Saturday, April 30, 2011


Last week Dave and I took the babies to Story Time at the Library for the first time. It was really fun, and a great free family activity.

When we first walked in, Abbey clung to me like a spidermonkey, which is her standard M.O.

I talked to her in a calm voice and told her we were all staying there as a family, and that we were going to have so much fun together. After a short while, she relaxed and warmed up. She really is a friendly little soul...once she is comfortable.

As my daughter was clinging to me, I found myself carried away with the inner dialogue I often am in when we experience this...I wonder why she is so timid...what did I do wrong? Why is she so scared of new people and places? What should I have done differently? It's because I was so high strung the first few months of her life, if only I could have been different...more relaxed...this is my fault...

Luke on the other hand left David's lap almost immediately to crawl around and explore. At one point the teacher put some toys down in the middle of the room, and he just rolled around and played in the center of them. Fearless. Totally comfortable.

It was in that moment that I interrupted my own thoughts.

They are being raised exactly the same.

They have been through pretty much the same experiences.

They shared a womb.

Perhaps...perhaps Abbey was just born with a more timid and shy disposition. Perhaps Luke was just born with a more comfortable one. I'm not saying she doesn't "get" it from me (from my genetics...I am high strung after all...) but it was the first time I was able to recognize that it just maybe it wasn't my "fault". Maybe it wasn't something I had done - or was doing- wrong.

Motherhood is so funny that way. The guilt can just be endless. The pressure we put on ourselves- and often, each other- is intense. And most of the time useless.

I made a commitment to myself in that moment to be better about catching myself in the middle of those runaway thoughts, stepping back, and asking IF there is something I can do differently (better, even) to help the situation, whatever it may be. And if there isn't, then giving myself a break. I don't want to have molds I expect my kids to fit into.

If Luke all of a sudden decides he doesn't like meat (which happened for a short time... he went vegetarian on us randomly for a bit, he's crossed back over since then), I will try to do better to recognize he is an individual making a choice, and perhaps it has nothing to do with the way I introduced meats, or the speed or variety of it. Maybe it has nothing to do with me at all.

I sense a freedom coming already =)


Lauren said...

Noah sounds just like Abbey...

Aunt Carol said...

Good for you!

Jen S. said...

You have such a wonderful way with words Kendra. That totally hit home for me and really made me think.

I sometimes think the same thing about something Jeven might do (or not be doing). As a Mother I am SOOOO hard on myself at times. I always tell her that I don't expect perfection, yet I expect perfection from myself. It drives me NUTS!

Anyhoo, I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts. I learn so much from you sweet friend. Thank you.

Oh, and I use to ♥ taking Jeven to story time at the library when she was little. Sure brings back some awesome memories :)

Linda Lee Brown Ayers said...

Ahhhh GUILT. With children there is plenty of feeling of it (and anxiety about whether something could have been done differently) to go around IF you choose to pick it up. Don't go there! :)