Written by Shannon Mason, guest blogger
Today my five month old gave me a bloody lip. He wrapped his miniature claws around my delicate lips and held on like a tick. It wasn’t until I removed each finger, one by one, that he gave in, smiled, and playfully held my face in both of his hands. He was fed up! Sick and tired! He simply didn’t want Mommy to put any more kisses on his hands. I knew I should have stopped while I was ahead. I could tell as he attempted to wiggle free from my grip that he just didn’t want any more kisses.
But can you blame me?
What Mom doesn’t want to slather her baby in kisses as much as possible?
Oh no. Am I becoming an overbearing Mom: The Mom who serves punch at her son’s prom just to keep tabs on his date and make sure they’re sticking to the 12-inch rule, the head of the PTA, or the go-to chaperone?
As I pass my little monster to his father, I head to the bathroom to check on my lip, which is now spewing blood. OKAY, fine. I may be exaggerating a bit, but who knew an infant could cause so much damage? I’m 100% sure I trimmed his claws yesterday.
Doctoring my lip, I began to think about emotions and sensitivity: two words often attributed to the stereotypical woman, primarily, mothers. I admit, I am both emotional and sensitive, and there’s nothing wrong with that. On the other hand, I also have a difficult time expressing myself and accepting that I’m sensitive. Maybe it’s because I want to be seen a strong woman and Mom. Maybe it’s because it seems to be the one thing men always bring up during arguments. Who knows? I know what you’re thinking, what does any of this have to do with me surviving my son’s death grip? Ironically, everything.
One major thing I’m learning while I get the hang of this “Mommy thing” is to be honest with my emotions, to understand that it’s okay to feel sad, overwhelmed, anxious, fearful, tired, and anything else other than happy at times. I’m learning from my son. My five month old is teaching me a lesson. When he’s hungry, he lets me know by lifting my shirt…regardless of where we are. When he’s happy, he smiles and tries to stand and balance his wobbly ankles on my lap. When he’s tired, he doesn’t hide his lion-esque yawns and excessive eye rubbing. And when he’s upset, he digs his claws into my skin. My son, who hasn’t formed a word yet, lets me know how he feels without feeling ashamed. He wouldn’t think to ignore his instincts–even the emotional ones.
I’m sure we’ve all been in a position where we’ve been afraid of a challenge. Instead of trying to overcome our fear, we move on to something more comfortable. Well, I don’t know where this fear of being honest with my emotions began, but I’m sure I’m not the only woman who’s felt like I’ve always had to put on a Superwoman cape, a Bat woman mask, transform into Optimus Prime and magically hold it all together for the people around me.
My son is teaching me that when I’m tired, it’s okay to ask my partner for a nap, even if it’s only 20 minutes. Or when I’m finally ashamed of my oily hair, it’s okay to not judge myself for adding five extra minutes to the five-minute shower limit my kid so graciously allows. More importantly, when I’m frustrated or feeling overwhelmed by the daily highs and lows, it’s okay for me to be vulnerable and ask for help, because sometimes we simply can’t do it all.