Regaining a foothold

Something has been different this week. After my outburst of frustration and despondency on Sunday, I talked with several of my mom friends from my attachment parenting group here in town about weaning and the emotions that come with it. A few suggested that part of what I might have been feeling was loss of identity after the abandonment of my PhD program, something I certainly can't discount.

One mom who weaned a nursing toddler partly because of feelings similar to mine suggested I look at LLL's How Weaning Happens, so I flipped through a few pages on Amazon's online reader. I'm so glad that resource was available to me at that moment. Reading about different approaches to weaning and the different reasons moms choose to do it helped me immensely. For some reason, I had been putting a lot of pressure on myself and on Kent to just get it over with and wean as quickly as possible, but I realized while I was reading that I didn't have to do it all at once. Might seem obvious, given my tendency toward sensitive parenting, but I was in a weird headspace about the whole thing. So there was one big sigh of relief. For a week now, Jack's been getting Kent to bed at night without nursing but we've kept his morning and naptime nursing sessions. I feel such peace at knowing that this gobbledy-gook mess of emotions I'm dealing with is completely normal. I'm also thankful for the reminders I got about how Kent would need me to compensate for that loss of emotional connection he was feeling, so I've been very deliberate about tuning into him this week.

We've had five great days in a row. This is practically unheard of for us. I've been more creative, energetic, and patient than I've been in months. We've had fun things to do each day — some with our playgroup, some solo — and I've been taking the time to enjoy his blossoming language, his movement, and his overall Kent-ness. I've also been using his naptime to do productive and fun things, like getting a head start on cooking that night's dinner and indulging in some crafty behavior. Rather than sitting in front of the TV with lunch or a snack during his nap and unplugging from my life, I've been doing all the things that are challenging to do when he's awake, so I actually feel ready for him to wake up from his nap and for us to move on to the next thing (instead of groaning that he's already awake, which I admit that I do fairly often).

I've also been able to do more cleaning with him around than I used to be able to do, so I've been sweeping and straightening a bit each day with his "help" and generally feeling better about the space in which we live. We have a big cleaning session ahead of us this weekend in preparation for next week's Easter craft party and then Jack's parents coming for Easter, so I was glad to get a jump start on some necessary cleaning activities. My back has been killing me after all this productivity, but I feel happy and fulfilled at night when I lie down to sleep instead of just emotionally exhausted, so it's worth it.

I need to remember this week whenever I start feeling like an ineffective parent again. I know I'm not a bad mother, I just think that, from time to time, we all feel ineffective at whatever we do. So I expect that sense of inadequacy to rear its ugly head again sometime, but I think I'm able to confront it with a little more certainty in myself each time it returns. I live, I get stronger, and we're all better off for it.

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