Yesterday we met most of Hubby's family at Red Robin to celebrate birthdays. Because of the deluge of rain, the restaurant was fairly empty. Empty did not equal quiet. The restaurant had an energy about it; it reverberated across the empty space. The music felt a touch too loud, the table set up a bit too close.
I know myself enough to understand that this was going to be challenging. I'm a quiet person by nature; my body, my self is sensitive to stress and noise. I have to stay very aware of how I'm feeling during moments like this. Otherwise, I easily go into meltdown mode.
Rowan internalized this energy. We can usually go into restaurants with her, and she is very happy, very content to sit with us. Instead, she was fretful, fussy, and unable to sit still. She didn't quite know what she wanted. She was too distracted to nurse. Too overstimulated to play.
The boys felt the energy, too. They were bickering, getting frustrated at the crossword puzzle, kicking each other under the table.
As we were on our way home, Rowan quietly looked out the window. Once we were in the house, she played happily. There was no glimpse of the fretful baby from the restaurant. Jon looked at me and said, "You know- she's so much like you. She doesn't like noise and craziness, either." I nodded in agreement. I could empathize with her. I could understand why the boys were a little bonkers. And that empathy had helped me not to completely snap during lunch even though I could feel the pressure, feel my raw nerves.
Since January, I've been practicing presence and working on my Momfulness journey. I have found another absolutely incredible resource to add to this practice of conscious parenting. Let the Baby Drive is the philosophy of Lu Hanessian. I have been reading through her site, tears streaming down my face. When you find what you identify with, when you resonate at the soul level, it is powerful.
This is how I want and try to parent. This will encourage me to continue to be compassionate, mindful:
To bridge this gap between knowing better and loving better, we must dare to be aware. To see ourselves in our children’s eyes. To embark on healing journey of recognizing what we have been ‘missing’, how the pain of that unmet need has influenced our actions, self-concept, and relationships, have empathy for the child who is still alive in us, and recover the birthright of joy and peace we are here to experience and share. A priceless gift for our children. And theirs.
This art of surrender isn't a complete giving up of control. It isn't allowing the child to railroad the parent. It is the releasing of agendas. It is letting the child navigate. Finding empathy for where a child is and meeting needs. Trusting in our intuitive voices as mothers. It pairs perfectly with my Momfulness practice. It honors the child as an important being, and it brings a deep connection to the mother-child relationship:
The art of surrender is an act of compassion--for ourselves, first and foremost. When we hold that kind of feeling for ourselves, our babies “feel” it too. We hold them slightly differently. We breathe differently. We may stop “bouncing” them so much and start finding more fluid movements that flow with their true needs. We find...synergy.
I look forward to finding synergy with all of my "babies."