As a nursing mother, I often find myself stuck on the sofa with a baby (now toddler) firmly latched onto my nipple. All while the clock is ticking away, dirty dishes sitting in the sinks, laundry piled up high, crunchy bits from the floor stuck to my feet. There are home school plans to print, flash cards to arrange, weekly meal plans to sort out, family schedules to finalise and update, medical appointments to coordinate. Also there's workout that needs to be done, nails that need to be trimmed, legs that need to be shaved. You get my point.
It's tempting to remove the baby so I can get on with doing what needs to be done. But I have often found that counterintuitive because said baby will not allow it. I can be firm and stand my ground for 5 minutes. Maybe 10 minutes. Or even 30 minutes. But that just makes everyone cranky and stressed out.
Now I prefer just going with the flow and having my list of priorities right. If baby wants to nurse, nurse she will. I make use of the time to lie down and rest, type a blog post, do some e reading or online shopping for groceries or even buy some new clothes. Once she is satisfied and happy as can be (she flashes me the widest smile ever and her eyes become like crescent moons), I am free to do whatever I want for a good while.
This way, we are both happy. I don't want to deny her the comfort by standing firm. Because, for what? I don't need to assert my superiority. She knows that I am her MAMA. I am secure in my role as her mother and she knows that. There's no need to go into this silly power struggle. My limits are simple. As long as she is not harming anyone or anything, I'm cool. She can do whatever she wants but at the same time I want to remind her about the fruits of the spirit – of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness and self control.
What I would do is if I'm washing dishes I will not stop whatever I am doing right away. I will tell her "I'm washing the dishes right now and I'll be with you once I'm done. Please wait patiently." I sometimes remind her what patience is, and I do not pick her up until I am done including drying my hands. Yes she will be crying but just for a few minutes. Before I pick her up, I will say "Emma, would you like it if I please carry you, please?" Hopefully when she is able to speak in complete sentences she would be able to say "Mama, I would like to be carried please." For now she will just say "carry please".
If she messes things up, we put them away together. If she plays with something she’s not supposed to play with (wires) or something that doesn’t belong to her, I give her something else that she can play with. Interestingly, even though I have very few boundaries, she knows when I mean it and doesn’t kick a fuss when I stop her from reaching for scissors and knives.
There will be times when she cries out of frustration from not getting what she wants and that’s okay. I tell her it’s okay to feel frustrated and angry sometimes and redirect her to something else.