Recently a birth board sister of mine wrote a blog entry about naming her son Jayne. It was picked up by Today’s Parent and has made it’s way to TV shows like “The Social“. Some of the comments have been supportive, but of course some have been less than great and it got me thinking about how we name our children.
Sleep, a theme from Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop
“Does she sleep through the night?” this is one of the first questions all parents get when they have babies. At first you nervously giggle and look around. “um.. no..not quite” that question sticks with you. Later that night as you’re awake feeding and changing a baby for the 100th time that night you wonder if all the other babies are sleeping yet (they aren’t) Should yours be? Are you failing at parenting already? What if they never sleep through the night? What if you never sleep through the night? These questions start to haunt you.
Of course us been there/done that moms don’t seem worried when it comes to second plus babies. Why? Because we know. We know there will come a time when they’ll sleep through the night. When they won’t wake and look for you. Even later on when they won’t want just one more story or cuddle. When they happily go up to bed on their own. That one day you’ll read them their last bedtime story, or that it will be the last night they hop in your bed for a cuddle, or the last time they wake in the night reaching for you. Only the kicker is you won’t know it’s the last time, so you won’t know to take it all in to memory. No matter how many kids you have it just hits you one day that it’s been a while since your little has woken up looking for you. And it makes you a little sad. (Yes, really)
Last week when we were all sick Lady Girl crawled in our bed. It’s been a long time since I’ve found her there. I got to stroke her hair while she slept and it was bittersweet. I missed having her crawl into our bed, knowing I’d wake up at 2am and she’d be there, no matter when or where she fell asleep the night before. Little Miss was also up more often than normal. While she was sick she had zero appetite, so of course she was nursing like a newborn, which means she wanted to nurse almost all night (one night I saw every hour on the clock) at the time I was so done. I needed sleep that wasn’t constantly broken up. But now that she’s back to her normal routine and not waking up as often for night nursing I find I’m missing it again.
I don’t want to be that mom. The one telling you to enjoy it in the moment because you’ll miss it, because I know that in the moment of sleeplessness it’s really hard to enjoy it. It’s really hard to remember that one day you will miss it. You have every single right to dislike it in the moment. I just want you to know that as much as you don’t think there’s an end in sight, there is one there somewhere. And it will hit you hard when it happens.
Today is Pink Shirt Day in Canada. Pink shirt day is a day that schools really reflect on bullying awareness. It started 9 years ago when a boy in grade 9 was bullied at school for wearing a pink shirt in Nova Scotia. Two older boys in his school decided that wasn’t okay, and decided to take a stand against the bullies while supporting the new kid. The whole story is beautiful. You can find it here to get more details.
Last night one of my favourite bloggy types wrote about a bullying incident with her daughter she reflected on how the bullying affected her daughter, and how the help of two students turned things around. Reading it had me reflecting on my own school years, on my children having been bullied and on how my children react when they (or others) are bullied.
I remember being bullied in grade school. It was terrible. I dreaded going to school. I withdrew from any social activities that I could. Back then “anti bullying” wasn’t a thing. Parents and adults were more of the mindset of “sticks & stones” & “it’s just kids being kids” and pushed it off as silly child stuff. The bullying left me with scars. Deep ones. I don’t blame the adults in my life, it was just the times. When I became a parent I vowed I would listen to my kids if they said they were being bullied. I wouldn’t push it off as kids being kids. That I would teach my kids empathy. That people are different and that bullying anyone for any reason was no okay. I would teach them to find a way to stick up for kids who were bullied and stand up to kids that were bullies. Even if those bullies were popular or even their friends. Sometimes that lesson is hard to keep reminding them of because my younger kids don’t always understand when one of their classmates is mean to them or another kid for no reason.
My kids are far from perfect. They fight among themselves sometimes, and aren’t always kind to each other. A couple of them have gotten into fights at school with other kids over silly things. But you know what my kids aren’t? Bullies.
Somehow I have managed to teach my kids to always include others.
I have had parents walk up to me to tell me that one of my children included their child in an activity on their very first day of school, or teachers tell me how my children are always seeking out those in class who don’t seem to have many friends to ensure they’re having fun. I’ve had teachers tell me how my kids choose to walk away, even when another kid is egging them on. These moments I know that I may not be a perfect mom with perfect kids, but sometimes I get this parenting thing right.
Today, I am making the pinkshirt promise to continue teaching my kids, throw words and actions, to end bullying and spread positivity, how about you?
Dear mom at the mall.
I saw you today while I sat on the bench outside the Dr’s office, with my toddler in her stroller. I saw you glare at me as I was on my phone while holding my toddler’s hand. I saw the eye rolling you did as you muttered something to your friend about people being on their phones and not paying attention. I forgive you.
You didn’t know that I was on my phone, using fb, to talk to my teen son. You had no idea that he was at home, that we are homeschooling and that even though he is pretty responsible about getting his work done that sometimes he has questions. You had no idea I was giving him questions and discussing our current history lesson (The history of St Valentine) You had no idea that I couldn’t be home with him because my other child had a Dr’s appointment today or that he was just inside in the bathroom while I waited for him. You didn’t know any of these things before you decided to judge me. From behind the stroller of, what I assume is your first, baby you didn’t see any of that. You saw a mom, sitting with her toddler, busy reading Facebook. Maybe you didn’t even notice that I was holding her hand and talking to her while I was chatting to her brother. I don’t know. What I do know is that you felt the need to judge, and to make it clear you were judging me. That for a moment I even let your eye rolling bother me, let myself think about how much of a failure of a mother I must have looked like sitting there on my phone in the middle of the mall. Then you were gone, and my toddler laughed because her brother sent us a funny sticker, then called to talk to her. In that moment I was reminded that your judgement can’t affect me unless I let it. That my children are happy and loved, and they know it. So, judgey mom, I forgive you. I also promise that one day if you’re ever sitting on a bench on your phone I won’t be the mother who is judging you, because I know there may be more to the story. That perhaps you are talking to someone, or maybe this is the first moment all day that you’ve had to just sit and chat. I won’t judge you because I don’t know your story, and it’s not my place to ever judge you.