on babies and kids and moms.

June 04, 2014

First, nobody interpret this as an announcement or anything. Okay, now here we go!:

I have always known that someday I want to be a mom. I credit that desire largely to my LDS faith and our religion's belief that to be a mother is every woman's most noble calling. I also believe that even if I weren't part of the religion that I am, eventually I would still want kids. 

That being said, I've never been one of those girls who loves kids. For me, babysitting was always just okay. I usually spent my babysitting time worrying that I wasn't fun enough, creative enough, good enough at using my imagination or entertaining the kids. I panicked when I had to feed anyone, change diapers, or reprimand. I wasn't good at being patient and understanding all the time. I usually left my babysitting jobs feeling exhausted, and not the kind that comes from hours of fun. I know a lot of teenagers may not be comfortable doing those things with other peoples' kids, but it seemed like it all felt extra painful for me.

Some of my friends in high school were really great babysitters. They enjoyed watching kids and the kids loved them. You know, those people who will snatch a baby right out of a mother's arms at every opportunity? I was the onlooker in those situations, trying to figure out how in the world you're supposed to correctly hold the baby (without ever actually holding it of course, that would have answered my question much too simply).

One summer in high school I got a job nannying for two kids (ages eight and ten and spoiled rotten) who I'd never met. That summer was awful. The kids whined and complained and begged and argued, and I had no patience. Looking back I realize that was just an unlucky experience. Of all the other kids I ever watched, the kids were (usually) never a problem.

Maybe this is all a symptom of being the youngest child? Maybe I never got to learn that kind of patience and love that it takes to care for younger kids. People always give the youngest children such a hard time, thinking they've got it easy. Look at me suffering here! Or maybe that has nothing to do with it, whatdoiknow.

When my siblings started having kids, I was still kind of young. Thirteen when the first one came, I think, and still in my how do I hold this without breaking it stage. Over time I realized that I did like these kids a whole lot! And while I still didn't feel super comfortable feeding, changing, reprimanding, imagining, or entertaining, I think my nieces and nephews have helped me to be a little bit more comfortable than I was before.

This summer I'm nannying again - one six month old girl - and after just one week I've learned so much and honestly, changed so much. I also think luck is on my side this time around on the nannying scene because she really is a wonderful baby. But what I'm learning is that I've finally hit my age or level of understanding or ability to love or whatever it took for me, where I can start to feel confident and start to find joy and fulfillment in taking care of this little baby. Like I said, maybe I'm just lucky to be watching such a good baby. Maybe when I have my own kids later on they will be terrible and I'll take back everything I'm saying now.

But until then, I'm so grateful for this little girl who is giving me my first glimpse of how I could really be a mom someday, a good and happy mom. How maybe I do have a bit of motherly instinct inside me that knows what a baby needs or wants or likes or hates. How maybe I am good at making funny faces and singing tons of songs and playing at least mildly entertaining games. How maybe I do know how to hold babies! Granted she's six months so she's not exactly one of those tiny, fragile newborns... But I mean I've been changing her diapers like a pro and getting her in and out of her stroller with ease. I don't get all frustrated when she cries, instead I feel sad for her tiny little self and I try everything I can to make her feel better. Little things that feel so huge for me!

So anyway I had been thinking about all this and then last week I found a blog post that made all my insides scream yes! This girl says it all really well. But I especially love the part where she says that "not all good, effective mothers are the same" and then goes on to list a ton of her own traits that are going to make her a great mom. That's another thing I've been learning this summer, mostly via reading mass amounts of mommy blogs (my not-even-feeling-guilty-about-it pleasure) and watching how the mom of the baby I'm nannying interacts with her only child: there is no right way to be a mom.

This baby I'm watching, her mom is a complete angel. And while she and I have some different views on life and parenting, she is such a good mom. And she doesn't have to do things the way I've seen other moms do them for me to think that! She has her own traits and ideas and methods that are working out pretty darn well as far as raising a precious, healthy, happy baby goes.

What I've come to realize here is that I think I can be a good mom someday. I know I'll love my own kids so much that I will be able to change their diapers and feed them and imagine with them. And it may not always be easy, but I'm glad I can see now how it's possible that I might just enjoy all that. I'm glad that now when the day comes that it's time for me to be a mom, I can still be a little scared but I can be excited. I can raise my kids the way Stefan and I want to. I can teach them what we think they need to know. I can just love them with all my heart and hope they love me right back, dang it.

As long as my kids love going on walks as much as I do, we'll be fine. We'll be even better if they fall asleep five minutes into every walk like this little one does!


Emily B said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

In totally loving every. single. one of your blog posts. Keep it up because they make my day.

LauraP said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

How fun that you are a nanny! It's hard to totally "love" other peoples kids (that aren't related to you). But your own kids will be a different story. Even when they are "crazy" you love them. And I think most kids love walks, so you will be okay

Nathan said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates
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Jake said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

You will be a great mom and your kids will love you back. No doubt.

vdgfamily said...Best Blogger Tips[Reply to comment]Best Blogger Templates

I'm glad you're nannying a baby you love. Loving someone else's kid is great but your own are different. Whether easy or difficult, I don't think I've ever heard anyone say that they had a "bad" baby. It seems that everyone's babies are good but some have tummy trouble or difficulty sleeping or whatever. Your babies will be awesome for you but you'll have rough days. The good thing is that they are programmed to keep changing so that they hold your interest. If a phase seems hard, before long you're in another. (Until they're teenagers. Then you're dealing with something entirely different.) BTW baby Miles is getting over his achy tummy and becoming the smiliest little thing.

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