....I could save myself some motherhood anxiety.
Not sure why I thought life would get easier as my kids got older, but I sure thought my life as a mother-of-one was hard. If I could go back 19 years, living in a small rented house overlooking the Gulf, with nothing to do all day but hold, nurse, change and love my new baby boy and make dinner at the end of the day for my husband, I'd tell myself to soak it all in. That me - cried and felt sorry for myself, lonely all day after being so busy building my career. I would reassure myself that leaving the career I had sacrificed so many hours up to this point was worth it. Don't look back! Those skills would come into play again in the future. I would tell myself that most of those tears were probably postpartum hormones that would settle down soon. I would encourage me not to miss any La Leche meetings as many friends will come from this pool of people. Keep my heart open. Sit still and enjoy the precious life God has entrusted to my hands. Greet my husband with a big smile and a kiss every night he came in from work.
I did have many moments where I realized that life was good and I was blessed. I soaked in moments of fulfilling happiness and it built my confidence as a mother. I was in the mothering groove. I was a mother of one perfect little boy - I had it figured out.
Then, I had another baby - and oh, poor me, life was so "hard" again. We lived in Alabama, far away from family to help me take care of this new baby and her three year old brother. I did have an idea of what I was doing. I was blessed with an easy pregnancy, wonderful birth, recovery was quick, nursing was easy. Pre pregnancy, we moved into an interesting 'cottage' overlooking a picturesque lake. My artistic spirit had been awaken and everywhere I looked was inspiration. But - ask me then - and I am sure I would tell you life was hard and I knew it would get easier as this kids got more independent. Looking back, I now remember my dad teasing me that I was living "on vacation". I admit, it makes me smile. I would tell myself to soak in the beauty; cherish those visits with my precious friends made in Alabama.
Fast forward - third baby - two weeks late, huge, huge baby, easy labor, easy recovery, sweetest creature to ever live. We lived pretty easily too - our easy home- a two bedroom apartment closer to family with one as full floor bed and the other a playroom. Oh my, what did I have to keep myself busy? My husband did travel every week - (but let's be honest, I'm sure I knew that made some things easier). I was so blessed: a sweet, creative, imaginative home schooled boy in first grade; a bright, artistic, energetic, adventurous two year old girl, and the snuggliest, happiest, chubbiest little guy! She did have teeth problems, and we were facing another move, this time to uncharted northern territories. So, I know I thought life was hard and getting harder. I know there must have been some money concerns, but we always had more than we needed.
Well, we moved again, why should you be surprised to hear: another new baby? #5 I am not sure that I actually thought life was harder. I think I thought it was about the same. Heck I was over 40 - hadn't I earned a little perspective by now? I had moments of bliss, easy life and I knew it. I started to get a glimpse that time was flying by, we should enjoy all, learn as much as we could, share lives, make friends, have experiences worth remembering.
Heck, by the time I am done home schooling #6 God willing- hubby will be retired. But - what a joy! How blessed we are to have this little Missy with us through the years to come. With my oldest leaving for college, she has been a gift to us all to keep busy, keep growing.
Some young mothers complain they are told to slow down and feel pressured to enjoy it. But - take it from this mom, who has been in the trenches a long time - it gets easier, and then it gets harder, then it gets easier, then it gets harder,.... you get the idea. Don't try to rate or evaluate it. Be gentle on yourself, on your kids and give your husband extra love!! Do take lots of pictures, journal & record special moments, keep adorable artwork, and enjoy the ride! Try not to show them your worst while saving your best for company, don't put off dreams for some future time. And instead of getting annoyed at those little old ladies who tell you it goes by too fast - instead - ask them about their children. It is so good for your heart to see an older mom brighten up as she tells you about her children. That will be us sooner than we think.
My oldest is in college and my youngest is still in diapers. I still have many opportunities to listen to my own advice.