On Two years into Brand New Motherhood
My son turns two this week. It’s absolutely shocking. It’s shocking because not only do I have NO IDEA where two full years have gone and not only am I absolutely amazed at all the growth and changes one little human has undergone… but also I’ve been going at this “mothering” thing for two full years now. Has it gotten easier? Yes. Has it gotten easy? No. Has it gotten harder? Also, yes.
It’s great because my son has learned in many ways to express himself and his desires. This makes it a lot easier to understand what he wants. This also means my son has learned to express himself- strongly and adamantly- and his emotion is bigger than his logic. This makes it a lot harder to help HIM understand what he truly wants and why he can’t always have it. It’s great because he has learned to walk, run, explore, climb, and access so many things on his own in contrast to needing constantly held, lifted and assisted. It’s terrifying because he has learned to walk, run, explore, climb and access so many things without a clear internal signal for safety and precautions. It’s great because he has taken on a love for things like trains and cars and digging in the sand and playing pretend. It’s humbling because I see his own individual personality emerging and I experience daily that while we are such a part of one another, he is also so very much his own independent person. As far as motherhood goes, well, I do just about as much guessing and self-doubting as I did when he was an infant… it just looks different in each season. Instead of worrying if he’s getting enough milk, I’m worrying about what he’s picking up off the ground to try to sneak into his mouth. Instead of worrying about him sleeping safely, I’m wondering how the hell to just get him to sleep without another epic battle. Instead of wondering when I’ll be able to get off the couch and not be nursing or holding him during a nap, I’m wondering how I can make him exhausted enough to settle down on the couch and cuddle with me.
This weekend it was fun to see him in two different party elements. First, with our family. He soaked up the attention, the grandparents sneaking him a treat instead of what was on his plate, and the excitement of opening up new gifts and using exclamations like “Oh wow!” and “How cool!” The following day, it was so fun to watch him with his little toddler friends as they negotiated in toddler gibberish, threw sand and water, and traded off meltdowns over the one specific truck (that looks like all the rest in my opinion.) So young and yet so strong-willed and committed to the cause. So individual and yet so tied to the friendships and interaction with others. A son I have known for two years and yet is always evolving and showing new parts of his personhood. Two years of motherhood so far… and I still marvel everyday. I marvel at the way my son seems to add a new skill, word, or other expression each day. I marvel at how we continue to grow as a family. I marvel at how much I still don’t understand who I am in this new role and yet how much about myself could only be discovered in this place and time. Two years, and yet brand new.
I see moms posting about “When will I feel ____” or “Will I figure out x?” And I want to share that both yes and no. Yes- you’ll understand your child more. You’ll gain confidence in repeated successes with your child. You’ll start to feel your old interests and passions and personhood creep back in with more pockets of mental space and clarity. But also no. Motherhood comes with an ever-evolving bundle of things to experience and learn. To achieve and to seemingly fail and need to try differently. You’ll find yourself tired in new ways. You’ll find yourself wondering who you are in new contexts… but I don’t say this to be discouraged. I say this to remind us all that motherhood is a journey. It doesn’t get easier, but it does. It doesn’t get harder, but it does. It doesn’t become perfect, and yet it is. Rest momma.
Not just sleep rest (but do that too), but mentally and emotionally. Rest. Rest your fears and worries. Rest your comparison and doubts. Rest the burden of doing things “right” and rest in the ways your child- no matter how old, big, developed- shares this journey with you. Because none of us are experts and our children, well, they aren’t all the same. The more we are in this together, the more we all benefit.