Don't take it personally

I have to learn not to take things so personally. I guess I'm in a fragile emotional state given my incredible lack of sleep, my overwhelming need to be the perfect mom (knowing full well that my standard is utterly unattainable), and just the general everyday chaos of my current life with three preemie little girls. Don't take this the wrong way - I am THRILLED with my girls and each day when I see that true, pure love beaming from their smiles when they see me I am reminded why I don't sleep and I love it! But, I am so easily put on the defensive by some people. Which brings me to another point that I have to learn to deal with a little better - Richard and I are surrounded by people who are all telling us what to do and how to do it for our kids. We have a feeding therapist, a physical therapist, a teacher of the deaf, two home nurses, a pediatrician, a pulmanologist, a GI doc, an ENT doc, an audiologist, a urologist, a cardiologist, an opthamologist, a couple of respiratory therapists, a few case managers, a few parent advisors...and everyone of course has their opinions on how we should be doing things for these girls. Now granted, most of these specialists are teaching us things that we don't know about the specific needs of our girls and their expertise is welcome. Some are merely guiding us towards resources to make our own decisions - but some....oh there are some who just get under my skin.

On days that I know I'll see them, I say "okay I'm not going to let them get to me...but then they say something in a way that just makes me want to scream!" I just think to myself "I know my daughters better than you do, how can you begin to think that you know what to tell me?" Or they tell me that they took care of a baby just like Zoe and that baby did such and such or so and so and that's what we should do...and all I can think is "This is my baby and she is not like any other baby, every baby is different." I don't know why I take this so personally and I am trying so hard to think back to my book "The Four Agreements" by Don Miguel Ruiz that my good friends in Charleston gave me and one of those agreements is: "Don't Take Anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering."

Each night I pray for strength, I pray for patience, I pray for the health and growth of my babies, and I pray for the continued loving bond with my amazing husband that is getting us through this time. We love it and we love our girls but it is by far the hardest thing I've ever done and it seems like you only get one shot to make it right. I mean I don't want my girls to blame me for everything that's wrong in their lives when they get older - I don't want anything to ever be wrong, EVER in their lives. But I will have moments of complete and total frustration - mostly beget by exhaustion where I have to take my deep breaths and step back.

Goodness, not writing for a couple weeks just has me spilling out and a little on the disorganized front. I guess I haven't spilled in quite a while so here I am - opening my heart for everyone to read. This being a parent - being responsible for the lives of your children, for being the two people that they must be able to trust the most in life that they will learn about life from, whose opinions about the world around them will be formed through their life experiences that are created by us...the enormity of this job is overwhelming and takes my breath away. I am generally a perfectionist by nature and I want to be the perfect mom. Being a mom of triplets kind of makes you have to give that perfection thing up - the house will never be perfect again, the kitchen will probably never be completely clean and tidy again, the laundry will never get under control, my to-do list will never be completed, and I will never be able to be in three places at one time. As one MOM said to me - "fair isn't always equal" especially when your kids have varying degress of medical, emotional, and developmental needs.

The other thing I have to give up right now is guilt. A MOM told me that guilt is a very unproductive emotion. I have to add to this feeling inadequate as well. Which kind of couples with guilt pretty easily, and man am I good at it. I feel guilty that the nurse is primarily taking care of Zoe while I'm caring for Lily and Avery. I feel guilty that I don't have dinner ready that I haven't even considered cooking when Richard works hard all day and helps me at night with the girls and deserves a good meal. I feel guilty that my clients have not gotten the best organized, efficient Keira for their project. I feel guilty that I didn't even give my husband his anniversary card until last night ( a good three weeks after our anniversary). I feel guilty that our poor dog who was our first baby hardly gets petted. I feel inadequate when I'm scrambling to do my "homework" the day before Zoe's lesson at The School. I feel inadequate that I can't keep the dishes and the laundry under control, even with the enormous amount of help I have at home and then I feel guilty knowing there are other MOMs out there who don't have the help we have or who are even single MOMs doing this without a spouse. I feel guilty when all I want to do is crawl under the covers and stay there for a couple of days.

I mean two years ago, all I wanted was to be pregnant. Then last year, all I wanted was to have a healthy pregnancy, then to have my girls come home, no matter what difficulties they may face...and here I am wanting to just pass them off to a Grandma so I can sleep - how can I do that? But I have to. I have to go back to when they were in the hospital and everyone said "take care of yourself, you can't be the best mom for your babies if you aren't taking care of yourself". And why is that so hard? Why is it so hard to eat three decent meals and drink water instead of caffeine? Just the simple things are hard to do...and then guess what happens? Yep, that guilt thing again...that I can't even drink water, what kind of mother am I? Ridiculously silly isn't it? But you know what guilt and inadequate feelings are? They are actually the cowardly way to deal with difficult situations, it is so much easier to wallow in negative emotions than to face the difficulties and deal with them in a productive manner. To exert energy to create a plan and follow it...that's a lot harder than saying "poor me, I haven't slept in two months." I've learned this from my pillar of strength - my adoring husband.

I do think I'm becoming a stronger perosn - I have to. I have three little girls who are watching my every move every waking moment of their days. My new mantra must be just that "My girls are watching...what do I want to show them today?" I don't want to shield them from real life, we won't raise them in a bubble as much as we may want to...but we can show them love and confidence and self-worth and courage. Together...not alone...but together Richard and I are responsible for creating the world that they see and they live in. They are always watching...what will we show them today?"

1 comment:

The Sioux Falls Phoenix said...

I am a blogger that just happened upon your blog. I would so like to hug you and tell you that you are doing great. When my children are small, I would get advice from everyone. With my first, I took so much of it. With my second, I became defensive. I wanted to raise this child with by instinct. My second is a night and day difference from my first. I went with my gut and he is so much more confident and secure. My heart cries for my first whom I wish I could start over with. So, more advice to you: Follow your instincts and you will be the best mom you can be for your three precious girls. Being selfish now for wanting sleep is so much better than being resentful later - as hard and as unspeakable as it may sound, when you haven't had enough rest, it is easy to villify the little innocents. You go girl! I don't know you, but you have touched me in your story and brought me back to that time in my life... Go with your gut! You have a beautiful family!

All time favorite video of Zoe!

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Bible verses that comfort me

"Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord."
~ 2 Corinthians 5:8

"Let the children come to me. Don't stop them! For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children....Then he took the children in his arms and placed his hands on their heads and blessed them"
~ Mark10:14 & 10:16

"...those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint"~ Isaiah40:31