Unlearning a decade of training and thinking

I’ve been doing daycare for seven months now. I’ve been formally trained on “the safest ways to interact with children and adults” since I was 18 (which is a decade now).

All of my formal training tells me “don’t touch people for too long so you won’t get sued”. If a child is crying, it’s okay to pat them on the back a few times but not hug them. If it’s an adult, you probably just shouldn’t ever touch them at all. After all, a vulnerable adult doesn’t know the difference between good touch and bad touch. My first human services job was when I was a freshman in college working with kids who have behavioral problems. Then I spent some time as a Music Ed major. I spent some time in the classroom observing. I’ve worked with adults with mental illness. I’ve worked in church nurseries and babysat kids. In all of that time, I’ve been training myself to avoid touch.

Because of this training, sometimes I provide inadequate care since I forget that touch is SSSOOOO important to young kids to help comfort them and to help them cope. I feel like such an idiot when I have these epiphanies of things I should already know. In my head I KNOW kids need touch. But I have to fight my learning that tells me “don’t touch”.

I’ve just started a wonderful little girl in my daycare who has never known the daycare life. She needs lots of comfort and I haven’t been providing what she needs. I’ve been trying to play, to distract, to talk, to not talk, to give her time – everything but give her some hugs and some cuddles to help cope. That JUST occurred to me today, eight days into her time with me. IT TOOK EIGHT DAYS FOR THAT TO EVEN OCCUR TO ME! Today has been the best day we’ve had thus far because I am now giving her what she needs.

I know I need to be easier on myself because this is new. Working with really young kids is very new to me. I know I have access to lots of free training on the web but I haven’t taken advantage yet. I’m just making excuses about being too busy. I know that I need to learn more about kids and what they need. I need to educate myself more on what I’m doing and how to provide the best care. Making it up as I go along isn’t good enough.

The good thing about these feel-like-an-idiot epiphanies is that they generally shock me into being more intentional again. I want to live an intentional life but sometimes I just put too much on my plate and I get caught up in just surviving from day to day. We all do that, I’m sure. However, I know that God’s best plan and life for me includes being more intentional about how I’m living. To LIVE and not just survive.

So what’s my next step? I am going to contact a provider I know and ask for the link to all the training she has access to now that I’ve long since thrown away any paperwork regarding licensing a daycare. I am going to take the time to look into that training and then take advantage of it! I am going to learn about working with small children. I am going to start providing much better care. These little children are the most precious things in their parents’ universe. They deserve the best I can give and I am committed once again to doing that. It’s time to be intentional again.

I don’t care about my post-baby body!!

Lately, I’ve been seeing ads for “dropping baby weight” and endless posts about how much a post-baby body changes and how to accept it and how to change it and how to get this or that back into shape.

I DON’T CARE WHAT MY BODY LOOKS  LIKE ANYMORE!

I’m shouting this (well, in my mind because the babies are sleeping). I want you, moms, to be able to shout it too and BELIEVE it. On the list of things that are now important in my life, the way my body looks isn’t in there. Or at least how it’s now different than it was before I had a baby.

Somehow, it’s so hard in our body-obsessed culture to appreciate the function of our bodies over how they look. (Biological) Moms, you GREW a human INSIDE your body, nourished it, gave birth to it, and many of you continued to use your body to nourish and feed it after. What is not COMPLETELY amazing about that?

We get up a hundred times a day to tend to our children, during the day and night, making sure they do this or don’t do that, trying to keep them from hurting or killing themselves. We spend time and money on their needs, changing diapers, fixing food, washing clothes, trying to keep socks on (why do baby socks NEVER stay on???), supervising play, getting up from and down to the floor to hang out and be climbed on, doing stairs holding babies, lifting them up and setting them back down.

Recently, when I’m not sick or injured, as I’ve been training for my upcoming 10k, I’ve realized that my slow and easy runs are in the same time range as my fast runs from months ago. Yet, I run less and certainly am not spending any time doing the yoga and pilates from the DVDs I just HAD to have to help my running. What’s up with that? I call it the daycare strength training routine. I spend all day taking care of little kids.

Yeah, it eats up all my free time and I’m exhausted and I wish they would eat or stop dropping their food on the floor and watch what they are doing on the way down the stairs so they don’t fall and go to sleep when I lay them down and not smash things and on and on and on. But I chase these little creatures all over my house and with all the little stuff I don’t even notice I’m doing anymore, I’ve gotten strong. I run with less effort and MUCH faster than I used to.

And you know what? I’m still a little chubby. I’ve still got this pooch and pouch and whatever going on everywhere. Who cares???

If I could have three wishes granted, one would be that all children have enough to eat and appropriate clothing for their climates, one would be that everyone would realize the saving grace of Christ, and my last wish would be that society would STOP being obsessed with how bodies look. I’m joining the one piece swimsuit club (if I ever buy another one at this rate…) and that’s okay. I’m not ashamed of how I look, however. I am simply more comfortable covered up. I don’t care if people think my stretch marks are ugly. I don’t care if how I look offends the senses of those who have this thing called free time to keep themselves in tippy top shape.

Moms, our bodies change because they need to. Our bodies change because we live in a world of death and decay. These are not the bodies we will go into eternity in. Those who believe in Christ will receive GLORIFIED bodies – perfect bodies. I cannot WAIT to see what God’s idea of perfection is. There are things in life SO much more important than how we look.

Please, moms. Stop. Just stop. Spend your precious minutes with your precious ones, not worrying about how you look. Spend your precious minutes with your husband who probably can’t wait to see that hot mama body of yours. *wink wink* Spend your time on the things that matter. Love your mama body and marvel at what it has done. You are amazing.

 

note: I realize that all women cannot be mothers because their bodies do not cooperate. I admit, I don’t know how you feel, but I believe that some of you feel very betrayed by your bodies because of that. If you have become a mother by another means, realize that you are amazing too. You still do SO much with your mama body to raise the precious children you have brought into your life. Some may call you lucky that you don’t have to “deal with” all the mama body changes, but you don’t believe that. You LONG to have those changes. Remember, God’s grace and strength is enough for you. God is enough to heal those hurts you have. Love your children. Love your body. Love your husband. Love God. This is not the end – glory is the end.