Monday, January 23, 2017

Mama Heart Series | Seasons of Motherhood

Hello lovelies! For a couple of weeks now, I've been pondering beginning a series on the blog. I wanted to choose a broad theme that I can touch on each week, hitting a more specific aspect  of that theme with each post. Since I'm deep in the throes of motherhood with two littles under age 3, I figured that would be the best topic. 

That brings us to today, the first installment of the Mama Heart series! My plan is to post for "Mama Heart Monday" each week. If you're a blogger and would like to participate, feel free to post on Mondays about anything that is on your Mama Heart. Perhaps it'll turn into a linkup someday.

My kids are going through a lot of changes right now, and as a mom, adjusting to those changes can be pretty challenging. As a first-time-mom when Max was a baby, I was fascinated every time he reached new milestones, and I very rarely willed time to slow down like so many other moms do. I truly was so excited to see him growing and changing. I celebrated his teeth coming in, I encouraged him to crawl and eat solids, and I wanted so badly for him to walk before his first birthday (although he waited until 15 months to take his first real steps).

After he turned one, I went from being the mom of an infant to being the mom of a toddler, which came with it's own set of challenges as Max became more independent, opinionated, defiant, and incredibly intelligent. My patience was tested virtually every day by my strong-willed firstborn, and I had to learn how to give him the freedom to try new things and do some exploring on his own, allowing him to learn from his mistakes.

During Max's first year of toddlerhood, I found out I was pregnant with his little sister, and I began to prepare myself for the task of being a mom of two kids ages 2 and under. I was so excited and so nervous at the same time. How would I adjust to this newest season of motherhood?  I had already survived the infant season and was knee-deep in the toddler one, but soon I was going to add another baby to the mix. I hoped and prayed that I would figure it out and not screw up too much in the process.

Being a mom to a baby and a toddler has been such a fun and demanding season of motherhood for me. To be quite honest, the baby stuff came back to me pretty easily. The more challenging part of this newest season is navigating my toddler, especially in relation to the new baby. I've already done the baby stuff, but the toddler stuff is where I'm tested and where I feel like I'm doing it all wrong some days (case in point: potty training). I have a feeling that I'll be challenged in new ways once Louisa reaches toddlerhood; I know she's developing her own personality and will throw me for many loops as she figures out her own preferences and quirks. It's a never-ending ride!

Soon I will be the mom of a preschooler, a brand new season of motherhood that I'm excited for (mostly because Max is so excited about it), but one that I'm also struggling with. First of all, HOW did Max suddenly go from squishy little baby to almost 3 years old so quickly?! It really is true when they say that the days are long but the years are short; we have many a loonngg day in our house, but then suddenly months have passed by and I'm wondering where the time went. Victor and I have toured two preschools in the area already, and we will visit a third this week. We're asking questions about curriculum and schedules and enrichment activities, wondering how our very bright son will be challenged academically and how he will interact with his peers. In just a few short months, I will be handing my son (who has only been cared for by his parents, his aunt, or his grandparents) over to complete strangers and entrusting them with his education and care. I will watch him develop an admiration and enthusiasm for his new teachers and friends, and I will witness him foster new interests and skills that I have not personally exposed him to myself. For the first time in three years, I will be away from my son for multiple hours a day, 3 days a week. Thank goodness I have a few more months to come to terms with all of this change that's coming my way.

And that brings us to Louisa, my sweet little Lou-Lou-bird. She's getting ready to crawl and is about to sprout her first tooth (I think...please let it be soon! My poor girl is miserable!). She's getting too big for her infant car seat so we're switching her to Max's old convertible one; this means I need to switch to a different stroller and prepare differently for leaving the house--no more throwing a blanket over her car seat as I clip her into the umbrella stroller--girlfriend needs a coat! She's becoming a more voracious solids-eater, and she's starting to use a cup (though not exactly successfully). She's started letting us know when she's mad, especially when we take away a wash cloth that she could be sucking on. She loves to nurse and hates a bottle, but I know that at some point in the next four months, our nursing relationship will end. I find I'm having a harder time celebrating Louisa meeting her milestones than I did with Max; I am so sad to see her baby-ness fade away. The fact that she's less than four months away from turning one is crushing me. I'm not sure why I'm feeling more sentimental this time around; perhaps it's because she's a girl, or maybe it's because she could be my last baby, or it might be because I know what comes next and how quickly she's going to turn into this little creature who only vaguely resembles her squishy baby-self. No matter the reason behind it, I just want to keep her little forever.

I've only just begun to navigate the ever-changing seasons of motherhood. Right now I'm up to my eyeballs in diapers, Cheerios, toys, and tantrums. I'm sleep-deprived due to my baby needing to nurse overnight and my toddler having bad dreams or needing to be tucked back into bed. But I know that in the not too distant future, I'll be elbow-deep in sports schedules, homework, teenage angst, and curfew enforcement. I'll be sleep-deprived because Max and/or Louisa is out driving or on a date or applying for college and I'm up late poring over their baby books. I'll be longing for these long, loud, seemingly endless days with my baby and toddler.

Late last month, I overheard a couple in the checkout line at the grocery store discussing their kids and how they were going to approach one of them about needing to get a job and how they needed to have a discussion with another about the rules for having friends over to the house when they weren't home ("It's really a safety issue," the mom said). I remember being thankful that I didn't have those worries at this point in my motherhood journey.

I often find myself wondering how I will know that I'm making the right decisions when it comes to my kids, especially during the teenage years. I can't even begin to fathom my kids having their own cell phones and cars and letting them go out on their own. But the truth is, I don't even know that I'm making the right decisions now; I just know that the decisions I'm making are the ones that I feel are best for my kids. I guess that's all we can do, regardless of which season of motherhood we're in. We trust our gut, we put on a brave face, and we love our kids with everything we've got.


Please leave a comment! I would love to hear from you!