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the mommyhood memos: who's growth spurt is it anyway?

Saturday, July 17, 2010

who's growth spurt is it anyway?

Growth. Spurt.

No thank you.
                    
And… yes please.

Any mom who’s successfully navigated one of their little one’s growth spurts knows how dreaded these beasts are: the fussiness, the constant feeding (including the wild protests when—gasp—there’s no milk left in there!), the all-over-the-place nap times, the crib parties at 8pm, 10pm, midnight, 2am, 4am… you get the picture.

{No thank you.}

And yet these same growth spurts are exactly what we want to see: our little one growing strong and healthy, gaining weight, acquiring balance, learning new tricks.

{Yes please.}

Levi recently finished another growth spurt. Whoever said they come at four weeks, eight weeks, four months, and six months certainly forgot to inform my son. In this house it feels like as soon as we’re out of one, another one begins. (Does anyone else seem to have these things monthly??) And I’ve also read that they usually last about two days. Again… make that four to six days in this happy little home.

Growth spurts have caused me to do a whole range of things from questioning my supply to acquiring rug burns on my knees as I ask God for mercy. I’ve pumped like crazy, and gone days on end with what any sane person would call “catnaps” through the nights. I’ve cried. I’ve laughed. I’ve gotten angry. I’ve gotten silly tired. I’ve been confused. And I’ve asked my husband a thousand times, “this is normal, right?”

This last growth spurt was a doozy. It came at about five months and one week… and stayed for daaaaays. We had almost an entire week of being up six or seven times a night… on a good night. I was frazzled and seriously ready to hire a nanny and go back to “work” (which, in fact, was sounding more and more like a holiday). There were lots of tears... from both of us.

And then I realized the real reason the growth spurt was so painful: Levi wasn’t the only one growing.

Yes, my son was stacking on the pounds – I’m sure of it. He was eating more and growing like crazy right before my eyes. He was forcing me to—yet again—swap over his clothes, putting some away for good and pulling out bigger sizes. {tear} He was indeed having a growth spurt.

But the real reason it felt so painful was much more personal: I, too, was having a growth spurt.

Through the constant feeding, the sleep deprivation, the questions reeling around my first-time-mommy brain… I had to (again) make the choice to be second in line. I had to (again) set aside my preferences and to give up my personal rights. {Free time? What’s that?! Sleep? Huh?! Energy? Where'd it go?!} I had to put someone else’s needs ahead of my own.

Of course I like to think I’ve done this before… and really, I have. But any parent will tell you that doing it in your role as mommy (or daddy) will take you to a much deeper level of sacrifice than you’ve ever known before. I never understood—never could understand—it on this level until now.

{So this is what it means to “grow up”?}

I don’t know how many times in that week that I moaned and complained (even if it was sometimes just under my breath). I’m not sure how many times I felt sorry for myself and wanted to swap places with my husband or my working-mom friends. I don’t know how many times I fantasized about a weekend away—completely alone—with just a stack of books and a huge bed with lots of blankets and pillows… and room service.

And I don’t know how many times the thought crossed my mind that I really am selfish.

Selfish. Ugh, such an ugly word… such an ugly attitude.

Yes, baby growth spurts are hard (and yeah, they definitely get cranky… making momma cranky), but in the grand scheme of things they are just a few tough days packed in between a whole lot of good ones.

But my growth spurt… I was being stretched! I was—I am—growing, changing, learning even more how to be selfless, flexible, adaptable, giving. I don’t think I was a horrible person before becoming a mother, and yet in doing so I have seen that I also had a lot of character flaws still to be worked out in my life. {God help me!}

I’m being refined as a woman like never before. I’m stepping up to the plate when I’d rather just sit the round out. I’m facing my fears and insecurities and anxieties (that I didn’t even realize I had) with a new resolve and boldness.

I'm still making mistakes, still having hard days... but more and more I'm also finding peace in the chaos.


I’m growing up.

So, as Levi eats more to sustain his growth and take him to the next level, so do I. It’s just that my “eating” looks a little different. My “food” is prayer, breathing deeply, talking the challenges through, making time to think and reflect, taking things in stride, being deliberate about “rolling with it”, choosing humility and sacrifice, and choosing to become a better woman.

We are both growing.

Painful? Absolutely. {Ugh, no thank you.}

Productive and healthy and necessary and good? Most definitely. {Yes... yes please.}

Dear mommy friends, what are your biggest challenges as you're being stretched to become a "bigger" woman? In what ways do you feel motherhood has caused you to "grow up"?



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11 Comments:

At July 17, 2010 at 12:50 AM , Blogger Jhen.Stark said...

Nail on the head... AGAIN! Over and over again I'm asking mu hubby "am I doing this right? Joss must be the ONLY baby in the world who doesn't sleep through the night!" But its comforting to know I'm not the only one, slamming the sheets over (secretly wishing my hubby will get up and decided to do it for me) and stomping out of bed because she's wide awake again and some how her play time in the crib turned into a bumped head and screaming tears. Err... those growth spurt side effects... but growing with Joss is a beautiful journey, I wouldn't have it any other way (ok, maybe a few more hours of sleep).

 
At July 17, 2010 at 1:06 AM , Blogger It's a beautiful life! said...

Oh you took the words right out of my mouth! Thank you for this post!! I swear my 5 month old goes through 'growth spurts' every other week! The whole month of June, maybe. But you're so right, these are the things we want to see- our little babies growing and learning! Through it all, I feel so blessed to be able to witness it all!

 
At July 17, 2010 at 2:18 AM , Blogger Asashia said...

I was certainly waiting for this! You explained it perfectly---the ups and downs and the self-reflection are what make us great parents. We have the opportunity to learn about ourselves while caring for our children. I too had to learn that raising a child definitely puts what you want and need into perspective. Thankfully this blessing of a child shows me daily what it means to sacrifice and receive unconditional love in return.

 
At July 17, 2010 at 3:35 AM , Blogger Dawn said...

Oh My Goodness! Thank you for this!

Vanessa is 7 weeks old and Seriously I feel like I have been up with her since she was 3 weeks old. Growth spurt lasting a few days my ass! Someone didnt live in my house with my kid! Throw me a bone already!

And I agree, when one ends, another begins! And I too question my body's ability to keep up with her. Drives me nuts.

So again, thank you for this!! I needed to read that I am not alone!

 
At July 17, 2010 at 4:11 AM , Blogger Aspiring Napper said...

Motherhood DEF stretches you.

I was TERRIFIED the closer it came to delivery because I knew there was no running away from the responsibilities of parenthood. And I'm not talking about the obvious-- caring for a baby. I mean the fact that I would no longer have the luxury of running from myself, staying within my comfort zone and NOT facing my deepest terrors.

Almost a year into it, I can't believe how well I'm doing! Hahaha! Of course, I take it one day at a time. There's a certain zen-like comfort in taking care of Baby's needs. The day to day rigors keep me from over-thinking and over-analyzing... I don't have the TIME to even contemplate the fears and anxieties I used to have.

I have grown so much as a person since becoming a mother. I'm much more creative and courageous.

 
At July 17, 2010 at 6:42 AM , Blogger HRH Mommy said...

You nailed it Adriel! You are so right! I remember the trying times we had with both boys when they were around 3 months old. both of them struggled with their digestive tracts around that age and it made for so many crying (make that: screaming) spells resulting from food, gas, and pains. there was nothing that could be done, except them "growing out of it". I remember with Kai, constantly wondering what "i was doing wrong", or what "I could do differently". At the end I learned that some things you just don't have control over as a mom. All you can do is let your kids ride the ride and hold their hand (or hold them / cuddle them - in other words: be there for them).

And that doesn't change. As they get older, the problems will change, but there will always be situations that you cannot fix as the mom, no matter how much you want to. All you can do is 'just' be there for them.

Having gone through all that with 1 baby, you would think that the 2nd one would be easier. It is never 'easier' to see your 2nd one in similar pains and discomforts, just because you made it through all that with #1. It simply is not. However, you do remember that you went through that before and that you made it through. That helps and soothes mommy.

When it comes to my sanity: my husband and I have an arrangement that I take a 2-hour block every week that is for me. I don't want to be around the house / the kids, I want to be by myself, or with a girl friend. No responsibility of "where is the toddler running towards?" or "why is the baby crying?" Just 2 hours for ME, after a week of mommy-ing, I deserve that. I highly recommend it. it saves my sanity.

Finally, I have launched a new initiative (Friday Faves) on my blog and would love your thoughts / feedback. When you have a chance, check it out at:

http://mformommy.blogspot.com/2010/07/m-for-mommy-presents-friday-faves.html

 
At July 17, 2010 at 7:41 AM , Blogger flyrish said...

Oh yes. Exactly. I remember the early growth spurt days, and they still happen at 18 months (to both of us). But now I feel better equipped to just roll with it. On most days. I think that's what people mean when they tell you it will get better. It's not that kids become easier-- there are always new challenges-- it's just that you become more adept at handling things.

And I second HRH Mommy. Taking some time out just for you is so so important for your sanity and for being a better mama. But I'm sure you already know that. :)

 
At July 17, 2010 at 8:18 AM , Blogger Shawntae said...

Thanks for doing a shout out about my blog. I got that outfit from Target. I don't know if they have them over there though haha.

I can't believe how big your little man is getting.

Its so sad isn't it? It goes by so so fast!! I just want to freeze time somedays.

 
At July 17, 2010 at 10:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow Adriel! You are a great writer! So easy to read and so real and expressive. I can't say how glad I am not to have little infants anymore. I relax so much more in a different way since my youngest turned 1 or 1 and a half I suppose. It's wonderful when they grow...God continue to bless you with patience and strength!

Naomi

 
At July 17, 2010 at 12:23 PM , Blogger Cameron said...

For me this meant taking a more specific & needed look at some long-time family issues. I posted about this before, but I started going to a counselor shortly after Isis was born to work through some stuff. Then - amazingly if you know my family - my parents started going with me. It's been really hard & something I should have done years ago, but becoming a mother & being responsible for teaching this child about family & honesty & grace has meant taking some hard looks at my own issues & the issues of others that affect me on a daily basis.

It's not easy. But in this, and many other ways, Isis has already taught me to learn & grow in ways I never expected.

 
At July 18, 2010 at 3:36 AM , Blogger Mandy said...

You are so right about growth spurts!! hee hee Your little Levi is such a cutie too! I'm so glad you found me on Mom Bloggers Club! I look forward to reading more! :)

 

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