I was putting Isaac’s snack in his backpack and found a “what I’m thankful for” packet. The first page read “I’m thankful for mom”, and had a picture he drew of us sleeping side by side, in pencil. He often comes into my bed in the middle of the night and sometimes I am too tired to face the upset if I say no. I was honored to be on the first page and that this is something he thinks of and is grateful for. I smiled and flipped to the next page. “I am grateful for dad”, Isaac had drawn them in color, with a soccer ball, and big smiles on their faces. I flipped to the next page. “I am grateful for dad baseball” - another cute drawing in color with smiley faces. I flipped to the next page, “I am thankful for dad baseball” - another one. He didn’t even like or play baseball, I thought. I flipped to the last page. “I like to be thankful in my heart! Dad” - Surprise, another colored drawing - this time with hearts everywhere.
My stomach dropped and my eyes filled with tears. It wasn’t that I felt what I was feeling because Isaac was thankful for his dad, it was that clearly, I was not the fun mom I thought I was or wanted to be. I did the laundering, the cooking, the tidying, the providing, the cleaning, the weekday shuffling, the scheduling, etc… I was short on weeknights because I was tired and the boys didn’t get to enjoy my easiness on the weekends (because I didn’t have them). Of course, I wasn’t about to bombard them with the reality of why things were the way they were. Why their dad could not give them what they deserved in order for “us” to balance it all, and why I was so tired doing everything in between, because of his inabilities. So, therefore, I had to be stability.
But then I remembered, that every time I walk into my bathroom (mom’s bathroom - the boys have their own), I see the hand towel on top of the back of the toilet instead of the little rack. And every time I see it I smile (before reminding Isaac that it needs to be hung back up after use). So it was then that I realized, no matter where or when or how or what, your home will always be your home. You will always be… mom. You will always be you. You will always teach the things, be the reminder, and the thought in the back of their head of why they do the things they do… And I was more than okay with being that thoughtful voice.
Although I was drawn in pencil and not in color or marker, Isaac drew me in bed, alongside him. In my apartment - the one I work so hard for so they can have a home base.
While co-parenting will be different for all of us, it’s important to remember the importance of how YOU parent. Never discredit the harmony in your home, the healing in your heart, or what is heard from your humility. Bitterness will always try to steal the show, but you can choose to be better than that.
Make the best of every moment, memory, and model. Be it, embrace it, embody it.
You are you and your kids need that too.
Samantha Eason Mom, Writer
On Feeding and Trusting Intuition
Because after exclusively nursing my first two sons, the thought of switching to formula for my last baby sounded like a cop-out. I don’t have an ego but I prided myself on what I felt was finishing the greatest marathons of all - nursing, and doing it three times at that. Except that is not the marathon, feeding is. Although demanding on our bodies (which are designed to do so), the endurance we need comes from ease and peace for mom and dad. Before you take off on a flight with your little one(s), the flight attendants remind you to put your oxygen mask on first, so that you are able to help your child. Why do we forget this when it comes to everything and anything else? Where are those “flight attendants” confidently directing us to save ourselves first so we can be good for those we influence and care for most? I can tell you where they are, and where they are not. The thoughts that prepare you to soar at great heights are your intuitive inklings - they come from you and no one else. They are yours and will always live within you. The anxiety and fear that combat such intuitions, those you do not own. That is the turbulence testing you to see if you did in fact tend to yourself before the rest. For we can support nothing if we barely bare our needs.
I learned quickly that stressing about something I could no longer do or produce physically, or handle mentally, actually took away from the nourishment Rowan really needed. My exhaustion from pregnancy and divorce admits a pandemic already had that covered. So maybe it is not even “fed is best”, but “rest is best”. Thought will always be the most powerful feed. Luckily, my closest friend (also a single mom of three) and a realist when it came to decision making, asked me one day “what are you so afraid of?” When I shared my anxiousness and worry about “having” to switch to formula. She immediately listed off the pros, because focusing on the cons is often out of our control (yet what we do the best), and the energy I had already spent thinking about those, was overdue too. So, this is my favorite part - the part where we ask questions. The part of nurturing that is maybe not so instinctual - it does not always have to be perfect or panic. It is not always “all” or “overboard”.
Those long tireless nights, whether you are holding your breast or a bottle at 3 am with one eye open, are short-lived. Make sure you are to remember them to be triumphant rather than tearful, but also remember sometimes those go hand in hand.
Dearest mothers, I hope you learn to trust your sense to fly. You are the pilot on the plane and you will always know how to get everyone home safely.