How do you know, Mom?

How do you know? 

A conversation sparked between me and my son, Will, in the car one morning. 

A simple question: “Mom, how do you know if the babies need something?” 

My mind starts in on the appropriate answer.  And the questions continue to fire: "How do you know if they are hungry? Tired? Have a poopy diaper? Want to play? Want to play something different”... I start to answer the questions, slowly and methodically. 

"Well, if the babies are crying, that can tell us something may be wrong. The smell of a poopy diaper signals me that I need to change it. If the babies are rubbing their eyes, it might mean they are tired.” 

Still not enough. "But mom, how do you know what your DOING??" 

I actually laughed out loud, thinking to myself, “Did my laugh sound like fear or fun to my 6 year old son? Because that was definitely a laugh out of fear.” 

How the hell do I know what I am doing?! People say it’s 80% how you look and 20% what you know... does this apply to being a parent? Uh.... yeah, I sure hope so. There are so many books and blogs and magazine articles to guide us on how to be the best at feeding, nurturing, and caring for our little tiny humans. 

When we found out we were pregnant with twins, I panicked - the full-on, dive into any book I could find kind of panic..., “Oh my god, I cant do this" 

I bought the books, joined the twins support group on Facebook - yeah... there is a SUPPORT GROUP for parents of multiples. It looks something like this: "Welcome Nattie Meador, she has a 6 year old son and is expecting di/di twins (really cool twin talk that means fraternal twins), a girl and a boy“. My response: "Hi, my name is Nattie Meador and I am going to be a twin mom, and I have no idea what I am doing" You see this picture being painted. 

Anyway, I joined up on all the reading and researching I could do to figure out how to keep two tiny humans alive simultaneously. Looking back now, I pat that sweet expectant mother on the back and say, “Girl, don’t waste your time, you’ll figure out - those babies will guide you.” But, seriously, how do we know what we are doing? A simple but weighted question from my 6 year old. 

As I continued to babble on, haphazardly trying to find the words to answer Will's question proving I, indeed, DO know what I am doing, I realized that I should just be honest. So, this is how it went: "Well, bud, sometimes I don't know what I am doing. Sometimes the babies and you want things I can't understand, or am not totally able to provide. But we always figure it out - right?" A nod from the backseat confirms. Phew. Will concludes, "So, sometimes you just guess and hope it turns out good?" Shit. Another hard one. My response, "Well, over time we get to know one another better, and so we can expect what makes each other happy or sad or angry or frustrated. So, sometimes...yeah, we guess. But most of the time, we just know, because we spend time getting to know each other really well." A smile confirms. Phew. 

As I reflect on this conversation, I realize that the "how do you know what your doing?" question resonates far beyond parenting. It sits at the core of interaction with friends and family, with co-workers and acquaintances. How do we know if we are being a good spouse? A good friend? A supportive co-worker? It gave me moment to pause and really find an answer. Does it lie squarely in the need to connect with one another? The innate desire to connect deeply and authentically with another human? 

I think the answer is yes. At least, I hope it is. Connection is at the core of it all. Setting touch bases with co-workers on certain projects or work that needs to be done. Scheduling a date night with your spouse to reconnect after a busy work week. Finding time with a girlfriend to go for a walk, or sit on the back porch and have a glass of wine - laughing and commiserating over life. Picking up the phone to tell your parents, grandparents, or siblings you are thinking about them and you love them. This is how we know. And, this is how we thrive. When the question pops up, "how do you know what your are doing?" The answer could simply be, "walk with me, let's find out." 

As we continued our conversation, Will became less interested, pivoting the conversation to what my favorite Pokemon character is. But, it left an impression. A laughable reality, that we may sometimes stumble through it all, and that is what makes us the best version of ourselves - that is what makes us human. When you get the question - from a spouse, a child, a co-worker or boss, asking if you know what you are doing, I hope your answer can be, "walk with me, let's find out." 


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