Archives for July 2015

Not That Mom Anymore

Everyone tells you that kids grow quickly. Too quickly. Blink your eyes and they’re different people. What they don’t tell you is how you change right along with them, and how quickly you forget everything that came before.

I don’t mean that you literally forget everything your kids have done up until this point. That obviously isn’t true. But you do forget, mostly, all the little day-to-day realities of life with younger children. Even things that seemed to be life-and-death, and you were tremendously worried about, fade from your mind as they’re replaced with all new life-and-death, tremendous worries. Worries about birth are replaced with worries about breastfeeding. Worries about breastfeeding are replaced with worries about sleep. Worries about sleep are replaced with worries about food. And on and on and on … until (I imagine) the day you die.

I was going to write until the day your kids leave your house, but my guess is that the worries don’t end even then.

I remember this feeling of deja vu when my second child, Jacob, was a baby. He would enter a new stage and I would remember going through it before. Sometimes I would remember exactly how I handled it, sometimes I wouldn’t. Sometimes the solutions that worked for my daughter worked for my son, sometimes they didn’t. And once again, as soon as one problem was solved or outgrown a new one arose to take its place.

kids playgroundNow my kids are ten and almost seven. They go to school. They swim. They get themselves out of bed in the morning. They even get their own snacks. They still require adult supervision, of course, but I’ve become much more relaxed over time. They are no longer a threat to their own health and safety. If they’re both home and the house is quiet for a moment I don’t panic, I enjoy it, knowing that the peace will end soon.

Sometimes I have flashes of life as it used to be. I hang out with the mother of a two-year-old and we have to constantly move to keep the toddler in our sights. Our conversations are interrupted mid-thought as she sprints off to rescue her little one from imminent danger. At our house she asks if it’s okay to put the diaper in the kitchen garbage. Setting up a time to get together 1:00pm doesn’t work because it’s nap time.

I also have moments where I realize I act clueless around moms of younger kids. Like I offer whole grapes to an 18-month-old. Or markers to a two-year-old. Or I wear white pants to a playdate. Or really, I own white pants at all. I’m no longer in the habit of keeping my mind on high alert for disaster. And I have forgotten a lot of the little pieces of information that used to be at the top of my mind. The rules for keeping small children happy and alive.

I’m just not the same mom I used to be. That doesn’t mean I’m worse. It also doesn’t mean I’m better. It just means I’m different. I’m worried about nurturing a tween girl’s emotional well-being and helping a school-age boy learn to swim and ride a two-wheeler. I’m concerned about questions like at what age you let a boy use a men’s washroom by himself when you’re out in public, whether a two-piece bathing suit is appropriate for a 10-year-old, and how to balance my kids’ needs with mine as I head back to school full time.

Life has changed, and I didn’t even really notice it happening. It just … did.

For a while I was sad to move out of the stage of parenting babies and toddlers. I thought I wanted a third child. I know that if that had happened, I would love and cherish that baby. Now, though? I’m kind of glad it didn’t. I like being the mom of the “big kids” on the playground. I like having a little more freedom to finish my conversation with a friend. And I love not having to wake up when my kids decide it’s time to wake up.

The mom I am right now is a good mom to be.

kids and mom

Silenced

I’ve been feeling silenced lately.

downloadFor one thing, I’m going to start full-time school to become a teacher in September. Which is neither here nor there, I suppose, except that I am feeling more conscious about what I publish. Of course, I have always written blog posts assuming that anyone could be reading them. Family. Friends. Colleagues. My boss. But teaching adds a new dynamic.

(Side note – if you’re a teacher how do you deal with your online presence? I’d love to hear.)

For another thing, my kids are getting big. So. Freaking. Big. Every day they’re a little bigger. Writing about them is harder. Hannah is 10 now. I was a 10 year old girl once. I remember the feeling of perpetual embarrassment. I hardly want to contribute to that. Or, at least, contribute more to it than I naturally will on the basis of being her mother. Obviously, given my extreme lack of coolness some level of embarrassment is inevitable here.

On top of all that, it feels like there isn’t much going on in my life at the moment. I had a bit of a rough go at the beginning of the year, between being laid off and having my car totaled and jumping through the hoops of applying to university. Before that, my life was out-of-control busy for three months. I was volunteering at a middle school three (or more) days a week, taking two classes, working from home and parenting. I got out of the habit of writing because there literally was no time. And then there was a big let-down after all the busy, and the ennui of unemployment and dealing with the car accident.

I am starting to bore myself now.

Here’s what’s going on in my life right now. I am enjoying the laziness of having a summer off with my children before I start school. My daughter Hannah has started tae kwon do and she’s rocking it. She also has grand plans to write a book. It will be the first of a series, and she says it will be fantasy/mystery/horror. My son Jacob has finally, at almost seven years old, decided that he can put his face in the water after all. He is taking swimming lessons and he is just the cutest. He reads amazingly well and he’s super-excited about grade two.

My garden is not doing all that well. It’s been very hot and dry this year. Also, I suspect that there is a rat that is eating my plants. Ugh. At some point I will figure out what to do about that. For now I’m just glad it’s staying outside. And I’m also glad that I have a cat.

I just finished another set of tap dancing classes. I love it. I’m not very good, but it’s so much fun.

I’m looking forward to school.

I had an article published elsewhere. The photo they chose to represent my husband and me slays me.

Some days I write poetry. Some days I play video games on my iPad. Some days I read.

Things are good with me.

How are things with you?

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