I’ve just spent the past hour watching Pearl try to army crawl across the bed. She fell asleep at her usual time but then suddenly opened her eyes, rolled over, and popped up on her elbows. It’s like some little baby alarm clock went off in her head and said, “time to get moving sister.”
It was so precious and a little bit sad watching her process. She started out all smiley and giggly, just perched on her elbows and so proud of herself. Her cheeks were jiggling and her toes were curled from excitement.
Then she started flailing and got really frustrated with the lack of traction as she tried to propel her body forward. She would struggle for a while, then spit up a little from all the pressure on her tummy. Then with a dramatic sigh she would face plant into the spit up and wallow around and wimper. I guess learning new skills is not always glamorous.
I asked her if she wanted to be picked up, but she eventually raised back up and continued.
This cycle repeated several times and if I hadn’t watched closely, I would never have noticed that she was making progress. There was no discernible movement but eventually she was about a foot farther on the mattress than where she started.
After she fell asleep I started thinking about how beautiful it is to be able to shamelessly struggle like that; to laugh and cry and rub your face in your own throw up (ok maybe skip that part) and not worry if anyone can see that you’re moving.
I keep waiting for my life as a mom to stop being a struggle, but it never does. Some days things seem effortless and the babies seem weightless. I can stay in the moment and keep myself open to them.
But more often I am taking huge belly flops and trying to propel myself forward oh so slowly.
I’m trying hard to know my own boundaries, to stay present emotionally, to set empathetic limits, to be kind to myself and respectful to them, and to speak my mind. But the progress is slow. It’s hard that I’m not the easy breezy dream mom that I thought I’d be. Honestly I’m a bit weary of the emotional work that parenting has been for me and impatient with the steep learning curve.
But tonight I’m taking a lesson from my courageous little four month old and remembering to let myself flail and flounder. I’m remembering that the. struggle itself is progress, and all I can do is show up every morning and expand upon what I know.
I guess if my kids lived in a perfect world then they would need a perfect mom to show them how to live effortlessly.
But since their life, like mine will be full of fumbles and falls, they need a mom who can say from experience:
yeah, I see how you work so hard and feel like you’re not moving, but think how much stronger you’re getting each time you try.
And hey, look behind you. Can you see how far we’ve come?