The New Year is often a time to get a fresh start and set goals for the year. As we come to the end of the year, I hope you will take a moment to reflect on your life and set goals for the New Year. As a mom and especially the mom of a high need baby, your needs often come in last place. You get more than your fair share of the baby care, clean up, medication duty and sleep deprivation. It is easy to let go of your needs and goals and just get through the next hour or the long, lonely night. You may have glimmers of ideas of your wants and needs and then quickly discard them when you look around at the reality of your life. The work of planning something for yourself is stressful and daunting. You cannot even get the dishes in the dishwasher much less plan an exercise routine or a date with your spouse.
When I was wallowing in the middle of the reflux years, I resolved to do something for myself so I signed up for a cake decorating class at the community college. I knew that I didn’t have the brain power to learn a new language or take a college course. Nor did I have the time to make a commitment to something time consuming like a book club where you had to read an actual book by a deadline. The class was my big night out to learn something new, and get in touch with my inner Martha Stewart.
One night I fed Rebecca just before it was time to go to class. As I was burping her, she vomited all over herself, the couch and the floor. I looked at my watch and announced to Daddy that I had to go to class right away. I picked up Rebecca and handed her off and shot out the door. I was alone in the car and in a room for adults for two whole hours. Both were rare occurrences in my life at the time. So rare in fact that I would usually get half way to class before I realized that I was listening to a Raffi or Sesame Street CD. Clearly I had to train myself to get out of mommy mode!
In class, the teacher would demonstrate a new technique and send the students off to practice on our own cake. While the other mommies/cake decorators in training wallowed in indecisiveness, I rolled up my sleeves and got to work. As they were still trying to decide what color frosting to select and staring at their cakes, I was a whirl of activity. I always finished my cake first and spent the second half of the class chatting and hanging out. The other cake decorators would always comment at how fast I was and how great my cake looked. I just laughed. As I reflux mom, I could multi-task and do chores with one free hand or a kid in a carrier. Dealing with vomiting made my reflexes lightening fast. Sudden illnesses and shopping with three kids under the age of five made my decision making skills sharp and focused.
I hope you will find a way to carve out some time for yourself in the new year. It doesn’t matter what you chose. What matters is that you allow yourself to take a break and do something for yourself.
Published On: December 29, 2006