damn right looking for the mother. But the mothers we pondered. Mothers are mostly the primary caregivers. We have it in us to nurture as cold and as nonchalant in behavior as we may seem. As unexpected or well-planned as the pregnancy may have been.
This is why we need to conclude that our kids have come to stay and it’s on us to create a room for them.
It’s easier to show kids we love them when they are still kids than when they start to grow
Making this space isn’t an easy feat. However, not doing so might create some other rooms and voids in the lives of the “rejected” kid. Hence, creating a cycle of trauma, self-loathe, self-disbelief, and other mental instabilities that follows for a child who wasn’t properly catered for. I believe that as hard as it may seem, we should spend each day with our kids reassuring them of our warmth, even if not love, through our behavior toward them. It could be through our smiles — that is, smiling back at them. It can be creating a hot minute to play with them or watching them play, it could also be through watching videos you’ve made of you both on your phone. There are many ways to show a kid S/he is loved. It’s easier to show kids you love them while they are kids than when they start to grow.
“Living your life glamorously as a single lady can appear burdensome to now add a plus one whom you’re now catering for inside-out. Someone truly worth it”
You’re laying a solid foundation of belonging, care, assurance, safety, and warmth to a child who will someday build his image by them. So, as hard as it may seem to tag your child along as you carry on with your life, remember what you’re investing in and for.
I remember a tedious period when I was all about the downsides to having a kid and my friend who had none told me “At least you have someone to hug and hold you at night”. That statement stuck with me. It made me so grateful to know I’m truly not alone anymore in that context. It’s easy to get carried away by what our lives used to be before we had kids. Less stress, fewer responsibilities, more glamor. Living your life glamorously as a single lady can appear burdensome to now add a plus one whom you cater to inside-out. Someone worth it.
The kid is already out. There’s no going back. My mother used to say this whenever my baby cries uncontrollably and irritably from colic in the beginning. And that’s another way to see things and make do. It’s a perspective that allows you to seek ways to deal with those not-so-cute sides to them yet until you can relax and bask in their cuteness, smartness, and growth characteristic elements later on.
In essence, I’m saying, kids, are lovely to have and cater to when they aren’t yours to be responsible for. But when you have the chance to have a kid and now have one, it’s a huge blessing in disguise. The best thing we can do, mostly for first-time mothers, is to see our kids as mini us and tag them along with everything to do with our lives. This can appear a little bit claustrophobic, but it’s now the reality we face. We must treat our kids as humans too. We must give and show them the type of care we wish we received or received even. We must embrace them to disrupt a generational cycle of pain and loathe. This starts with accepting that they have come to stay. We must now open up bit by bit to learning and accepting them. Whether it be through a kiss one day, a smile once a week, a cuddle thrice a night, or something. But we’d rather start creating this routine and make it solid in their lives while they’re still so young to avoid over-explaining and overacting when they start to understand. This is `kind and candid advice to all mothers. The ones who were chosen to bear the fruit at least. But equally and very much applicable to fathers — or parents in encapsulation — as the case may be.
Thank you for taking the time to read.