For me, some of the best therapy is crying on my mom’s shoulder, drinking wine with my friends or husband, or getting my hair done. I don’t know why, but there’s something about bleach, foils and a shampoo bowl that make me open up. And thankfully for me, not only is my hairdresser, Nancy, great at hair, she’s got great life advice too.
As I sat in Nancy’s chair one day, venting my frustrations over my kids’ behavior and beating myself up over my behavior in response to their behavior, she said something that stopped me cold. She was talking about a conversation she had with her son when he was much younger where she apologized to him and said,
I’ve never been the mom of a nine year old. I’m still figuring this out too.
It hit me like a ton of bricks – when is it that are we are no longer considered “new moms?”
Why is it when our babies are finally sleeping through the night, or they stop teething, or they start wearing underwear instead of diapers that suddenly we’re supposed to have all the answers? Why would I know more about parenting a three year old than I do a three month old?!
It was that sentence that gave me the clarity and the grace to know that I don’t always know the right answer – and that’s ok. It also, somehow, took the pressure off of me to have the right response all the time. Suddenly, I found that I was allowing myself to respond to my daughter’s melt down with quiet hug, because I didn’t need an answer or a “teachable moment.” I just needed to take a breath while I figured out the next move, and honestly, that’s probably the case for all of us, a lot of the time.
Now, these tables will turn when my youngest goes through these phases, and by then, the “new mom” title will be thrown out the window … I’m not quite sure what I will do when I get there, but, I guess there’s always the shampoo bowl, right?