Fumbling towards.

I’m trying to make sense of who I am as a mom. Still.

I don’t really know what this making sense looks like, tastes like, or feels like to wear against the skin of my arms, but I keep trying to reach forward into the realm of mom identities and find something to latch onto.

I’m not the crunchy mom. Not the boss mom. Not the Pinterest/crafty mom. Not the helicopter mom. Not the wine mom. Not the perfect mom. Definitely not the cool mom.

There is nothing wrong with any of these moms, I’m just not them.

In this attempting to make sense of my mom identity, I’m doing something I try hard to not do to anyone else. I’m labeling myself, and admittedly masking it as attempt to try to figure out where I fit. I’m taking a square and pushing it into the round hole of mom identities, and expecting to meet my deliverance.

These walls are too thick.

I guess I could be a wannabe minimalist mom. An RIE mom (on my good days). An obviously plus sized mom. A boring/little too honest mom. Kinda the hot mess mom. A “reads too much and really loves sleep and chocolate” mom.

Or, in any case, the sum of those moms.

But what lies in the lingering and claiming/writing/marinating of such mom identity(s)? Is there sense to uncover? Ease to be found? Will I be less of a foggy mess and more (wiggles fingers *magically*) “with purpose”?

Side note: will blogging in this bloody thing become not be such a forgetful, directionless conquest?

Or in claiming something, anything, on this mothering journey, and trying to fit into it — will it only further lead to my own bewildered, dazzling confusion?

Perhaps this making sense… it is more than a label. More than a type. More than a niche.

Perhaps it is simply settling on where I find myself smiling in this mothering journey, and letting that be the sense and the identity that I need.

I don’t know. But I’m fumbling. It is a peaceful, awkward tumble. I’m reaching towards and casting away. Eventually, I’ll land.

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Educaring? What’s that?

When O was born, I worked on the floor as an ECE (I also did so [exhaustingly] for awhile after he was born, but that’s a story for another day). While pregnant, I deeply nested and dove into my ECE books (I spent a lot of time with this wonderful one), and in doing so, I became grounded in the tenements of RIE.

If you have no idea what RIE is, see here.

If you want to know what RIE means when it come to parenting, see here.

The more I learned about RIE, the more it began to shape the majority of my interactions with the children I worked with. Once O was born, it was my go to. It continues to be to this day. It hasn’t always been easy, and sometimes it asks of me to do things a LOT differently on this parenting journey than what is typical, but it has been SO worth it. D too follows RIE, and while at first I think that was due to my insistence, he has long come into his own with it all.

The bases (at least to me) of RIE lie in respecting, trusting and genuinely hearing the child(ren) in your life. This sounds simple enough, but it asks of you to turn SO many parenting standards directly on their head to really, really follow it through. Your language, actions, intentions and purpose? They all change. Seriously. Think about the process of authentically trusting and respecting a newborn, toddler, etc. Everything modern society is taught to do when parenting goes *exactly* against that, much without realizing it.

How so? I’ll leave that to the “experts” explain. One could first read about RIE through Magda Gerber. These days, Janet Lansbury is big on the scene with RIE, and she shares a lot of really great resources on how to go about making it a reality in your home and/or child care. Lisa Sunbury talks about it a lot, too.

(Note: I know that in the topic of respectful caregiving/parenting as a whole, there are a LOT more resources than these two, and it’s also called a lot more things now, too (i.e., Resptecful Parenting). Janet and Lisa were just my fallbacks as I learned, initially struggled with and came to strongly find my footing with RIE.)

I bring up the topic of RIE, as it matters immensely in my journey of being a parent. I’m not here to preach about it. I’m terrible at writing in this blog, so I likely won’t write about it, either. I rather wish for it to be known that in what I do post in this life, be it personally or here, RIE is the direction from which I’m/we’re working. It’s important, and it matters. RIE might not always make sense to you or perhaps seem a bit peculiar to you, and that’s okay. For our family, it works. Remarkably so.

And, if you’re curious, RIE might work for your family too! Let me know if you’d like to know more.

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Every Child Matters.

I didn’t learn about residential schools until 2011. Having went to high school in the states, it was never covered in the curriculum (nor are there enough mentions of the atrocities committed against the Indigenous people there, but that’s a story for a different day). It was unsettling to have my picture perfect image of peaceful and kind Canada disrupted in such a way at the age of 27. Even more so by first finding out about them in a class of fellow college students, all younger than me, who were talking about the crimes of the residential schools like common knowledge. Wait, what?!⁣⁣
But in learning about it, I learned how to be different. I learned how to better understand the systematic racism that prevents people of the First Nations of being able to do and simply be. I learned how to check my own ways of thinking, and how the world (and sometimes myself) can be so quick to Other something based off of unfounded fears and assumptions. I also learned how to ask better of the people around me, and to not be afraid to call them on bullshit that does nothing but further divide us. Not just for myself, but for children in this world that deserve so, so much more.⁣⁣

My coworker and I wore these shirts today. On the way out of work we were stopped by a teenager. Our office is rented through the Burnaby Neighbourhood House, and it runs lots of community programs for people of various cultures and circumstances, etc. The teenager asked my coworker what our shirts meant. Having seen them earlier in school that day worn by his fellow peers, he didn’t know what they represented, and wanted to know more.

I too still have a lot to learn. Too many of us do. #orangeshirtday day is just a step of many that need to come next in terms of truth and reconciliation. One that I will soon took with my son. It’s a step I’ll be proud to take.

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This is what I know.

For the past five or so days I’ve been on a massive cleaning, purging, MAKE IT LOOK GOOD frenzy. It was brought on by some other changes going on in my life, changes that are going to give me more time to invest love into our home, and this endeavour of organizational overhaul was seemingly the best place to start.

(Can I just say that organizing does my brain better than ANY therapy, religion or mindfulness could ever dare hope to? It’s good. So freakin’ good. Like thrillingly good. ANYWAYS.)

As I’ve been tossing, donating, giving away, straightening, fixing, redecorating, focusing on what matters, etc., I’ve had time to think. Time to dwell. Time to ponder and ruminate.

And I’ve come to this conclusion, a conclusion in answer to my last post… if I wish to write (which I do), and have it be from a lived experience, then isn’t the answer simply to write what I *do* know?

And what is it that I know, anyways?

So, to begin (and perhaps one day end…):

I know what it is to be a mom and feel like I have absolutely no freakin’ idea what I’m doing, but, amazingly, things seemingly work out okay and my kid loves my anyways (*pats self on back*) – even if I genuinely have NO idea how.

I know what it is to be on the receiving side of the toxic realm of mommy shaming in this world we live in, and how inexcusable, hurtful and NOT necessary it is, and that I so very much want to spread LOVE to make all the moms I know feel worthy and good enough – ‘cause I don’t always feel that way myself.

I know what it is to be a mom of a child with special needs/special rights, who asks of the world differently than what it’s able to typically give, and the tears and the struggles and the JOYS that come with such an identity of nurturing.

I know what it is to mentally struggle as a mom, and to struggle deeply, bearing fourth my vulnerabilities to the therapists and close friends in my world, always hoping my story gets better… or helps another know that the light isn’t always so dark.

I know what it is as a mom and wife to be blindsided by the addition of a baby and now toddler, and how it forever changes one’s marriage, and how HARD that can often be to help kindle, heal and give it the attention that it needs.

I know what it is to be a mom without a village, or without a real and *present* network of support (except Tina, god bless that woman), and how “without” that can make one feel, and sometimes less than – and the startling realization of being able to physically count on so few.

I know what it is to become a mom at an older age than some, and the shock of a system it can still be at times to put on mommy shoes when for so, so long that was never, ever the case – and the at times *incredibly* trying adjustment it can be to shift into a mothering state of mind.

I know what it is to be a somewhat “new to being a mom” in this very digital world of Facebook mom groups, mom blogs, “overly eager advice sharing people with a keyboard”, and the trials, triumphs and tribulations that have so far come with parenting in a (perhaps too) technological rich realm of information/misinformation.

I know what it is as a mom to want to embrace said technology, but only giving teeny tiny little bits of it at a time to my child, deeply afraid of it being harmful to his growing brain or becoming unstoppable – as technology in my life past was want to do.

I know what it is to be a mom that is guided deeply by the tenements of trust and respect for my child, even when he’s doing what a two year old often does, and how I refuse to shush or distract him from what he’s feeling/going through for the sake of an easier road – even if an easier road sometimes would be much, much easy to bare.

I know what it is to be a mom who is bigger than most, who looks different than others, and who doesn’t always love her body – even if my kid ADORES it, tummy and all (which boggles my dang mind).

And as all moms do, I know what it is to sacrifice. To give up sleep, food, my own needs and my own wants, all for a child who is rested, full, healthy and happy. How he gets there, I’m not so sure, but I’m seemingly doing *something* right.

This is what I know.

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Trust him.

Respect him. ⁣

Observe him. ⁣

Listen to him. ⁣

Ceremoniously slow. ⁣

Wait. ⁣

Breathe. ⁣

Soften. ⁣

He’s not giving you a hard time, he’s having a hard time. ⁣

We are on the same team. ⁣

Don’t react, respond. ⁣

He’s only little once. ⁣

Remember how old he is. ⁣

Do with, as opposed to do to. ⁣

You are here to help, not make it worse. ⁣

You do have time for this. ⁣

This is what matters. ⁣

Set limits early. ⁣

When you know better, you can do better. ⁣

This is an opportunity to connect. ⁣

What need is he communicating?⁣

Where is he coming from?⁣

Talk aloud what’s happened.⁣

This is not an emergency. ⁣

I am where I need to be. ⁣

This is age appropriate. ⁣

Treat him how you’d like to be treated. ⁣

Share your calm, don’t join the chaos. ⁣

Acknowledge the inner delight. ⁣

See the effort, voice the effort. ⁣

Be consistent. ⁣

It’s not personal. ⁣

I am here. ⁣

I hear you. ⁣

Your words today will become his inner voice tomorrow. ⁣

He’s doing his best. ⁣

Hours are long, but the years are short. ⁣

It’s harder for him than it is for me. ⁣

Let feelings be, they don’t belong to me. ⁣

Be who you want him to be.

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