i've been feeling far too busy these days... filling up my days with photo shoots and photo editing. consequently, everything else is suffering. and when those other things suffer {housework, personal projects, personal care, family time, and most importantly, teaching isaac}, i feel that my photography work will, in turn, suffer as well. and then begins the vicious cycle.

so i found myself, recently one night, winding down for bed and thinking how frustrated i am at how the days pass, one by one, and i look back each night and feel like i did not teach him the ways that i wanted to. i'm too rushed and preoccupied. of course, i work hard to make sure i don't forget the important things, like feeding him or putting him down for a nap or giving him his vitamins or keeping him out of harm's way.

but i became burdened with this sense of guilt that i was not measuring up to my own standard of what a mother should be. and then, as if by a quiet, encouraging whisper from above... or perhaps just my own reflection on the things i have learned by watching other moms who i respect and admire, it sort of just hit me. "you have to see every moment as a teachable moment. even when you're playing or just making his peanut butter and jelly sandwich... it's an opportunity to teach him."

i realized that not everything has to be solely task-oriented and -driven. i can teach him life. i can teach him how things work. i can teach him what his tantrum means and why there's a better way. i can teach him where peanuts come from... or why footballs aren't shaped perfectly round like all the other balls he throws... or why it's easier to pull the wagon than it is to push it. {which, by the way, is so cute to watch, i'd almost rather just let him struggle with it.}

i tend to want to just fix things or show him how something should be done when i'm in a hurry... or worse yet, just remove us from the situation altogether, because there's just not time to deal with it. but i realized i want to let him work through things while communicating... to not pass up that opportunity to teach something great or small right then and there.

so i found a renewed encouragement for myself... from myself... "you can do this. this stage is temporary. make the best of it. you don't have to forego teaching just because you are busy. you don't have to let these small moments pass by as mundane just because you have to often squeeze them in in a hurry."

i think maybe sometimes i forget to be a teachable-moments mom, because i forget that he understands a whole lot  more communication than just what he is able to speak and communicate with words from his own lips, which is a ton. {i think he knows how to say between fifty and seventy-five words now... some are clear and some are not. some are a little bit skewed, i.e. milk = guk. others quite accurate. but all are recognizable.}

even if the words i say to him are not yet words he can say, he knows so much of what i am saying and is learning more all the time, and i have to remember that he very much comprehends so much of it, more each day... sometimes, more by the hour.

i should print out some sort of giant reminder sign  to hang on a wall in each room...


then, i might not feel so much pressure need to teach him a whole lot of everything in those big chunks of time that i've got to devote to him. then, i could actually relax and just live and enjoy the moment during those times. i can giggle gobble to my heart's content and know that i had already been teaching him all day long, and this time is special and sacred and only to be reserved for such amusement... unless something teachable comes up again, of course. but not to feel any pressure in that timeframe... like i don't have to catch up to some lofty goal or high standard i had set.

perhaps at one point, this will come more naturally, teaching in all things... a skill you learn and perfect over time as a mama. but right now, i am finding i have to be so intentional about it. but i like the challenge. i'm up for it, i AM.

and i'm pretty sure my little sponge-of-a-toddler is, too.


beth said...

there is not a day that goes by that a stay at home mom isn't teaching her children something.....

{this does mean that working moms aren't' teaching, too}

YOU are enough in that department !!!

and when the day comes that isaac moves out and into his own place and lives on his own, you will look back and still wonder, "did i teach him everything" and the answer will be "yes, you did" even if you feel like you didn't....

you are his everything right now....you and the world and of course brac....and that is enough !!!


georgia b. said...

thanks, beth.