Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Learning to Relax

     Tessa and I spent the past week at Cypress Hills Camp in beautiful Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan, where I was camp nurse for the week. I was a camper there almost every summer when I was a kid, spent one summer as a counselor there, and this was my second year volunteering as camp nurse. There's just something about summer camp that I love and can't get enough of, so it's great to be able to still be involved in some way. I can't wait until Tessa's old enough to be a camper - hopefully she won't be like her mom and be one of the homesick kids! (Even though I got so homesick at camp, I still loved it and have very fond memories of my many summers at camp!)

     The week was challenging for me, though. Having a 6-month old to care for while being busy bandaging scraped knees and consoling homesick campers makes for a bit of a crazy week! Tessa did so great - we only had one major meltdown the whole week. I was so proud of her, and so extremely thankful that my parents and sister were also there (my mom was a cook, my sister was teaching crafts and my dad was there helping out too) to take Tessa when I needed to be with a camper. I truly could not have done it without them.

     I learned a few things through the week at camp, but I think the most valuable lesson for me was learning to RELAX! Not relax in the sense of taking it easy and putting my feet up (although I did get to do a bit of that too!), but more in learning to let go of every little detail and my perfect ideas of how things will be done with Tessa.

     I've never really thought of myself as a controlling person, but I think since becoming a mom, that side of me has risen to the surface more than ever before. I think almost all new moms (and maybe not just new moms) worry about doing everything "right" or by the book. We're so afraid of making one little mistake that we think is going to ruin our child for life. I know I have many of these moments.

     That's why this week at camp was so good for me. I can't count the number of times a soother or a toy fell on the dusty, dirty floor and someone (myself included) picked it up, brushed it off, and gave it back to Tessa. It's just not practical or possible to run across camp to the nearest sink to rinse it off!

      At the beginning of the week, I inwardly cringed when a camper got too close to her (have you seen how dirty 9-year-olds at camp can get? And who knows what kind of germs they have?!?). By the end of the week, it hardly bothered me, and I even let one little girl hold Tessa (she had been begging me all week!).

     At home, I don't like to feed Tessa to sleep (we try to follow the Eat, Play, Sleep routine as much as we can). At camp, there were several times when I just needed her to go down because I needed to be somewhere else, and I knew that nursing her would be the quickest and easiest way to get there, so guess what? I nursed her to sleep and the world didn't end.

     We've now been home for 3 days and she's pretty much back to her normal routine like nothing ever happened. I don't think I've ruined her at all, in fact, I've seen how adaptable, easygoing, and resilient she really is. I have no trouble picking up her soother from my clean-ish floors and giving it back to her. She didn't come down with any terrible diseases from all the kid germs she was exposed to. And she got right back on track with her regular routine without a problem. I'm not saying that I want to make a habit of putting filthy things in her mouth or that I think we should abandon the routine of our days, but my week at camp showed me that we can be flexible when we need to be, that we can do things a little differently if the situation calls for it and we'll still be fine.

     It's when I'm worrying about little things like dirt and germs and changes to routine that I stop loving motherhood and I feel fear start to creep in. My week at camp will always be a reminder to me to let go of that fear and worry that I'm doing it all wrong and instead to take a deep breath, relax and enjoy this precious time with my daughter, dirt and all.

1 comment:

  1. This makes me laugh. I know exactly what you mean starting out uptight and then loosening up routine/cleanliness habits. A little dirt and flexibility is good for them :)


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