Eight years ago, I was in the throes of being a new mom. Brayden was two months old, my husband was working insane hours, and I was trying to navigate motherhood. It was diapers, breastfeeding, getting into a routine, little sleep, and lot of second guessing my abilities as a mother.
Fast forward two years when we welcomed Kenley to our family. I was juggling a two year old, who at that point, wasn’t talking, a newborn AND my husband’s busy season. Thankfully with the help of family and friends, I survived that new stage as well. It all seems like such a haze now. Teething, breastfeeding, diapers, potty training, nap schedules, my own sanity, meal planning, laundry, and cleaning were what my days consisted of. Date nights were hard to come by because I wasn’t willing to get the kids “off schedule”, every day felt like survival mode, and under my breath, I would catch myself wishing those moments away.
I wanted to not be ruled by a nap schedule, by a feeding baby, or by a diaper change. I craved independence for my kids, and was secretly jealous of my friends who got to get up in the morning, wear real clothes, and go to a job.
…hello from the other side…
Everyone told me it would happen. That I would blink, and those days would be over. “They grow up so fast!” It’s true. With both of the kids in all day school, I have noticed it now more than ever.
I started to notice it last summer. I could relax a bit in the pool while the kids played together. They both know how to swim very well, and I didn’t feel like it was more work than fun to take them to the pool. We could be at the airport during busy season, and I didn’t have to keep my eyes on them 100% of the time. We can go to the grocery store, out to dinner, and to weddings and they are fun to bring along! They are great helpers with my nephew, can carry light bags of groceries, and generally follow the rules. This year, they were a little more independent and self-sufficient.
They shower, use the restroom alone, can get drinks and snacks on their own, and can get ready for the day. Bedtime is pretty easy these days, too. They play well together, can settle arguments for the most part rather quickly, and are doing well in school.
It’s a far cry from how my life was 5 years ago.
This new phase of my life has brought on the part where I get up every morning, get to wear real clothes, and go to work. It’s definitely different, and sometimes I miss being at home with a newborn to snuggle and a toddler to play with. When my nephew was over two weeks ago, I played tractors and airplanes with him for as long as he wanted, because I was craving that time back with my own kids. Soon, I won’t have that time with Brock either.
I’m on the other side of the haze, and while parts of it are glorious, it’s also been hard to wrap my head around. How did we get here so quickly?
The other side still has its challenges like teaching the kids responsibility, homework, projects, field trips, limiting screen time, and involvement in other activities outside of school. It’s still a balancing act of school, groceries, work, laundry, cleaning, and spending time with our families and friends. It’s not necessarily easier, but it’s a different kind of hard. Add in my first full time job in 9 years, and we are finally getting into a groove that is working for us as a family.
If you are in the haze, don’t wish it away. It does get better.
If you are on the other side? It’s a pretty sweet spot to be in.
But just like all things, the only thing you can count on is change. I’m enjoying this sweet spot while it lasts, and encouraging those around me to do the same.