Friday, January 21, 2011

A Mother's Needs

I've never been big on taking care of myself. I mean, I don't go all out to pamper myself or to think about what *I* need. Being a mom now, I have even less time to myself than I ever had before and I never thought it would bother me because, as I said, I didn't think I needed to think about 'me' much. But things have been difficult lately and I've been out of sorts, and unable to really put into words what it is that I'm feeling or experiencing.

Yesterday, I stumbled upon The Happiest Mom's blog post on a 'Mother's Hierarchy of Needs.' I remember when I first heard about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Or at least, when I first heard about it in my professional life. I was working for an early literacy home visit program and we were having our weekly meeting with the director of the program. It was the beginning of a new year with new families and she was reminding us to be sensitive to the families lives and needs, and understand that if some of the parents seemed not to care about whether their children were able to read or do crafts, that they might perhaps be caught up worrying about elemental needs a bit lower on the pyramid - things like food, shelter, or even safety. I have carried that reminder with me ever since.

Seeing one person's version of a Mother's Hierarchy of Needs reminds me that there are those different levels of needs. I long for moments when I can curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and read a good book for a long time, maybe until I finish it; or a day when I can sew or knit or spin or felt to my heart's content; without having to respond to fussing or diapering or make sure everyone is fed. It's not that I don't love my family, not at all. Or even that I want to spend a day without them. It's just hard to respond to everyone's needs all the time. And worries about things like jobs and money and other such mundane things (or a fire destroying the inside of our townhouse), make it even more stressful, because they are closer to the base of that pyramid. I guess it doesn't give me any answers but at least it is a reminder that a) I'm not alone in this mommy-predicament and b) I'm not feeling out of sorts because I haven't been able to complete a knitting project in ages, but more likely because of those lower level elements (let's talk about sleep!).

I'd love to have this on a t-shirt, or maybe a diaper bag. Then instead of talking to people when they ask how things are, I can just point to whatever level I have an issue with at the time!

Note: I promise I'll post something more cheerful soon. On a happier note for the time being, we changed our sleeping arrangements once again and put all the mattresses on the floor. I think this will be a good short-term solution for us all.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Co-sleeping with two little ones

Wow. It's been over a month since I last posted. I really enjoyed blogging when I got into the habit of doing it every night (although I'm sure my husband was bummed that I would go straight from putting the girls to bed to "Just 10 minutes hon!" on the computer, which always took more than 10 minutes). But once out of the habit, it was hard getting back to it. The holidays didn't make it easier though. I really enjoyed reading other blogs about decorating and gift-making and cooking for the holidays and I wanted to take part but blogging was just that one-more-thing that was too much. Ah well, maybe next year (or rather, this year!).

So today I'm posting just to try and dabble my toes in it again in hopes of returning more full-on soon.

We are experimenting with the girls' sleeping arrangements again. With a toddler and an infant (although at almost 10 months, she's almost a toddler herself!), co-sleeping is tricky. Our 2 year old has been sleeping on a futon mattress about 6 inches lower than our bed for over a year now. She moves a lot and doesn't like covers so sleeping in our bed wasn't working out for anyone. But she likes to be close by and still needs us in the middle of the night sometimes so this is a good arrangement. Once our youngest started inching down to our feet during the night (around 6 months), we had to make other arrangements for her and so we put the crib that my husband made right up next to my side of the bed so it's almost like an extension of our bed, but she has her own space. This worked well until just recently when she started a) really fighting going to sleep, and b) crawling out onto our bed and trying to get off herself after naps. So we moved things around again and I put both girls on the floor, next to each other, next to our bed; their heads towards us.

Our older one seems to like seeing her sister sleeping near her (then she knows she's not off having fun without her). And it's nice because the little one can crawl off and on without us having to worry. But there are definitely some downfalls.

Firstly, I have to respond to both girls at night now. So last night that meant getting up for the older one three times because she had either rolled off her mattress or was upset because she couldn't find her dolly (roller onto the floor). And getting up three times for the little one, to nurse her or get her out of the small crack between the mattresses.

Then, at nap time, if the little one wakes up first, I hear her once she's crawling on top of her big sister to get out.

And now my train of thought is gone after the girls wake from nap and our evening was filled with its usual busy-ness. So I'll leave it at this.