Pardon me while I get a little emotional today. One year ago I was packing my hospital bag full of tiny pink clothes and blankets, not knowing what to expect when our little lady graced us with her presence. Would she be healthy? Would she surprise us and come early? Would she look like me? Even already having a child couldn't prepare me for how wonderful it would be to add her to our family. Mac was my first love - he made me a mama. I earned that title after years of struggling to get pregnant and the first year of his life was the hardest year of my life. I really struggled to figure out who I was as a mom, a wife, a friend and a person - there's nothing like having a baby that will make you question yourself personally (and question your sanity). But everything was different the second time around - from an easy labor/delivery, to a quick recovery to the instantaneous bond I felt with her. All that stress and anxiety I felt melted away. It was all so easy and she was so easy to love.
That's not to say that having two kids is easy. By no means do I mean that. It's been hard, but in a different way that that first year as a new parent was. I've only been doing this "mom of 2" thing for a year now, but I feel like I've gained so much perspective. I know that eventually babies will sleep through the night, formula won't hurt your precious child, the cheap diapers leak, it's okay to dress your baby in pajamas for the first 9 months of their life and that's it's almost ALWAYS just a phase. Whenever it feels like it will never get better...it always does. Having two kids (and pets and a job and a husband and a house and a blog) is 80% triage and 20% searching for your lost keys/pacifier/shoe/tractor/phone.
But having two kids has also given me more patience and willpower than I ever thought I'd have. Wait! Don't get me wrong, I still lose my shit ALL the time (like at least once a day), but we're hanging in there (sometimes) (and it could be SO much worse, I think). These two tiny souls push my buttons and test my patience, but I couldn't love them more. I may be teaching them about life, but they're teaching me what life is all about. Life's about baby giggles, catching lightening bugs and bedtime stories about goats. It's about her tiny toes and his first bike and our week on the beach. It's about going from a cool sane mama to a psychotic screaming mess and back again in a five minute span. It's about love and laughter and losing your mind every now and then.
This parenthood thing is hard, but loving these kids is really easy (well, at least it is on days when they nap). Being a mom changes you, fundamentally. Motherhood is both an incredible uniting factor and the cause of a lot of loneliness and isolation at times. Three years in and I'm still trying to figure out how to be me and where my former self went. I'm the best and worst possible versions of myself at the same time. I've lost touch with friends and gained others in unlikely places. I feel left out a lot and awkward in situations where I used to be so confident. I constantly feel like I'm failing as a wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister. My husband is both my best friend and my biggest competition. My newsfeed is full of the stuff of parental nightmares and everything has the power to terrify me these days. I have no idea if I'm doing anything right. I'm still trying to figure it all out and cram it all in. There's never enough time.
And yet time marches on. Our little baby Mim turns one in a couple weeks and I'm torn up about it (as you can probably tell). Watching her grow this past year has been such an incredible blessing. Not a day passes that I don't thank my lucky stars that she's healthy and happy and mine. She's my rainbow baby, my second chance, my love after loss...a surprise when I needed it most. Being her mama has brought me more joy than she may ever know...at least not until she has children of her own. I will freely admit that I was terrified when we found out that we were having a girl. Having a boy comes with it's own set of issues, but being a girl and knowing what's to come as she gets older is scary. My mind keeps flash-forwarding to teenage drama, slamming doors, sneaking out, inappropriate boyfriends and all those things that I did against my parents' wishes. I can't help but hurt for the future her that will get rejected by the boys she likes and hurt by the girls she thinks are her friends. I cringe to know that she'll make all the same mistakes I did and that there might be days, weeks or even longer where she wants very little to do with me. My mommy heart aches already.
But my heart has also expanded a hundred-fold, just having her in it. We may have tumultuous years ahead of us, but we have so many amazing ones right now before we get there and will hopefully have a lifetime more after the hormones subside. Right now, she's my little girl...my last baby. Right now she thinks I'm hilarious and would risk life and limb to cross the room and get into my arms when I walk in the door. I'm desperately trying to soak up every second I can of her, knowing that it's all flying by so incredibly quickly this time around. I kiss those toes and tickle her neck a hundred times a day. I snuggle with her long after she falls asleep and I spend an unhealthy amount of time studying her tiny features. Right now she is so perfect, so loving and kind and trusting. I want to protect her with all the ferocity of a thousand mama bears.
But, as much as I am sad that the baby years are behind us, I'm also really looking forward to what's next for us. I can't wait to teach Mim how to do a cartwheel, watch her first t-ball game, take her on a mother-daughter girls weekend getaway. I want to introduce her to The Great Gatsby, buy her a twirly princess dress and make sure she can drive a stick shift. I can't wait to watch Mac make a basket with a real basketball, teach him how to carve a jack-o-lantern and take him on a roller coaster. I want to be there when he has questions about girls and needs advice about what to wear on a date. I'm excited to watch both kids grow to love and take care of each other and learn how to play together. It may take them twenty years, but I think eventually they'll be best friends. So long as he doesn't eat all her snacks, then there'll be hell to pay.
*Mim's dress is Pink Chicken from Sugar Bit
How are you feeling about motherhood these days?
Is it turning you into an emotional mess too or is that just me?