When you have young children, there are always ups and downs. You may feel as if you take two steps forward, and then take two steps back. Sometimes, you may not feel like you’re making progress at all. Perhaps it’s a sleep issue: is your child not sleeping through the night? Or, as a mother, are you having troubles with breastfeeding? Or maybe your child refuses to sit down and eat meals with you as a family? Although it may not seem like you are getting anywhere, time is inevitably propelling you forward. You just have to keep your spirits up. You must have discipline within yourself to keep your mind steady and strong and know that, indeed, you are making progress. Your life is unfolding exactly as it is supposed to.
An example of discipline and self-awareness, found in Sri Swami Satchidananda’s translation of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, follows:
It is something like going to the Empire State Building. When you look out of a first floor window you see something. From the second floor, you see a little more; from the third floor, still more. But when you finally reach the hundred and third floor, and look over the balcony, you see something completely different.
It’s hard to have perspective in a difficult moment with your child. But in a few days, weeks, months or years, you will look back with a clearer view of what happened or what was happening.
I think, when it comes to parenting, we are constantly having to start over. With the holidays now gone, my husband and I had to start over and get our daughter back to her normal routine: when she eats, when she plays, when she sleeps. But I was thankful to start over. It made me realize just how beneficial that routine is for her, and for us as a family. The holidays also made me rethink my views of how I wanted to celebrate the winter holidays. I am thankful for that. And for our daughter, we put away her high chair and are having her sit (well, stand) at the table to eat with us. This was starting over, too, because we now have to reinforce the “proper” way of eating. There are many bumps along this road. And the bumps may be taller than others.
But keep that inner discipline close to you. You can get this discipline in many ways: if you pray, pray; if you exercise, exercise; if you journal, journal; if you meditate, meditate. Anything that brings you peace — do it. God knows we need inner peace as we go through the wonderful turmoil of parenthood.