on being mamma

Posted on October 30th, 2012 by mountain girl  |  10 Comments »

As I’ve begun to settle into these days with my new baby (can you believe he’s already three months today?) I find that parts of me have all but receded into the shadows.  The things that used to define my days–making up new recipes, baking, sewing, knitting, writing, illustrating–all feel like someone else’s life now.

It was like that in a sense with Zia, but when five years have passed since your baby was a baby, you being to accumulate things again: interests, ideas, plans, all kinds of things that keep you busy and fill your time.

Stripping, however, can be a very good thing. It forces you to redefine yourself, rips away everything that is unnecessary, and just plain gets you out of the rut.

My new life is lived with a small but steadily growing attachment and a little girl whose own set of needs are emerging in an entirely new way. I feel like my life has been reduced to one word: Mamma. (I think Cash actually said mamma this morning, BTW.)

I love the reduction. It has brought a richness and simplicity to my life, and I am slowly learning to accept its limitations and variations from my normal routine. David has been amazing to me–he has entirely taken on dinnertime, whipping up an awesome meal each evening after work and then taking care of the dishes–unless I can get to them first, which is rare. He seems to delight in doing his work and then mine, too.

One thing I do these days is read.  Besides the tons of picture books we check out of the library and read while Cash nurses, I’ve snuck in a bit of my own “adult” reading.  I’ve discovered some writings that have rocked my mothering world, and continue to do so daily.  They are the three titles by Aletha J. Solter, who wrote during the 1980’s and 90’s.

Her views on attachment parenting, in my opinion, are the most solid and balanced I’ve found.  The thing that really rocks me, though, is how she talks about the need children have to cry–and how we often do all we can to stop their crying, to our children’s hurt.

She doesn’t advocate leaving a child to “cry it out” under any circumstance, but she talks about lovingly supporting them in their crying.

Her viewpoint has been an amazing help with Cash as he went through some “colicky” crying these first three months.  Now I am finding I can apply it to Zia as well.

There have been times (as recent as last week) when I now realize she just needed to have a good cry in my arms–probably building up from three months of no longer being the center of my attention.

Instead I made her take control of herself and stop, right now. Oh, ow.  I told her today I was sorry for that, and next time, she can cry as much as she needs to, and I’ll hold her.  I think we’ll both be the better for it.

Mamma-hood is a risky business–a delicate balance of holding the line and completely abandoning it for the sake of something greater.  It’s mistakes are much harder to fix than ripping out a row of knitting because you missed the purl stitch or re-baking a cake because you forgot the altitude adjustments.

But then, your reward is so much more than a cake or a sweater.  It’s a homemade, hand-knit child, and that is an accomplishment worth all you can give in order to do it well.

Mamma: in all my earthly endeavors, this is what I want to do better than anything.

10 Responses to “on being mamma”

  1. mom and dad says on :

    hi honeeeee………MY GOODNESS………..3 MONTHS ALREADY????? CAN HARDLY BELIEVE IT 🙂 lil Cash looks like Richard 🙂 lil Zia is getting so big and she is very beautiful!!!!! and i believe i will go sit and have a little tear; so I can feel better, too:) 😉 luv u guys/mom

  2. mountain girl says on :


  3. Melissa says on :

    It’s a magical gig, this mamahood thing. And it teaches us so much, not just about our children, but ourselves as well. And that crying thing…let’s face it, every once in a while, we can all do with a good cry….that’s why it’s call a good cry. The trick is being able to allow it in ourselves and in others….like you said…Ow. I love that you are enjoying yourself!

  4. Tiffany says on :

    I think it is crazy how similar we are! I am glad to have found your blog and to have found someone in the world who I can actually relate to. Thank you for being you and for writing such a beautiful post.:)


    Your children are beautiful!

  5. mountain girl says on :

    Thanks, Tiffany! Loving your blog, too!

  6. Hannah says on :

    I should read those books. I am pretty good about getting that sometimes Bunny just has to fall apart and have a cry (err screaming two year fit at times) but BabyGirl alomost never cries so I hate when she does lol

  7. jodi says on :

    This is so good Mia. Beautifully written and really right on time for me to read. I’ve been reevaluating my mamma style recently and have read a few things along that subject – about supporting them when they cry rather than hushing them immediately. I’ve noticed a huge difference in Jacob and Judah when I follow through with that.

  8. mountain girl says on :

    I’ve noticed a big difference too, with Cash. It’s like it just builds up in him until finally he needs to let it out. When I try to distract him–singing, bouncing, etc.–I’m just delaying his crying. He stays whiny and anxious until he lets it out, then he is usually calm and happy. I’m glad to hear you’re finding the same thing with your boys!

  9. Lisa Coffee says on :

    there is so much i want to write here, Mia. but…it’s late and the baby will wake for a feeding soon. but i love this post. love it. and a big yes, to this, “Mamma: in all my earthly endeavors, this is what I want to do better than anything.”

  10. mountain girl says on :

    Thanks, Lisa!