Falling Down: a #LessonLearned by Katie Sluiter
Today I have Katie Sluiter at my place, you guys! You have no idea how long I’ve been following, KT! I’ve been reading Sluiter Nation like… forever. And as soon as I learned what Twitter was I found Katie at @ksluiter. I fell in love with Katie because she was a teacher. And then I learned she struggled with postpartum depression, which I am pretty sure I had after Tech was born. I just didn’t ever get a formal diagnosis. Way back at the end of last year, Katie asked me to write something for her — which was super exciting, especially because Katie is a Big Blogger. (Even if she denies it.) Oh, if you prefer, you can follow her on Facebook.
As a little kid, my dad was the one who taught me how to do a lot of things: ride my bike, change a car tire, fish.
He also taught me to ice skate.
I remember being out on our frozen pond, bundled up in my winter coat and snow pants with my scarf covering my entire mouth so that when I talked…or breathed…it became moist and warm.
I don’t remember much of the logistics of the lesson, but I do remember falling down.
Finally I got frustrated and whined that I was no good at skating and I didn’t want to do it anymore.
My dad pulled me up and said, “But every time you fall, you are learning. Just think of how much more you know now than you did when we started.”
I gave him the hairy eyeball, assuming he meant I knew a lot more now because I had fallen so many zillions of times.
“No, really,” he continued. “Every time you fall, you learn what not to do next time. Or at least you should.”
This lesson comes back to me every single time I “fall” in life.
But not until I pout a lot and whine about how I want to quit.
I have tripped, stumbled, and flat-out fallen as a mom. Especially when I was a new, first-time mom.
But it’s something I can’t quit. I can’t just say, “Man, I suck at this. I am done.”
My older son, Eddie, was a difficult baby.
Ok, actually, “difficult” is putting it mildly.
He was a colicky, digestive mess.
It was totally him. Not his fault, but it was him.
But I didn’t know that. Not at the time.
At the time, it was me. I was stumbling…not able to soothe him, not able to provide him with food that wouldn’t upset his tummy, not able to know what his cries meant.
I was sliding all over that iced pond not knowing what to do to keep myself off my ass and skating straight.
Every time he cried, I wanted to figure out what was wrong and fix it.
I didn’t know that sometimes? Babies just cry.
So I fell down over and over.
And I beat myself up for it. Which really, was another mistake. Another stumble.
This became a pattern with my son.
He is now almost three, and I have fallen down millions of times in my education on becoming a mother.
He has not always been the most patient teacher, but he is very forgiving.
Sometimes, my mistakes…my stumbles…are hard enough that we both fall. We both sit and cry and tend to our bruised bottoms.
But we are learning.
We are making it through.
I had no idea how awesome of a teacher he was until my second son was born in March.
Suddenly all those things that caused me to trip and fall–the crying, the spit up, the time management, the anxiety and depression–they were easier. In fact, some of them were non-existent. I skated right through them.
In fact, I am still up on my skates.
Oh, I have tripped here and there, but I have pretty much mastered the basics.
(What? That was difficult the first time around!)
I still fall down from time to time.
But that’s okay.
I’m in this for the long haul.
I’m a life-long learner.
What are you still figuring out? What are some of the best lessons you have learned as a parent that you wish you had known earlier?
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