Lessons of Motherhood

On my 37th birthday, I came to realize the importance of shifting from the “me and myself” thinking to “us” thinking for the wellbeing of the family. When small personal expectations are not met due to unexpected events of the present moment, inner conflict arises. Despite that, if we allow ourselves to express the love we feel for the family, before we know it, we are back to inner balance.

Daydreaming

I’ve recently turned 37 years. My husband rented a boat and we went off sailing around the archipelago of Helsinki till sunset. We enjoyed the serenity of the still dormant nature of March in Helsinki. We had some white wine and blue cheese while sharing whatever thoughts budded in our minds. We danced salsa and played board games.

As a matter of fact, the related events are but mere imagination.

The reality

Being a family with two small kids, we had a silent agreement that we would focus the energy on our boys. Our family of four spends most of the free time together. Yet somewhere deep inside, I was hoping that my birthday or my husband’s would be spent with a tiny bit of focus on ourselves also.

 

The morning of my 37th birthday followed after a bad night’s sleep. Yet, the joy of life surmounted the sleepiness when my hubby informed that he’s taking the day off to spend it together with me and the boys. The first half of the day was spent at an indoors playground, where we were switching between the two boys. On way back home, I was thinking which tasty dish we would have for dinner while our boys would be sleeping like angels.

 

Hardly did we arrive home when our youngest son started crying. With every scream of help, my soul was overcast by worry. The face of our baby was furrowed by pain and we were watching helplessly. Half an hour later, which felt like an eternity, we figured out what the problem was. One hour later, our baby felt better but I was in an emotional blockage.

 

I was doing my best though to fake an “Everything is fine” smile to the boys. My hubby gave me a heartfelt hug while whispering, “You must feel awful now!”

Lessons of a meaningful moment

My birthday may not have been a day of celebration and romance, yet it was a day that showed to me the power of love and living meaningfully. I would not have wanted to be anywhere else in the world, but right there, in our flat, holding our baby in the arms during his moments of pain. I felt lost for not being able to find a rapid cure for his ailment. I felt guilty for ever thinking to put him earlier to bed so I can enjoy the birthday evening solely with his father. Most of all, I felt how my love was soothing him despite the pain. And this was a remarkable feeling!

 

As for our marriage, the love that we feel for each other has been expressed differently since we became parents. We passed the stage of salsa parties (where we met) or walking under the moonlight. We are at the stage of supporting each other in parenting the best we can. We certainly miss being just the two of us. However, we are aware we are at this stage when we have to wait for our turn to have a hug. The little ones are first in line.

 

It became clear to me that at this stage, living meaningfully means giving up on any other plans of enjoyment or must-do errands and be present with the whole being when our children need us the most.

 

Every new day may bring unexpected challenges for our family – i.e., the entire family waiting in the emergency room. Facing such challenges while finding new ways to express love strengthen the family bonds. The challenge remains a memory upon which we look back and say heartedly, “We did it together!”

 

How about you? What changed in your life after becoming a parent and how do you feel about it?

 

PS. On the 4th of March 2014, our second baby was born. I am still at home with both boys. Being a mom is the toughest job I ever got and the most meaningful at the same time. I feel lucky to be the mother of two wonderful boys who make me want to be a better person. Each day is a storm of emotions, such as love, empathy, joy, anger, irritation, frustration, etc. At the end of the day, there is the feeling of contentment for spending a full day together when I discover new faces of the boys’ personalities.

 

I will continue writing on my blog each time I get some time on my own. Considering how our life has been so far, the most realistic scenario is once a month. I hope you’ll enjoy the new posts! :)   

Why does falling in love not always have a happy ending?

“Because two people fell in love”. This is how it started the invitation to a friend’s wedding. My friend had been in love in previous relationships. Still, it was only once when falling in love took her all the way to the altar.

In the Western societies, we have the freedom to look for partners in love, the way we think it suits us the best. Some of us look for Mr Perfect, others look for someone to love, just the way he/she is. Irrespective of whom we are looking for, falling in love is the easy part. Without being aware, we, women are influenced by the romantic comedies we watch and the romance novels we read. I’d like to know if there is any woman who hasn’t read “Pride and Prejudice“, at least once in her life. Our minds get full of false expectations, which push us even further from understanding what real love is.

Another false expectation is for things to be easy when we feel real love. “There is no such thing as two people meant for each other.” says Michelle Givertz when she talks about successful relationships (http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201112/are-you-the-right-mate?page=5). She argues that one needs to adapt and to know oneself in order to get one’s needs fulfilled in a relationship. I totally agree on that. Relationships require deep understanding of ourselves and open communication with our partners.

The part which I disagree on is the one about two people not being meant for each other. I believe there is the hand of fate that orchestrates circumstances to enable the two people who fell in love to get united in the holy matrimony. By the time when the game of destiny is over, we say wholeheartedly, “I do!” in front of the priest, the family and friends. See for example, the story behind Elizabeth Gilbert ‘s marriage (Committed A Love Story). I keep on giving her as an example in my posts because I find her stories to be very inspiring (and I love her funny writing style). Another example is another friend whose first attempt to wed failed. She moved to another country where she met her present husband. In my case, the leaking ceiling in the flat triggered the chain of events, which led to our marriage decision. Today, it feels that the decision didn’t even belong to us and it was taken before we even met.

It took me some time after getting married to realise what an act of bravery my husband and I had committed. And everyone who gets married commits this act of bravery when you welcome in your bed, soul and mind, the person who is going to affect the most your well being. Do we really know the person we marry? Do we really know how we ourselves are going to change? We only have the hope and willingness to keep up with each other throughout life.

In the long-run, there is no guarantee that we won’t suffer. In some relationships, the harder we try, the more things don’t work out. We may transform ourselves into better persons. We may read loads of books, which offer tips about successful relationships, such as Christine Meinecke’s “Everybody Marries the Wrong Person” (don’t get fooled by the title, it is a book full of wisdom about relationships). The best thing we can do is to learn from sufferance and reinvent ourselves.

Sufferance is a part of good marriages also. But if after sufferance, we feel the sweet taste of harmony, then we are in a good marriage. Arguing is a part of good marriages too. But if after each argument, we feel that we’ve grown to understand ourselves better, then maybe we are meant to stay married for a longer period of time.

Two people are meant to fall in love. The hand of destiny decided if they’ll walk hand in hand in marriage or if they’ll remain the sweet-bitter memory of a lifetime.