Frankly, this blog is a little embarrassing. It's self-indulgent and pure stream-of-consciousness. When I was having a hard time as a mother, medical student, and being separated from my family, I looked for blogs that would provide insight. I didn't find anything. Other mother/medical students didn't have time to blog (maybe I should have learned from that!) and the few that did had completely different issues. I looked for mothers who were separated from their families, and I resonated emotionally with them, I didn't gain insight into my situation. I started this blog because I wanted to be there for myself- or, obviously, someone like myself--or maybe to keep looking for insight that would help me through the most challenging times.
The most challenging times were NOT the times that I was incredibly busy, like, right before a test. It was when I wasn't busy and Torin and Bubs were not here to enjoy. Finding circumstantial solutions to emotional problems took a long time. I did learn, but as I'm having another baby (tomorrow) I need to reinforce what I learned, so here I go.
Lesson Learned #1) The importance of routine.
School is fast-paced. Child-raising is slow-paced. The only way to do both is to be able to prepare for both. School (fast!) during the day and child (s l o w) in the evening. By limiting time at school, I set higher, faster expectations. I enjoy this time very much, and even more when I feel "on it" like I'm doing everything I can to set myself up for success. Then I can feel happy and proud and present for my child.
The other advantage of routine is that it sets up expectations that I'll see my child again, and he'll see me again. It builds trust/eliminates insecurity and expands horizons.
Lesson Learned #2) Good childcare is a Godsend.
I have a pretty traditional husband along these lines, and I myself was raised at home until kindergarten, so the thought of leaving my little baby with strangers, who might not even remember my precious package years down the road felt a lot like a double loss; it felt like paying to not keep those priceless memories!
Since we don't have a car, I needed a daycare that was close by and that Torin would love. Luckily, the closest one to us is also the best one I've found. The only downside is expense, but I am glad to pay so that Torin's teachers can have healthcare, etc. There are a lot of subsidized programs out there too, but they either don't take kids as young, they don't offer the schedule or flexibility, or they are far away.
I need to add here: As all things that are Godsends, don't try to get it for less than it's worth. It's a terrible thing when dogwalkers make more money than the people that love and nurture your children. Find a way for child care to really work for the people caring for your children!
Another day, I'll write about the invaluable things that good daycares are designed to provide.
Lesson Learned (but really already known) #3) Keep perspective
I love going to grab a beer with my friends. But even more that that, I love feeling that my life is going somewhere, that I'm in control, and that I'm excited and I know I'm prepared for the challenges that I signed up for. Feeling this way and having a routine makes me better at every part of my routine. When I know what I'm gaining it doens't seem like a sacrifice at all.
I'll stop there but add to it later, as I learn more. These are concrete things that I learned in the last two years. It's been a steep learning curve.