I’ve been a mom now for more than five years. This little girl’s birthday reminded me of that recently. It stopped me in my tracks, to be honest. How have we been doing this for so long?
I am happy to report that my young family is thriving these days. Gone are the days of struggling to sleep through the night (though we do have a visitor or two to our bed sometimes), strict this-kid-will-turn-into-a-deamon-if-not-asleep-by-7:30 bedtimes, and even potty training (though it seems to always be a work in progress). It’s been a crazy train, but now it’s turned into something else.
This change has happened slowly and suddenly. I find parenting always to be paradoxical. As you phase out of one stage and its challenges, you find yourself in a new phase with (yes) new challenges. We’re in a good rhythm of preschool and extra child watching, though that brings the worry of more expenses and time management. I love my free mornings when the kids schedules align, though I have more than enough to accomplish on my to-do list during these brief hours. And sometimes, strangely, I long for those baby years, where walks around the neighborhood in the Ergo comprised our morning hours.
I imagined this time without the kids to be productive and distraction-free, allowing me to work on my editing and writing projects without interruption. But I forgot that I might want to socialize, run errands, or exercise during this time. So far I feel double-booked, feeling the pull of work and all the other stuff. Again, it’s a luxury to have such a problem, but it’s not what I expected.
Another feeling that has come on suddenly is the desire to be more put together and more proactive in having time out of the house with my husband. I’ve been on a bit of a shopping spree lately, updating my clothes, shoes, and accessories. I want to look nicer because I feel more together. Like adult life has finally resumed after a long (years-long) pause. And I want to get out and enjoy time with my super-awesome husband more than twice a year.
Another thing: Now that there’s less time with my kids, I want to be present with them in the afternoons. I’ve noticed myself checking my e-mail less during rest time, opting to go phone-free to the park, and choosing to do more interactive activities than I had engaged in this summer. The autonomy my kids and I now have most mornings seems to be bringing us closer together, interestingly.
Though this transition period from little, little kid (pre-preschool) to little kid hasn’t been too difficult, it hasn’t been as straightforward as I once thought it would be. I spent this week reminding myself that what we are going through IS a transition, and that I need to give myself time to adjust. By November, I am sure we’ll be used to it.