As magical as motherhood is, there are moments when I find myself knee deep in frustration. Toddlers have impeccable timing, and there are times when I struggle to see things for what they really are. Times when I am so fixated on me that I succumb to frustration or dissatisfaction. Moments when the fact that there are now Cheerios and milk all over the floor when I’m already running late feels like the end of the world, when in reality it’s not. It’s but a mere moment in the trajectory of life. A small hiccup in the collection of moments that make up our days.
Or maybe it’s not a hiccup. Maybe it’s an opportunity for me to relearn a valuable lesson and teach it to my children at the same time.
From time to time, I surprise myself with an ability to see the silver lining in what had the potential to be perceived as something negative. And the more I do it — the more I strive to look at things differently — the more room I have in my heart for the joy that comes forth from mothering.
Here are a few silver linings I’ve come to see along the way:
When you have to leave a restaurant because of a crying baby or fidgety toddler – It’s a chance to bond with your baby. Sure, you were just about to dip your chip in that guacamole and everyone knows the rolls they serve before your meal are the best part. But so are those moments shared with just you and your baby. Moments like soothing a tired infant on a nearby patio bench or smelling flowers outside of the restaurant with your toddler.
When your baby gets hungry and wants to nurse while at a party or family get together – You weren’t necessarily up for a party, but you’ve forced yourself to get dressed and even put on some mascara. You’re making the most of it but you’re starting to wish that you stayed home. Because small talk is not your forte and if another person tells you to (insert well meaning unconsolidated advice) when it comes to your baby you’re likely to scream. A hungry baby is a way out of awkward social situations. At the same time, you’ve got company too. Hooray for always having a date!
Late night feeding sessions – Now is your chance to check out that new series everyone’s raving about on Netflix. Even better, you get to give your baby your undivided attention, since it is likely no one else is awake and competing for it.
Tantrums – Tantrums and major crying sessions are a chance to help you reinforce to your little one that you are going to meet their needs and that you will be there to help them through the tough stuff (because at two, it’s all tough stuff). They also keep us humble, reminding us that no matter how great our parenting skills are, every toddler has their day. Every mom does too. And if that wasn’t enough, if the tantrum occurs in the store, think of all the money you’ll save as you hightail it out of there.
Your toddler asking for your food – Every time I sit down to eat there’s a little voice beside me saying, “I want some.” And if anything, it sure prevents me from overeating…or eating at all.
Wearing the same outfit over and over – I’ve worn the same pants every day this week. And there are a few shirts that are in heavy rotation these days. Sometimes I feel slightly embarrassed that I’ve always got the same outfit on but think of all the money I’m saving on detergent. Plus little time is wasted in the morning trying to figure out what to wear.
A picky eater – So your little one is a picky eater and that can be totally frustrating. But on the bright side there’s no guesswork involved when trying to come up with meals for the week.
Naptime boycotter – Have a toddler who just won’t nap? Well, you’ve also got some great company for the afternoon. Enjoy those cuddles, because by the time your toddler morphs into a tween, you’ll be reminiscing about the good old days.
Food everywhere! – So the spaghetti bypassed your baby’s belly and instead it’s in their hair. Bathtime! Which also happens to be bonding time for my little one and me. I love watching her splash and play in the tub and especially love snuggling with a squeaky clean babe. And if this occurs while we are out and about — at least she’s getting plenty of use out of those cute little clothes before she out grows them, right?
Forgot the diaper bag – 1. You could go back home, which works out because (while you didn’t tell your husband) you forgot your phone, sweater and wallet. Or 2. You get to stop at Target to grab the essentials you forgot and maybe a few other things you didn’t realize you needed until you started pushing that bright red cart (that store gets me every time).
Your little one is sick – Seeing our little ones sick makes our hearts ache but I find myself grateful to be able to comfort my child when she isn’t feeling good. Plus a sick day gives us a great reason to stay in bed cuddling and watching Disney movies.
Lost your little one’s shoe/favorite toy/binky – Hey, you didn’t lose your baby! Those things can all be replaced (note to self: always buy at least two of your baby’s favorite toy just in case). You held on tightly to what was most important and that’s what matters.
There’s always a bright side, mamas. Sometimes we just have to look a little harder to see it, but it’s there. Most often it’s in our babies’ smiles, but it’s likely interwoven in those trying moments too. May we always find our silver linings.
What are some of the silver linings you’ve found in motherhood?