Torts & Tots

Motherhood. Lawyer-dom. And maybe a few nice recipes.

Mom to Mom.

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Motherhood is the essence of on-the-job training.  For me, I had never really taken care of or spent a significant amount of time around a baby.  Avery Jane was born, we spent a few days in the hospital, and then off we went – into the world, with a baby, with little idea of what we were doing.  I had to endure three years of law school and take an arduous bar exam before I was allowed to practice law.  The bar for being in charge of a helpless, human life is not that high.  It is true that my motherly instinct kicked in.  There is no greater urge than the urge to protect your baby.  I would wake up when I heard Avery’s breathing change and I knew she was about to start crying in the middle of the night.  I charted her feeding cycles for 6 months.  So, yes, motherly instinct (and type A compulsiveness) helps.  But, thank God for my mom and grandmother.  During those early days, they fielded many a panicked and often teary phone call with an “urgent” baby question.  Who am I kidding?  I still pose every question imaginable to them.  On one hand, I am sure I could figure it out myself, but it makes me feel better to have them weigh in.  On the other hand, they know their stuff.  They are calm.  They are practical.  They soothe my sleep-deprived soul.

This brings me to the topic of today’s post.  Today, I am thankful for my mom and grandmother and how they have helped me and are helping me navigate the road of motherhood.  Here are the top lessons I have learned from the women who raised me.

Think outside the box.  When AJS was a baby, I was rigid.  I was by the book.  I still am in many ways, but I have loosened up.  Watching my mom with Avery, taught me many things about entertaining a baby.  I was a little shocked the first time she stripped Avery’s diaper off and handed her the hose when we were out in the backyard, but I was in heaven having a moment to sit in a chair and watch her play without her demanding that I entertain her.  She was in heaven having that freedom.  And, yes, Avery still plays naked in my mom’s backyard.

Trust yourself.  It seems like we live in a time when the word of the pediatrician, baby expert, lactation consultant, etc. is taken as gospel.  I remember vividly my mom and grandmother both telling me “you’re the baby’s mother, you have to make the call.”  I felt a huge sense of freedom at hearing those words.  Yes, I think you and I should follow our pediatrician’s medical advice.  But there is a large gray area with children where you have to make decisions with which you’re comfortable. 

Everyone Gets Overwhelmed.  To me, my grandmother has always seemed like the perfect mother.  She runs her life with such efficiency and expertise.  It was a great relief to me to hear her stories about when my mom, aunts and uncle were kids.  My favorite story is about my Uncle Avery.  He was a high-energy kid, and my grandmother spent every minute of the day playing with him and churning through one activity after another.  One day, she had enough and went to the garage, got into the car, and hid from him.  He did, by the way, check the garage, but didn’t think to look in the car.  When she tells me that story, I always think “I know that feeling.”  It’s the “I just need half a minute to myself” feeling.  That story makes me feel like it is okay to be tired and a wreck because it happens to everyone.

These are a few of the gems I have learned from them.  They may seem simple, but sometimes I need someone to state the obvious.  I need someone to tell me what is okay.  But, what I appreciate the very most about my mom and grandmother, is how they always make me feel like I am a great mom.  Some days it is so hard to feel like a good mom, and hearing the words “you’re doing a good job” from the women I admire most has kept me afloat during many a storm.


Written by tortsandtots

November 15, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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