Yeah…motherhood is tough. Doesn’t matter if you are a Mom of a 2 year old or a teenager…it’s tough work. Once you bring that tiny little human into the world you are in it for for life. Life throws things at us that are difficult and messy and hard! But you have to believe you can deal with anything you are thrown. How do I know this? Because I AM A TOUGH MOTHER.
When my oldest son was born he coded and turned blue within minutes of his birth. A flurry of activity ensued and he was rushed to the NICU for observation. After 3 days of continually turning blue and stopping breathing they finally found out what was wrong…he had a tracheal esophageal fistula. In layman words his esophagus didn’t connect to his stomach, it went from his throat into a pouch and came up from his stomach and connected to his trachea. His food couldn’t go down…
How did I handle the news? Not well. I was inconsolable. Time flew after that decision and he was airlifted to Edmonton for surgery. We had to drive down and of course there was a spring snowstorm and they closed the highway at Fox Creek! Thank God for my partner Randy, he held me up and was strong for both of us through that time.
Since Ethan’s birth we have had 2 follow up surgeries and many, many hospital visits and specialist appointments. Eating has never been easy for him. That situation is one of several that we’ve experienced together but admittedly very hard.
What did that life experience and others since then teach me? I’m a TOUGH mother. People ask me all the time how I handle the hurdles we’ve endured. I have some concrete ways I manage:
- I do it for my BOYS. I HAVE to do it for them, they need me and deserve to have a fully functioning Mom for them.
- I do it because I’ve got GOD by my side and leading the way. I know that in everything I have to endure he is in control and he has a plan for me.
- I CONNECT with people. I talk to my best friend, my psychologist, my Dr, my coworkers…I make sure I have human connection and when I need to a reality check with someone.
- I JOURNAL through words and through art. I keep a private journal that I write out everything into. I also have an art journal that I express myself in.
- I am GRATEFUL for every day. I take time every day to write down or reflect on three things for which I am grateful for that day. It keeps me centered.
- I GROUND myself. I make sure I am present in my life through feeling my feet on the ground and checking in with my 5 senses. What do I smell, see, hear, feel, taste or touch. It’s a powerful way to make sure you are not ‘In your head’
- I GRIEVE when things get overwhelming. I give myself permission to cry to question why. I don’t feel guilt for it either.
- I seek HELP. I see a registered psychologist every two weeks. It’s a expensive burden but one that I feel is absolutely necessary for my sanity. She works with me on strategies to manage my stress and hardships.
- I take TIME for myself. I hire a sitter every Monday night and go out on my own for some alone time. Currently I meet with members of my church for a Bible study but when that is over I’ll either go to the library or go for a walk to O’Brien park. I also go to a Women’s’ silent retreat every June to refresh and ground myself.
Now admittedly I wasn’t always in the financial position to afford a sitter, a psychologist, a retreat etc. But a lot of what I do has no cost to it. Take time for yourself. Ground yourself. Cry when necessary. Tell yourself you are tough. Believe you are tough. Listed to some Gansta rap…I like Stronger by Kanye West. Set a determination that you will be able to handle it and there will be a brighter side. Look at your kids…they deserve the best you there is…be a TOUGH MOTHER.
What are your strategies for dealing with life? Please share in the comments, we can all benefit from sharing together!