I recently bought an annual pass to our local zoo. It has a carousel, three playgrounds, and a splash park. The annual pass was a no-brainer. The entire year for a little over double the cost for my family to go one day. It paid itself off in two weeks. We went four times.
It was during that first trip this spring that I looked around and realized it. I am almost there. I have one foot in that sweet spot of mothering. Pea’s JA makes her more dependent on my help on some days more than others. But most days I am living the dream.
I saw the mothers and fathers struggling with babies and toddlers. I saw the strollers overflowing with diaper bags and gear. I could hear the fussiness, the discomfort from the heat and smells, the bored shrieks.
Then I looked down at Pea in her umbrella stroller; Pork Chop strolling beside us–with just me. At one time, if Hubs couldn’t come with us I would have a friend join us so that the adult to child ratio was strictly balanced. But I don’t have to do that anymore.
Pea is tiny and the recent weather changes have been affecting her joints so I don’t make her walk long distances. If that wasn’t the case, she wouldn’t need the stroller. My camera bag and a drawstring backpack carrying drinks and snacks hang from it, sometimes towels if we play in the splash park. But nothing else.
We can run to the store and it doesn’t take a big production to get into and out of the car. A quick trip no longer takes an hour.
We’ve been to the movies twice now. Again with myself as the only adult!
At just five and six years old, I am no longer outnumbered…as I was just one year ago. This is a sweet, sweet age.Tweet
My kids are just fifteen months apart. Those first few years were unbelievably hard. I don’t know how mothers of multiples do it. I was always tired. I was always afraid one would have a meltdown. I was afraid that while I was soothing one the other would run off, so I had a strict “kids are not allowed out of the shopping cart” rule. Now they are at the age where they are spreading their wings and testing their strength.
There were days when going into work was a relief. Now I am grateful to be able to stay home. Tweet
Somehow in the last four months, the sweet spot snuck up on me. The kids can get their own snacks. Pour their own drinks. Have real conversations with themselves and with me.
Sometimes I’m so grateful that my baby girl is small for her age. I’m happy to be able to carry her and push her in a stroller. Time is rushing by and her size helps me pretend it isn’t.
I think about my baby who would have been born next month. I think about how I would have been too far along to enjoy this time as much as I have if things had gone differently.
Mother Nature has an odd sense of humor. The me that tends to shrug and say “it is what is it” disappears when I am pregnant. This me, that laughs easily and has patience to spare goes into hiding. The pregnant me isn’t very pleasant and only gets worse until the baby is born. I’ve met her three times. So have my friends and family. If they didn’t love the regular me so much they would have left me about 7 years ago when I was in my first “first trimester”.
I would not find this stage of mothering as peaceful at nine months pregnant. I would not be as comfortable in my role as the sole caregiver while my husband works away if I was pregnant now.
The hurt is fading, healed by the joy I see in the smiles of my children.
All you mothers vainly dabbing at the spit up your coworker pointed out on your shoulder…
All you mothers who struggled with a baby that didn’t latch on or one that wouldn’t stop nursing…
All you mothers who put your nursing shirt on inside out and did realize it until the confused look on your male boss’s face made you look down…
All you mothers who watch as your just bathed son, releases a stream of pee that bounces off the ceiling and onto your head…
All you mothers who think about leashing your toddler while at the grocery store in case the baby starts to cry…
All you mothers who leave your full cart in the aisle as you calmly carry your thrashing, screaming, wailing three year old past all the condemning eyes out of Target…
All you mothers who run the yellow lights because your infant son only screams when the car stops…or stopped at all the yellows because your infant daughter only screams when the car is going…
Your time will come. That sweet spot is coming. We bleed for them, cry with them, and go insane because of them, and are rewarded with a spot of sweetness and a million kisses.
They still fight. They still need to be smelled to make sure they completely washed. They still need to be helped with their homework. But the weight that has always tipped the balance towards “Ridiculously Difficult” has now shifted into the “Mostly Okay” range. I can live with that.
Where are you in your mothering journey?