Monday, May 26, 2008

Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative

First of all, let me state straight off that I am not one to paint motherhood (or parenthood for that matter) in rosy hues framed by flowery bouquets and perfumed by the breath of tiny angels. I have always believed that parenting is hard work, and while some of it is greatly rewarding, I think most of those rewards come long after the initial investment of time and energy. I think society frowns upon the frank admittance that mothering is (a) difficult, (b) non-instinctive, and (c) less than completely fulfilling, but I believe all these things.

And I make this promise right now to all my friends and readers - you have full and complete permission to grumble, bitch, whine, moan, complain, carp and cry to me anytime about parenthood. And I will not expect said complaint to be followed by the disclaimer, "Oh, but of course it's all worth it." (That much is understood.)

So, now that I've created my own little safe place here, let me talk about positives and negatives.

This blog is currently filled with a lot of negatives. There are really only four things I do that classify as interactions with my daughter, right now: breastfeeding is far and away the largest of these, and I find it difficult and sometimes downright painful. After that comes soothing her, which is also by its nature a challenging task. Then there is hygiene - diapering and bathing - both of which she hates. Finally, there are the scant moments in which she is awake, alert, and not particularly in need of anything. These are the moments in which she focusses on my face, perhaps mimics my expressions, responds ever so slightly to my voice.

Put like that, it's no wonder all I do is complain. But there's more to it than that.

Back in the early days of motherhood, I got well and truly schooled on the power of positive thinking. To be specific, I learned that it had the power to kick my ass. Because every time I expressed gratitude for something positive, whatever it was I was grateful for got taken away.

"Thank God no one else got that stupid awful virus," I said, and the next day both Sally and Chris got sick.

"Thank God Gwen is healthy," I said, and then she started losing weight.

"Thank God she sleeps well," I said, and then Lillian told me I had to start waking her up to eat.

Deep in the worst of the sleep deprivation, I became convinced that my gratitude was getting me into trouble, and I stopped expressing it. Stopped talking about the things I found positive in my day. Stopped even noticing or thinking about positive things, for fear they'd be destroyed. It's practically an unwritten rule of mommyblogging that the minute you braggingly blog "my kid has slept through the night for x months", your kid will immediately stop sleeping through the night. It made sense that I should stop talking about the enormous triumphs of my day.

Unfortunately, that has led me to this place, where I'm entering the second month of motherhood and all I see are the challenges. And it makes me sad to think that I might look back on this journal in years to come and see only the negative side of the picture, only the difficulties and frustrations, none of the beauty that takes my breath away. I've got to change my perspective, and while I have no doubt that it will be hard to do, it will all be worth it.

Gah. Help me. I'm choking on my own platitudes.


Kat said...

You are very insightful and I know you can turn yourself around if you are concious of what you are thinking and why. *Hugs*

Amberism said...

My blog is for bitching (and not really ever met for my kid's eyes, its all about ME) and I have a private, written journal for each of my kids. When I'm writing directly for my kids, something I know is intended for them to hear, I'm just naturally going to be positive. It helps to balance out all that griping I do online.

We gotta gripe, and we gotta find support. I feel so much better when someone says something (like breastfeeding IS HARD) because then I know I'm not alone. I can't tell you how often I mention "Laura is also going through this, so I don't feel so alone and inadequate". Your griping is helping me :).

seriously, I gotta update my own darn blog.


Related Posts with Thumbnails