I don’t know about you, but when my oldest was born I was terrified. I’m the youngest of five kids, I never babysat and I definitely didn’t know what to do with my hands- let alone how to change a diaper. At the time, husband took over the bulk of diaper changes while I learned to nurse and ineffectively swaddle. At the time Kid was born, husband was a full time student and working a couple part time jobs. I was very fortunate for the amount of time he was home to help me figure out the parenting life, well, that is until he was tasked with a short notice deployment. Kid was just turning five months old, three dogs, two cats and at the time a sugar glider, and I was going to learn quickly how to maintain everyone, my job, the house, and the snowplow for the driveway because what deployment doesn’t happen in the middle of winter?
In many ways, I’m thankful for that first deployment. Do I wish husband didn’t miss Christmas? Absolutely. Do I hope he never has to leave again? Absolutely. However, it’s the nature of our lifestyle. We both leave for trainings, temporary work assignments, and unfortunately deployments. We adapt and make the best of whatever situation is thrown our way. That is why I’m thankful for those three months I was on “my own”. I say that with quotations because family and friends, “my village” was a powerful support system for me while he was gone. Not because they did everything for me, but if I needed help with anything there was always someone to call- like AAA when I took the plow truck off the driveway. I learned a lot about myself in those three months, played a lot with my amazing daughter, enjoyed time with the dogs, and kept the house clean without managing husband’s laundry.
It’s learning those life lessons that made future trips manageable. Fast forward to having two kids, while husband left for six weeks of training. Oh man was that a learning curve, mostly because I took the kids out for more experiences. I saw a picture the other day of my first real outing with both kids after he left for school. We went to a a local Maple Sugar business for their open house, it was amazing! I laughed and showed husband the picture because I had New Kid (6 month-old) front carried and Kid (2.5 year-old) needed to potty. I had to help Kid use a big public bathroom while carrying New Kid. It was a sight, that’s for sure. It was a great experience though. Small wins like that help build my mom confidence, aka Mom-Fidence.
Similarly, any health related incident builds that Mom-Fidence a little more. Spend enough time researching ailments, making doctors calls, asking questions and you get to know what’s concerning and what might be another weird “normal” condition (like eczema). For example, the other day my daughter was washing her hands and broke down crying. I looked at it, did the usual discussion with husband: when did you notice it, what did it look like, has she touched anything new, has she eaten anything new, all the usual questions. Then, I tried to talk to her and ask what it felt like. Has anyone gotten any useful information from a 3-year-old on what something feels like, other than “it hurts”? Me either. Well, I put some Cortisone cream on (she said it itched), and I gave her some kids Benadryl. At the same time, I had sent the picture to my sister-in-law as a “this is what I’m dealing with tonight”, and she happened to show her husband who is finishing he’s years and years of doctorship. Apparently he would have recommended the Benadryl too!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not always right. In fact, I’m probably wrong more times than I can common core count. It’s a fun on-going debate with husband on who’s parenting ways are better for the kids. I don’t think anyone is ever really correct. We’re all just trying to figure out “the next right step”. Well done if you picked up on the reference. We take our experiences, ask questions, do our research and make a choice that we hope will keep our kids from hating us in ten years. Everything happens for a reason, and I think as long as we show our kids we love them we’ll get through those minor bumps, bruises, scrapes, and rashes together with a new and improved Mom-Fidence.