It was seven months into my second pregnancy when I chose moments to surrender.
It occurred one evening when I was feeling quite ill, achy, irritated, and hormonal.
My second pregnancy had been much more difficult than my first, and although it was healthy and could have been much worst, running after my two-year-old while pregnant was something I still do not have a proper comparison for, but I will try:
A marshmallow man trying to put out fires for hours on end, a penguin chasing a gazelle, a blob of slime being asked to transform into an energetic princess. .. okay, you get the idea.
I was always on my son. If he was throwing blocks, I told him to stop, if he was drawing on his hands, I redirected him, if he was emptying his toy box, I was right behind him telling him to clean up.
I was on it: always.
And then this one evening my son climbed up on his chair and began throwing Christmas cards on the floor.
I had just finally lain down on the couch and getting up was becoming quite a chore.
I looked at him and was about to get up to stop him; but instead, I didn’t.
I didn’t say one word. I didn’t attempt to interject. I just lay there…motionless and ignored him.
You heard me right. This was a moment, keyword: moment–when I chose to surrender.
He wasn’t in danger, he wasn’t hurting anyone, and I didn’t think he would turn into an evil being because I didn’t stop him from throwing cards on the floor.
In fact, he got bored once he noticed I wasn’t paying attention to him and switched gears to build a tower.
And then the next day, when he was outside playing, I let him step into his wet sandbox—shoes on and all.
I didn’t run to stop him. I didn’t yell at him. Again, I had a moment of surrender.
He eventually realized the shoes were uncomfortable and requested to go inside and change them.
Now I chose these moments carefully, and mind you, that in those two days there were probably hundreds of moments when I did interject.
It wasn’t like I was letting my kid flail around knives, tip over candles, or eat lightbulbs (all of which I have prevented in the past), but I did let him throw cards and get his shoes wet.
I had a couple moments of surrender, and I feel that this is okay.
Now I know that some may disagree with me. I can hear the comments now, but most probably relate.
I needed a few moments of surrender–now and then–to preserve my sanity.
Like many pregnant mothers with toddlers, I was exhausted, guilt-stricken, and achy.
I was lacking the mobility, patience, and energy that I had before.
Because of this, I admit, I loosened up a bit.
Now I don’t want you thinking that I just let my kid run haywire. Not at all.
I just let go of the idea of perfection.
I let go of being able to correct every little thing.
I began to give my firstborn a little more space.
And instead of viewing this as negative, I viewed the positivity in allowing moments of surrender.
Being pregnant while chasing after my toddler provided me the realization that my firstborn was going to have to figure some stuff out for himself.
I knew that once my second child arrived, there was no way I would be able to be on my first born like I had been for the last two-and-a-half years.
So sometimes when my son was clawing at me and demanding apple juice after I just gave him a full cup of milk, I would tell him, “Sorry, little man, not right now. Mommy needs a little downtime. Now would be a good time for you play with your trains. Give mommy fifteen minutes.”
Sometimes this amount of time was not possible and if my son somehow found the superglue that I did not even know existed, obviously my time was cut short, but after trying this a few times, he soon got the idea, and I ended up getting less peanut butter handprints on my shirt and more time on the couch.
Being pregnant while chasing a toddler also made me realize that daddy needed to step up more. I couldn’t swing my toddler around like I used to, I couldn’t run after him like I used to, and I knew I needed to get some rest before baby #2 arrived.
This is why my husband needed to take on more responsibilities. Two months before my due date, my husband became responsible for all of my son’s wakeups. My toddler was going through a nightmare stage, and I had always been the one who took care of the majority of these nighttime wakes.
I knew from previous experience, that once the new baby arrived, I would be taking care of all of the nighttime wakings for a newborn. This was due to a lot of breastfeeding and the fact that I tend to wake up anyway when I hear a newborn whimper.
So I knew that in a short matter of time, there would be no way I was going to wake up with both of them. Daddy should start preparing now–and he did.
Daddy also received a little less time in the garage and was responsible for more meals. He even took on some laundry. These changes needed to be implemented before the new baby came home, and these changes made a world of difference.
Still, there were a few moments of surrender that had not happened before I was pregnant, but again, these moments were okay.
As you can see from above, these moments of surrender resulted in a few epiphanies and a lot of good.
So the next time you have a moment of surrender, I want you to not beat yourself up. I want you to know that you are amazing. I want you to know that you need a breather every once in a while, and as long as your child is safe and doing no harm, now and then, it’s okay to sit back and let him throw a few cards on the floor. . .
just try to make sure that he picks them up later.
Suggested further reading:
Check out another blog I wrote for peacequarters.com called Why I Was Fearfully Uncertain to Give Birth to my Second Child.