How apt that I am writing my first ever post on motherhood on Mother’s Day!
This year was my second Mother’s Day celebration. Yes, motherhood has too much of wonderful, incredible and unbelievable rewards. In fact, I can tell that most of my posts on motherhood will be about the amazing things it brings. But being a mom for a year also proved that the sacrifices, struggles, and uncertainties are #real.
Mother knows best. We grew up thinking that moms are always right and that they always know what they’re doing. They are more amazing than the superheroes and more magical than the fairy godmothers in our books and fairy tales. But here’s one secret of motherhood that I’ve just realized – that there are times, if not most of the time, that we don’t really know what we’re doing. Mothers doubt themselves, too.
I’ve had my own share of these concerns. Some are pretty simple and petty like “is the diaper too tight?” or “is he comfortable in that position?” or “am i doing this or that right?”. But there are those that, probably coupled with raging hormones every so often, lead to real insecurities.
Recently, I’ve had to deal with a major one. Tino’s weight gain has slowed down to almost insignificant pace in the last 2 months. We have been breastfeeding since birth and we’ve started complimentary feeding of solids at 6 months, but it was about the same time that his weight started to stall. I’m also a full-time mom now and is very much hands-on with whatever we feed him. And so, all these brought me to ask myself the painful, painful question: Am I not giving him enough? Am I not doing enough?
Being the praning mom that I am, I began to google the whys and hows, read through blogs after blogs, joined forums and groups, hoping to get some sensible advice and secretly wishing that someone would validate that it’s alright, that we are doing just fine. It bothered me so much that I began to question not only his feeding pattern, but every little thing that I did for him in the past. Did I make the right decision to breastfeed and continue breastfeeding him? Did I feed him the wrong food? Did I disrupt his routine when I decided to become a full-time mom? It became very frustrating that every day was like a race to a number in the scale. Meal times turned from fun to forced. Even our nursing sessions turned to some sort of MMA match where we would grapple on the bed and I would end up pleading to Tino to keep still and nurse. Of course, most of the time he wouldn’t. That’s when the insecurities started to set in. I began to think I wasn’t cut for this job of being a full-time mom. That maybe the best I could have done was to sit on my office desk, continue on with my heroic pumping sessions in between and take home my liquid gold at night, while Tino grows consistently at the 50th percentile – exactly how it used to be when he was younger and I was a working mom.
So, it went on like this for a while until it hit me one day that I was no longer being the mom that Tino needs me to be. I began to realize that I was so engrossed with his physical progress that I fail to see how he is developing in other aspects. That’s when I appreciated what a healthy and smart little boy he is. He very rarely gets sick, not even the usual cough and colds. He started to walk earlier than most babies his age. He is smarter and can communicate better – he can say words like “dad”, “mama”, “there” to point at something, “bu” for books, “bao” for ball, “an” for one, “am” for food, “arara” for flower, “lala” for bell, among others, wave his hands while saying “hi” or “bye”, and shake his head for “no” and a whole lot of other adorable antics . He is full of energy and full of life everyday.
I also started to be more sensitive again to his actions and feelings. Like when he would stop playing and suddenly come up to me to give me the warmest embrace while calling me “mama”. How his eyes would light up upon seeing me or his dad after a few minutes or hours of errands, squeal in delight, and jump up in our arms. These are precious moments and milestones that I almost missed because I was so obsessed with his weight. And while I had those questions and insecurities and was looking for answers elsewhere, Tino was already giving me the answers and assurances that I needed. It was his own way of telling me “Mama, you’re doing great.”
Us, moms, know well that we are not really invincible and that everyday we are confronted with worries and fears big or small. What I learned so far is that while we can’t help but have these doubts, most of the time the answer lies in our natural motherly instinct rooted in our deep love for our children. It’s not always the scale at the pedia’s office or the threads we read in mommy forums. I believe that the best validation can only come from the recipient of that love – our children. And of course, with lots and lots of prayers, I know nobody else does it better than us, moms.
And to all of us, daughters and sons, let’s not forget to always show our appreciation to our moms and erase any doubt or fear that more often we don’t hear from them. Believe me, they always have one everyday. Give our moms a hug, a kiss, a thumbs up, cook for them, send lots of smileys or dancing GIFs! The best assurances should come from us, their offspring. We don’t need to wait for another Mother’s day to do just that.