December babies deserve to be celebrated the same way as any other person on their birthday. There are so many small but significant ways to acknowledge both the holidays and the birthdays of those who were born during the most wonderful time of year.
Being grateful is a simple attitude with a profound effect. It reminds me of the good in my life when days are full of chaos and tantrums. Being grateful begins with me, ends with me, and allows others to get the best version of me — the thankful one.
I must do certain things at specific times to maintain my health, but I must also be willing to adapt to given situations. I pack extra insulin, insulin pump materials, and low blood sugar treatments, right along with extra diapers, wipes, and clothes for diaper accidents. I take each day, each failure, and each victory one at a time. I forgive myself for high and low blood sugars as well as for losing my cool with my girls. I take time to take care of myself so I am available to take care of my family. While I would give anything for a cure for Type 1 diabetes, I know I would not be the woman and mother I am today without it.
And because she is finally sleeping, so are we. The two parents who were so proud of our baby's ability to self-soothe. The two parents who swore we would never co-sleep with our children. The two parents who were so desperate for uninterrupted sleep.
After the ordeal of getting through security, I am full of dread. I quickly realize that the extra outfits I had put aside for the carry-on bags are still sitting in the living room. I have no change of clothes for my baby, and we're only minutes into our vacation.
My toddler loves all things climbing and swinging. For a kid who struggled with sensory issues (and graduated from Early Intervention two months before turning 3), a playground is a welcome wonderland. So while counting down the school days, I've compiled a list of playgrounds to visit on the South Shore. Here are all the great places we'll visit this summer — join us!
I'm not perfect. I don't drink, but I act out in different ways — I sometimes overeat or overshop or overexercise in order to cope with feelings. I'm not perfect at momming or at pretty much anything. But I learned in sobriety that I don't have to be; I just have to be present, honest, willing to learn, and open to change. The gift of sobriety changed my life 15 years ago. It continues to be a gift in my life and in the lives of those around me.
Get involved. Be that parent. Parents often apologize for emailing me too often. I tell them to never apologize for advocating on behalf of their child. Open communication is important in all relationships. Whether your child is in preschool, high school, or anywhere in between, remember that you are their advocate, and you should have a relationship with their teacher. You don't have to go out of your way to set up meetings. Emails and phone calls (I prefer emails because I do not have a phone in my classroom) are adequate. As a teacher, I appreciate when a parent is involved in their child's education.
After that first run, I pulled aside my 3-year-old and told her Mommy needs her to be a good girl for Daddy when Mommy leaves the house. I also explained to my husband that I was sorry she was so difficult but that the prospect of not being able to enjoy some much-needed self-care was daunting.
After meditating each day for a couple of weeks, I began to feel more grounded. The meditations did not tell me to stop thinking or feeling; instead, they helped me to observe my thoughts without judgment. Meditation reminded me that I do not have to perseverate. Instead, I can allow my thoughts to pass, like clouds, and return to them if and when I choose. It reminded me to breathe and check in with my body — that breath is the foundation of everything. It helped me to be present. Eventually, the three minutes of meditation began to spill into the rest of my day.
I felt lost and alone, despite the fact that I was surrounded by family and friends. So I did what I had always done: I joined things. I longed to make mom friends and connect with them in a way that was not possible with my husband, my friends who are not mothers, or even my friends who are mothers, but of older children. I needed moms in the same 'boat' I was sinking in — that sleep-deprived, drowning-in-love, disoriented-and-dehydrated, struggling-with-breastfeeding, hating-my-post-pregnancy-body boat.