Live Inside Your Walls

After brushing my teeth, I begin to put the few things away that were straggled on my counter. As I cleared the things, I stumbled across a spiderman toothbrush cover. I picked it up held in my hand and begin to smile. It was covered in old, hard toothpaste. It must have fell behind my counter, because the kid that adored this toothbrush holder was now in college. I sat down on the edge of my bathtub and listened to the silence. The silence that was once bliss and desired more than anything in the world. Tears begin to stream down my eyes as I held this tiny toothbrush holder in my hand. I looked around my bathroom and it was spotless. Not a thing out of place. I had spent yesterday cleaning it which explains how this tiny treasure had surfaced. I had longed for so long the desire to have a spotless bathroom, you know the kind that you see in magazines. And finally the day had come, and I was sitting in my magazine worthy bathroom balling tears of sadness. Why was I so sad? I pulled myself up and got dressed. Life was so different now, my house stayed clean, I had ample amount of quiet time and I was never short on me time. My career was thriving, yet my heart wished for the ‘good ole’ days. The days when I had tiny feet running about. The days when I had people storming into my bedroom asking me for help. The days when I had tiny arms wrapping around my neck and pecking me with little kisses. The days when my days were full of joyful chaos. Why had I rushed those sweet days away? Why was I in such a hurry for things to be different? Sure, I loved my life now and I enjoyed how things were, but there was still those sweet memories of yesterday.

What is it that makes us rush our present, in hopes of a better tomorrow only to get to tomorrow and wish for another yesterday?

I find myself, as a mother of 9 children at home, hoping for better tomorrows. Hoping that one day I don’t have to fuss as much. Hoping that one day my house will stay clean. Hoping that one day I will have an hour to myself. Hoping that one day I will get a moment of peace and quiet. I find myself daydreaming of these tomorrows. The problem is while I am daydreaming of these tomorrows the today is a blur. As a mother of 1 child out of the house, I find myself wishing for yesterdays when he was tiny. I know all to well what is to come, wishing for yesterdays; however I still find myself hoping for better tomorrows.

It’s almost as though society has arranged it for happiness to be impossible. The system has been setup to never be satisfied always wishing for something. It would have us believe we are incapable of living in the present. We have been programed to be living in the past or looking to the future rather eagerly or anxiously.

I have spent a lot time talking about kicking down walls and living outside the box. But for a moment I want us to live in the box. I want us to stop and look around our tiny little box and recognize the beauty of our box. Not concerned with what is going on outside the box, not wondering how we got into the box, but simply enjoying the box. For a moment we aren’t going to try to rip down the walls and get to a better place, instead we are going to say our box is our box and it’s enough! Can you make up your mind Tanyell….. I know, I know it can seem confusing. But, part of living beyond the walls is recognizing that our walls are our walls.

Let me explain. We take the time to build our perfect little four walls. For me my walls consist of my husband, 10 children, a dog, cat, a few small animals, my private practice, our inflatable business, our spirituality and view of the world, and a few other bricks. I have been careful with building these walls, being very strategic with each brick. However, inside these walls is chaos, craziness, madness, messiness, laughter, yelling, love, tears, laughter, and a plethora of other things. People will often come inside my four walls and begin to tell me what I need to change what I need to do different. I sometimes find myself comparing my four walls to other people four walls. And slowly, the beautiful bricks that I have strategically placed and the perfectly carved wood I have placed, I begin to chisel and hammer down. I find myself beating my bricks up and cutting my wood up with should and could. I find myself saying I can’t wait until this brick is gone or this wood is moved so I can_________ fill in the blank. My once perfect walls slowly get destroyed piece by piece by piece. The light shinning through isn’t a bright happy light of promises of freedom. The light shinning through is a blinding bright light that forces me to cover my eyes. My walls are crumbling and it doesn’t feel good.

In order to repair the holes in my walls, I must begin to plug them with memories and moments of the present. Take time to enjoy the tiny moments that are happening within them. The heftiness of life and all of it’s imperfections. It means allowing my littles to sleep in the middle one more night while my husband and I hold onto the edge of the bed. It means wiping tears and cleaning non existence booboos. It means stepping over toys and framing literal wall art. It means listening to the yelling and screaming and the details of who did it. It means putting the phone down to make eye contact and fully engage in a 20 min story about a teddy bear and barbie doll. It means reading one more bedtime story.  It means walking into a bathroom with tissue hanging off the roll and toothpaste spilled across the counter top from little hands brushing little teeth.

Sometimes life beyond the walls means remaining in our four walls. Sometimes it means not allowing others to come inside of our walls and try to tear them down with their ideals and opinions. Life beyond the walls can mean seeing beyond our walls to know that everyones four walls are different and the beauty inside of each of them is to be held by the person living inside. Before you begin to chisel down the walls in your life, make sure they aren’t your four walls that you built.

After brushing my teeth, I begin to look around at the toys in the bathtub from last night baths, the toothpaste splatters on the mirror from big spits, the clothes on the floor that lead into the closet were pajamas were kept, the tissue dangling from the roll from someone who needed a piece to clean their nose. I looked around at the beautiful mess of life, fun, and memories. I took a deep breath, put my toothbrush away, and walked out of the bathroom leaving the mess for another moment. I went out into the living room and embraced myself for all the mommies and feels that were going to flood me before I could make my way to the coffee pot. I took the time and hugged each and everyone of them looking deep into their tiny eyes and feeling their tiny arms try to wrap around me. I hugged my bigs and remembered their tiny arms. I took mental pictures of this moment and listened to all the dreams and the plans for the day. I didn’t think about the dishes, the work load, the better tomorrows. I held onto this moment and closed in the holes of my walls so no light could get in and I could focus my eyes on the beauty of what was happening inside of my walls. And at that moment I begin to live life beyond the walls within my walls!

Co-sleeping…… I need my sleep!!

Let me begin this post by stating, there is several different researches out there on co-sleeping, therefore, if you are on the fence with this topic please take the time to do the research for yourself. This is my personal opinion, beliefs, and take on co-sleeping.

When I had my first child, I had no one to tell me what to do exactly, well except my family members, they of course “knew” how to do everything! There was no one that could tell me definitively if I did A then B would happen or vice versus, so everything was trial and error. It didn’t help that I was teen mother. After I left for college and begin to study psychology, I begin to formulate my own beliefs and thought processes on raising children. There were so many different principles, beliefs, and theories, and each one of them had something that resignated to my heart. When I had my second child, I knew that I wanted to do some things differently starting with breastfeeding! I started by putting my little one in the basinet next to my bed. Those first few days we struggled. We struggled with breast feeding and we struggled with sleeping. I was exhausted! A few days later, my Granny past away, she was an intricate part of my life, and I was devastated. Suddenly, I wanted my babies close to me. I had always had dreams of my kids cuddling in bed with me and us watching family movies, but that dream seemed so silly. I could always hear people telling me I was insane for wanting my kids in my bed, and I believed them, until this moment in my life. I had so many fond memories of cuddling in bed with my Granny and us watching movies or sharing stories. I had these memories all the way through adulthood. Every time I went home to visit her, I was never to old to get in bed with her and cuddle. What a blessing to have these sweet, fond, precious, irreplaceable  memories! I immediately threw common critics out the window and decided to put my baby in the bed with me. My life changed forever!

Suddenly my baby was actually breastfeeding, it wasn’t a struggle anymore, I was getting more sleep than I hadn’t gotten in months, and life was good. As I continued this journey in co-sleeping, I realized the bond I was building with my baby was one that could never be broken. As she got older, I noticed how secure she was didn’t seem to have any mistrust issues going on, and I immediately thought about Erik Erikson trust and mistrust stage. This felt good for me. I remember taking her to the pediatrician when she was two and the pediatrician telling me to put a baby gate up at her door to keep her from coming into my  bed at night, because she needed to sleep in her bed. The thought of my baby standing their terrified and screaming was horrifying to me. Like all advice I listened pondered over it, but realized it wasn’t the right advice for my family and tossed it the minute we walked out the door. I decided co-sleeping would become part of my parenting style. I knew that one day this sweet baby girl would no longer have a desire to sleep in our bed. For all those people that ask, won’t they be in your bed forever? Today at 11 she sleeps in her own bed. *gasp*  There are still those sweet moments that she will come and lay in bed with us and we will snuggle and cuddle and I hold those moments so dear to my heart. Since making the decision to co-sleep,  I have had 2 other little ones and currently 2 little ones co-sleep with me!

When I decided to pursue my Masters in Family Therapy, I remember learning about attachment and did this spark a flame in me! I remember thinking this is exactly why I co-sleep with my babies. When people ask me why do I co-sleep, I say to them aside from the fact I can get a good night sleep? I mean seriously isn’t that enough as a new parent? When they want more than just that, I give them my spill. So why do I co-sleep? For starters when I think about birth and how scary that must be for an infant it is enough to make co-sleeping seem only natural. Let’s really think about that process for a second. Your in a place that is warm, cozy, you can hear your mothers heart beat, her voice, she is near you all the time, and you feel so safe and secure. THEN all of sudden something happens and you are being forced out of your home the only place you know pushed into a world of chaos. It’s cold, scary, bright, there are strangers passing you around, you have no idea what is happening. Strangers are poking you, pulling you, and torturing you. *side note: This is why I am an advocate for home births* No wonder babies cry!! They finally stop crying when… they are bundled tightly and close to mom again. Just that thought alone is enough to want to make sure my precious little baby feels safe and secure at all times in this big scary world. The next step to my pro co-sleeping is the anti crib in me. A crib is a baby prison. Let’s just call it what it is. Seriously could there not be any other design for a crib? (surprise there is) I remember watching babies in their cribs balling and sticking their little hands through the bars, it was heart wrenching for me. I thought once again from a baby perspective. They must be thinking, why is this happening to me? What did I do to deserve this? And to be totally honest my thoughts were, we are not dogs so why do we cage our children like they are? My anti crib became my pro co-sleeping. For me, putting myself into the shoes of an infant made me more and more pro co-sleeping. My other line of thought process became, what did mothers do before cribs. What did mothers during cave times do? Naturally, they more than likely co-slept! Aside from what else with they do with their child, I would imagine they had to protect their young from other animals such as lions, tigers and bears. Oh my!  What other way  to protect your young during the night, but to co-sleep with them. These are the reasons I co-sleep. For me, it seems like the only natural thing to do. We are the only animal species that will die as babies if we don’t have another persons touch. What does that say about our species? That speaks volumes to me. For me it isn’t about detaching, as that is so harmful and can even kill us, but about attaching and having someone to protect us, make us feel safe and secure. For me, this is what co-sleeping does. It is the natural progression after birth to building a secure attachment and bond.

baby sleeping positions (2)

So who changed the thought process on co-sleeping…. MEN of course! Hence the above ^^^ picture!  Seriously, there is no evidence or concrete information on when co-sleeping became taboo or frowned upon. I, however, have come in contact with several women that talk about their husband’s frustration with co-sleeping or how their husbands wouldn’t agree to co-sleeping, and the number one question I get is how do you still get your groove on with your kids in the bed?! This is how I envision the change occurring. Man, “we aren’t able to procreate like we should, because of this child. I have built this safe shelter for us, we no longer need to worry about bears or tigers trying to eat him.” Wife, “What do you suggest we do with him, let him sleep on the cold concrete?” Man, “I will build something for this child to sleep in.” And voila the first crib was invented! Ok, Back to reality! I didn’t know that the bedroom or the bed was the ONLY place to get busy. My husband and I tend to be creative and actually enjoy our creativity and how co-sleeping aides in helping us keep the spice alive in our relationship. In need of some ideas on how to keep the spice alive while the baby is in the bed, watch my youtube on this very topic.  If you haven’t guessed by now, I am an advocate for co-sleeping! Surprise!! For me, the advantages far out weigh the cons or what some try to consider the dangers. According to some research, Co-sleeping may promote long-term emotional health. A study done with Infants who slept with their parents versus those who slept alone, found the children who co-slept were happier, less anxious, had higher self-esteem, were less likely to be afraid of sleep, had fewer behavioral problems, tended to be more comfortable with intimacy, and were generally more independent as adults. These qualities are the qualities I want in my children and honestly I see many of these qualities in my older children. Not toot my own horn, but, toot toot! Often times, we are approached by people astonished at how well behaved my children are. (probably because there is so many of them) This can be attributed to many things, but for the sake of this article I will attribute a portion to co-sleeping!

Am I saying that those children who do not co-sleep with their parents are doomed? Absolutely not! Co-sleeping to me is another avenue of parenting another avenue of approach, and like all things there will be cons, pros, critics, and supporters. Parenting is the only job that doesn’t require training, however, is the hardest job you will ever have. It’s always trial and error, literally on the job training and you have to do what feels right for you, your child, and your family. Remember the difference between abuse and discipline is love. As long as you parenting as your TRUE SELF and coming from a place of love, it will work itself out beautifully! The key is being true to your beliefs and loving.

I wan to leave you with a quick inspiring story that changed my perspective on birth. I hope you enjoy!

A pair of twins were having a conversation while in the womb.

Twin A – Tell me, do you believe in life after birth?

Twin B – Of course. After birth comes life. Perhaps we are here to prepare for what comes after birth.

Twin A – Forget it! After birth there is nothing! From there, no one has returned! And besides, what would it look like?

Twin B – I do not know exactly, but I feel that there are lights everywhere … Perhaps we walk on our own feet, and eat with our mouth.

Twin A – This is utterly stupid! Walking isn’t possible! And how can we eat with that ridiculous mouth? Can’t you see the umbilical cord? And for that matter, think about it for a second: postnatal life isn’t possible because the cord is too short.

Twin B – Yes, but I think there is definitely something, just in a different way than what we call life.

Twin A – You’re stupid. Birth is the end of life and that’s it.

Twin B – Look, I do not know exactly what will happen, but Mother will help us…

Twin A – The Mother? Do you believe in the Mother? !

Twin B – Yes.

Twin A – Do not be ridiculous! Have you seen the Mother anywhere? Has anyone seen her at all?

Twin B – No, but she is all around us. We live within her. And certainly, it is thanks to her that we exist.

Twin A – Well, now leave me alone with this stupidity, right? I’ll believe in Mother when I see her.

Twin B – You can not see her, but if you’re quiet, you can hear her song, you can feel her love. If you’re quiet, you can feel her caress and you will feel her protective hands.

Source: Originally written in Hungarian by Útmutató a Léleknek, translated by Miranda Linda Weisz

Read more: http://sg.theasianparent.com/two-twins-were-talking-in-the-womb/#ixzz2vhFZfpD8

While a great interpretation of perspective!