10 Lessons Motherhood Has Taught Me
Discipline isn't about punishment. It's about teaching and guidance - regardless of age. I refrain saying ‘no’ to Giane whenever she eats her toys or do things which she is not supposed to. If we are constantly saying no, we are sending a message that the world is off-limits.Discipline isn't about punishment. It's about teaching and guidance - regardless of age. I refrain saying ‘no’ to Giane whenever she eats her toys or do things which she is not supposed to. If we are constantly saying no, we are sending a message that the world is off-limits.
Credits By: Grace Acla
In celebration of Universal Children’s Day, Souqpinoy asked the first-time mom about what she thanks her daughter for. Let’s get to know Baby Giane through her loving mom, Grace. I am a first-time Mommy. I prepared a lot for motherhood but nothing prepared me fully—in fact, it’s part of the process to learn as I go. The reality is different than what I have imagined – more beautiful, more exciting, more challenging and more fulfilling life. Giane and I survived long nights, clogged ducts, milk-supply descents, sicknesses, teething, no pacifier, cloth nappies and toilet ‘accidents’ and trial-and-error moments. Nothing has prepared me for how much my life could really change. I am now fully responsible for another human being and almost no aspect of my life is the same. Being an OFW mom (or being a mom in general), motherhood brings out the best and sometimes worst in me. As they say, “while we teach our children about life, they teach us what life is all about”. With a little bit better perspective on motherhood – I want to share with you the lessons motherhood has taught me (or trying to teach me):
- Remember, our baby is an individual. Stop comparing your babies with others. Our baby is unique. Babies vary widely when it comes to meeting milestones like talking, sitting up, crawling, and walking. If they don’t master their motor skills yet, focus on other aspects of their fine motors or speech or social skills. As a Mom, I choose to be an encourager than be a competitive one. So when comparison happens, I don’t let it get to me because I know that Giane will walk, talk, and whatever else when the time is right. She is destined to walk, talk and live life for lifetime, anyway.
- It’s about progress, not perfection. On days when I seem to be stuck and taking forever in a never-ending cycle of breastfeeding, playing, putting Giane to sleep, feeding her, changing her nappy, then repeat all over again, sometimes I feel stagnant. But I learned that motherhood is just one big unfinished project free of deadlines or specific end goals. As Giane learns different new skills and habits (including antics) every day, I am focusing on the progress, not perfection. Children don’t become skilled overnight – but by allowing them to practice and problem solve we see results of independence and confidence. So parents should also have the patience to wait for them to learn instead of correcting them every second.
- Breastfeeding is the bestest for babies. I am a Breastfeeding advocate. Exclusively breastfeeding Giane for 13 months (and counting)isn’t a walk in the park but it’s very rewarding and worth all the hard work I put into it. God has blessed women with breasts that are capable of producing human milk, milk that contains the right amount of nutrients and antibodies adjusting to our baby’s needs. So I took advantage of that. Breastfeeding our baby brings benefits, like a healthier and stronger baby, better healing post-delivery, natural birth control, a perfect bonding moment with the baby and it is free! I have zero judgment for anyone who has used formula, but for me, it’s awesome to know I’ve made it. For all the mothers who directly feed, who pump and who do bottles – we are the real heroes.
- The best things in life really are absolutely free and no VAT. It has been 13 glorious months of giggling, giving me reasons to wake up each morning, drooling, smiles, breastfeeding, sleep deprivation, countless hugs and kisses, the satisfaction of witnessing my daughter grow under my unconditional love and care, companionship, conversation, and lots of kilig moments. These are the best things of motherhood, and they are all free. Free! Free! Free!
- Home designed by a baby. We all have our different interpretation of tidiness. It used to frustrate me coming to a dirty and chaotic home. But now, I feel heaven when I see toys on the floor and inside my bag and when furniture is positioned differently. We provide plenty of safe places for her to explore. We built a cabinet filled with wooden toys and flash cards and put books and puzzles on low shelves. During this time, I woke up and realized I cannot really design my home and life so much anymore… or at least, not for this season (and only God knows how long this season is going to be).
- Strangers and Separation anxieties are actually milestones. Some people easily judge a kid when she doesn’t come or play with them. Guess what? It is a natural phase of social development and one of the first big emotional milestones for babies. Though, I learned that I have to make Giane secure. Attending to her when she cries and respects her emotions will help her. I cannot force her to smile and be a social butterfly (though she is). Instead, I consider this as a sign of her growing maturity. What my husband and I do is give her a little space and time, and she’ll often warm-up to a stranger and decide the person is a friend. Separation anxiety makes for a clingy baby. When Giane starts to shout when I disappear to go to the kitchen, I don’t immediately run back – because it is an indication that there really is something to be afraid of. Instead, I comfort her with my voice by saying, “Mommy is in the kitchen getting water, it’s okay.”
- See things in her own perspective. I must admit, I got worried when Giane was attempting to explore her world. Good thing my husband always reminds me to trust our child. See things through Giane lens instead of mine helps me to understand her and motherhood even more. I always remind my husband and parents not to react negatively or say negative words like “Kawawa ka naman” (because she is not – actually she is loved), “makulit ka kasi” (because she is smart enough to discover), hala ka kukunin ka ng pulis (because it is a lie!)”. Saying these will not definitely help in her development and won’t stop her to do what children do. It is not normal for a child to sit for long periods of time… so let her walk, explore, stand, play and be dirty – these are ways our babies will learn more.
- Our babies are beautifully uncomplicated. Giane would rather play with bottled water, keys, empty boxes, TV remotes than real toys. Personally, babies do not need expensive toys, what they need is few educational toys and playtime with parents who give them undivided attention. Saying this, I personally don’t see the necessity of buying expensive clothes and shoes. Most of Giane’s clothes are either preloved or gift which she barely wears because she grows out of them very quickly.With this, I learned that life is about having simple things. They make all of us totally happy.
- It takes a village to raise a child. God is generous in providing us with a solid support group – our husband, our parents, and in-laws, our family and friends. But being an OFW, some of us are living far away from our families and in-laws, so let’s take advantage of the gift of community, mom’s club and online apps that give us guidance, knowledge, and inspiration. There are also mothers whom we could only meet online but are sharing tips and personal stories that are informative and empowering. Asking for help doesn’t mean you’re not a great momshie. It actually means you’re still thinking straight.
- Our kids do understand. Discipline isn’t about punishment. It’s about teaching and guidance – regardless of age. I refrain saying ‘no’ to Giane whenever she eats her toys or does things which she is not supposed to. If we are constantly saying no, we are sending a message that the world is off-limits. What I do is I distract her by saying, “I know you want to play with that cable, but that is not a toy, that is for Lola’s mobile phone,” then I give her a book or toy. And surprisingly, she understands. Though we have to be patient because it doesn’t always work, eventually she’ll get it.
Bonus Point: Motherhood also taught me that sleeping is beautiful and going to the bathroom alone is a privilege. Sleep, I love you. And I miss you. Another bonus point: Motherhood is worth it. You can’t un-become a mother. Once you become a mom, you are a mom forever, 25×7. You can’t un-become one. We are experiencing every emotion there is! The bliss of witnessing their first moments when they discovered things on their own. I am a better person for having Giane and I am very honoured to be her mother for the rest of her life.
Gracie Acla is a Marketing Professional working for a multi-awarded furniture retailer company in Dubai.
She is happily married to Neo and a first-time mom to a giggly, beautiful and smart baby girl, Giane.
She has considered UAE her second home; ever since she moved here to join her parents back in 2002.
She also gives empowering talks to her church community. You can follow her at Grace Anatomy link (http://graceacla.blogspot.ae/).