I’ve spent every day of Jackson’s life with him. The longest I’ve spent away was two hours (for a snowy run). In his entire 5+ months of existence we haven’t spent more than 10 hours apart, total. That’s a lot of time to spend together. I’ve loved every moment of it and feel incredibly lucky to be able to watch him grow every day. In these months together I’ve noticed that I’ve learned a lot from my son. He may be just over 2 feet tall and not even 18 lbs but he has so much to teach me. It’s funny. As a parent I always thought I’d be the one to teach him but it’s actually been me who’s learning from him. Here’s what I’ve noticed that we can all learn from babies:
Feel Comfortable In Your Own Skin. Jackson sports a double chin and a ginormous belly every day of his life but even butt naked in the middle of a public park he doesn’t feel self conscience. He doesn’t care if his clothes don’t match, if he has food stains on his onesie or his sleeves are a tad too short because his arms are so darn long. Somewhere along the way as we age we learn to compare ourselves to others, to feel uncomfortable in our own bodies, to judge ourselves harshly. Why? We are each our own. We are each unique. We are all beautiful. I wish that I could freeze Jackson at this age so that he never has to learn what judgement is, so his self esteem never waivers. We can all learn from children, through their innocence not just how to feel more comfortable in our own skin but how to reserve judgement of others as well. We can break the cycle.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others. Along the same lines because Jackson has no reason to feel self conscious, he has no reason to compare himself to others. He’s confident on his own, just as he is. He doesn’t look at other babies and think “Man I really wish my hair was that thick” or “Your mama dresses you better than mine”. He accepts each person as they are, including himself.
Eat Your Food Slowly. And use some as facial moisturizer. Just kidding. But have you ever watched a child learn to eat? They have nothing but gums to chow down their food with and it takes for.ever. It really makes me think about just how fast I inhale my food and how I should slow down and truly savor each bite.
Never Give Up. It took Jackson months to learn to do something as simple as hold his head up. It took even longer to learn how to roll over. And even now I watch as he tries with infinite determination to crawl. To simply move from one point to another. As frustrated as he gets, as exhausted as he looks, he never gives up. He keeps trying no matter how many times his little head faceplants on his activity mat with exhaustion, he always picks it back up and tries again. And just as his hard work and determination have paid off with holding his head up, sitting on his own and rolling over, it will pay off again as he learns to crawl and then again when he one day walks. It encourages me and motivates me every single day to push myself a little further. To stop giving up at the first sign of defeat. To dig deeper and redefine the impossible.
Take Time to Snuggle. Or just relax. To play. To unwind. There are points in every day where Jax’s only desire is to curl up with me and snuggle. It’s the highlight of my day. Before him I was constantly on the go. I never took time to just relax. The truth is, time is fleeting <— another thing that Jackson has taught me, and if you don’t make time for yourself and the things you want now, you may never get the chance.
Forgive More Easily. Admit When You’re Wrong. I’m a Leo. You know, the stubborn leader who can never admit defeat or wrongdoing? That’s me! My husband is also a Leo. It makes for very interesting arguments. I’ve always had a hard time forgiving people. I have a hard time letting things go. Until I had Jackson, that is. Jackson taught me that there are things more important than winning an argument, than holding onto grudges, than being right. I’ve accidentally cut Jackson’s nail and made it bleed (mix that with flailing baby hands and it looked like a war scene), I’ve accidentally bopped his head on the freezer door, I’ve spilled milk on him and dropped his bottle. But not once has he looked at me and cried to tell me I’m a bad mom or that I did wrong. I look at him apologetically and I tell him how sorry I am and he doesn’t for a moment get a scowl. He simply looks right back up at me and smiles. “It’s OK”. I’ve learned to give forgiveness more readily because more often than not, the wrongdoing isn’t intended. And on the same note I’ve learned to admit when I’m wrong because no one is perfect.
Have Perspective. When Jackson was first born the nights were endless and the days were nonstop. It was exhausting. There were times in the beginning when he’d cry 30 minutes after we’d just gotten him back down to sleep that I’d wonder if there was a mute button available. I was exhausted and the feeling of being worn down physically was compounded when a baby was screaming in my face. But somewhere along the way I realized it’s all about perspective. Instead of having to wake up at 3am with a crying infant I began to see it as I get to. And just like that the constant wake-ups became not just more bearable but enjoyable. I realized that there will be a day, far too soon, when Jackson won’t need me in the same ways. Where he won’t want to cuddle all the time, when just putting my arms around him won’t instantly soothe him, when I won’t get to see that wonder and innocence in his face on a daily basis. So I’ve stopped taking this time for granted and started to see the good in what was once something I dreaded. Sometimes, it’s all about perspective.
I’ve learned a lot since becoming a mom but what I’ve most taken away from this experience is that the days will keep on passing and it’s truly up to each of us to make the most out of each one of them.