By: Brooke Takhar
Love. Four little letters.
February is the Hallmark-designated month of love.
Love. Four little letters that can be copied and pasted in so many ways. Some people love their cats as much as I love Salted Caramel Earnest ice cream. Some couples, who have woken up, nose to nose, breathing in each other’s salty breaths for decades, love each other in a way my brain can’t even grasp.
The Feeling that Arcs its Way up my Spine
Sometimes on any given day I love (in equal measures): the Internet, the first hot spatters of fresh coffee hitting the bottom of the pot, the smell that wafts out of the bathroom after my Husband has showered, and the feeling that arcs its way up my spine when I hit Publish on a blog post I think is particularly and cruelly fun.
I love so much. Stuff and things and people and moments and scenes and tastes and sounds and memories of all of the above.
You have found your love target.
But when you have a kid, THAT is when all the books say, NOW, you have found your love target. Forget everything else – this chicken-legged, fuzzy-eared, fully-formed flesh of your loins is the new black and you’d better be ready to swipe your heart clean.
Three years in I’m here to tell you that the love for your child is pure. Purely and intensely ridiculous, and riddled with heaping tablespoons of guilt, anger, frustration, happiness, confusion and unease. This love will pull you down the deepest darkest paths of your brain into tiny caves where you claw the walls until you can’t breathe.
Floating Carafes of Wine and Infinite Naps
This exact same love will make you feel like the whole world is looking at you, then slowly clapping and raising you high on their shoulders as you tumble down a human stream of awe and end up dunked into a warm lake with floating carafes of wine and infinite naps.
Don’t give up or give in
The key to balancing this love, and making sure it doesn’t deplete in the darkness, is not giving up or giving in. Every Mama must make time for themselves and be (insert your name here) and not “MOOOOOOOOOOMMMMM” (insert wide open, screaming, wet mouth with food tumbling out).
This means you will have to ship the kid off occasionally. You need to miss them a little bit. That makes the love a little more concentrated and pungent.
But be gorgeously selfish
Once the kid is safely being spoiled somewhere fun, now it’s your turn to be gorgeously selfish. Stay invested in the lives of your friends, and TV show characters you love like they’re your friends. Smear some of the love from your one palette over to your husband who is patiently waiting for when the kid goes to college and he can have you back all to himself.
The very best parenting that I do, the moments that I know my daughter will remember most, is after I have caught my breath.. My love has been topped up and my energy and patience feel renewed and really fresh.
Love in. Love out.
I love her all the time; I can’t help myself. But I love her best when I make time for me and all the rest of the things in this life that make me happy. Love in, love out. The breaths, the moments, the time slipping away – I love and I love me and I love her, and that is my tried and true, delicious and satisfying, recipe for love.
Brooke Takhar is a mama of one monkey, based out of Vancouver, BC. She blogs about the trials and triumphs of parenting at missteenussr.com. When she’s not obsessing about her lack of DIY skills and exotic face creams, she shares her life and loves via Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.
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Thank you so much for putting it into words so eloquently. It’s something I’ve felt judged for. I am a better mother when I have taken even a small amount of time to care for myself. If I constantly give and output and never rest and recuperate, I make for a lousy wife and mother.
Awe, so nice! Beautiful post
It’s so true that the love is sweeter and more concentrated after a bit of missing. Being newly back to work and having jumped in with both feet I am doing a lot of missing right now, nothing like the end of a long day and coming home to 2 giggly, squishy munchkins who only have eyes and love for you.
We have friends who babysit once a year for us. Otherwise we don’t have family nearby or babysitting budget. I know a lot of BC families have the same tight situation. When your children are old enough, Ikea’s play area makes for a bit of a date night. (You can buy wine in their restaurant!) Now that my children are in preschool a few hours, three days a week, this provide a little me time too. While it’s not as a couple, I also found that leaving my twins with my husband when they were a little older – during dinner time and the evening – was the best time to leave the house. Then he just had to look after dinner and bedtime routine. I thought I’d mention this in case there are other moms out there who are thinking “me time alone is not possible”.
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