Ebb and Flow

The ladies at Segullah have a new anthology out that I really want to get and read. I read a review here and loved the first two quotes, one from Anne Morrow Lindbergh and the other by Sharlee Mullins Glenn. Lindbergh compares life to the ebb and flow of the sea tides, and Glenn compares motherhood to a dance, in which we have to be flexible and try to work together. I've been thinking about these kinds of things lately. A while ago I was reading someone's blog post about breastfeeding where she was complaining about the term 'feeding on-demand'. She didn't like the fact that it made the baby sound like some sort of taskmaster with the mother as her obedient slave. For this woman, nursing is more of a relationship, a give-and-take. I also resonated with that; sometimes my baby leads, sometimes I lead, but we try and work things out together.

This week I've been riding the ups and downs of parenthood as usual. Some days I think 'wow, I really feel like things are going well; I know what I'm doing; I love my life right now.' And then S-Boogie tells me her stomach hurts, and instead of doing anything about it I shoo her back to bed with a dismissal of her complaint. And then she wakes up two hours later covered in vomit. I spent the next day washing just about everything in her room. Sometimes we miss our cues and make mistakes, but that just means we have to try again. I'm the kind of person who wants things to be the same all the time. I want to know what my script is and I want to be able to follow the directions sure of what the outcome will be. I keep trying to find some sort of formula: A+B=life is perfect.

Instead, I'm learning to go with the flow and to accept the fact that things are always changing. I think for me right now my personal metaphor is sailing. I'm in charge of the boat, but I'm also at the mercy of the wind and must work with it. Some days we're sailing along and others we are becalmed and stuck. But the wind will always change and I just need to be ready for it when it does.


SeƱora H-B said…
Thanks for writing this today. It's been a monster of a week and, even though I don't have kids yet, I need to remember that life really is about ebb and flow. That it's okay for me to make mistakes here and there and that things aren't always going to turn out perfectly. (Why is that so hard!?)

So, yeah, thanks!
Julie said…
Or some days we get turned over by the waves of a huge storm?
FoxyJ said…
Julie--ha, ha, ha--exactly!

Some days I feel like I have a little raft and no steering wheel. I love this metaphor :)
Emma said…
I so needed to hear this today. I contemplating writing a blog post about what a horrible mother I am. I didn't because I didn't want it to sound like a "I need sympathy, I need praise" post. I am just really struggling right now. But I need to remember that some days are like that. Some weeks are like that. I just wish I could remember that before I get all bent out of shape. Thanks for the reminder!
Kristeee said…
Lovely thoughts.

A+B=Life is Perfect . . . yeah, I'd love to find those variables.

I think it's easy to think of things in the ebb & flow kind of terms when you're riding one of the good waves. When I'm in the middle of a trough it's hard to see that we're eventually going to come through. I think my challenge is learning to work through the hard parts instead of just holding my breath, closing my eyes, and waiting for the storm to pass.
skyeJ said…
A+B= life is perfect. Sigh. Not so. I have no kids or spouse and I still know just how you feel. Perfection is an unattainable goal and should be stricken from my vocabulary. Being perfect will not make anything better, easier, etc.

I would say that if S-Boogie said her tummy hurt, no matter WHAT you did, she would've puked. Can't stop vomit. EVER. Don't beat yourself up over that one bit.
Becca said…
Yesterday, Izzy's school had field day. I volunteered and went last year when we lived in Seattle, and I was one of the only parents who went. So, this year it was raining and I decided not to go. It turns out that EVERY kid had their parents there except for Izzy and one other kid. She ate lunch with just that kid while everyone else ate with their parents. I literally cried when I found out. Not to mention I noticed a big hole in her shoe! I felt like the worst mom on the planet. To compensate we took her out to ice cream and bought her a new pair of shoes. I'm still a little traumatized.

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