I love looking back and remembering how I felt during different stages of this Motherhood journey. I wrote the following post days before Peyton’s first birthday. She was baby number four.
Reading this post from my old blog is a great reminder of how quickly time passes. A reminder I needed today, as I sit here rocking baby number 6, who is having a tough day. Rock him, love on him, let the big kids watch a cartoon or two, and try not to stress…this too shall pass.
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(originally written March 2010, reposted February 2014)
I have been thinking a lot lately about how much easier it is to be a mom of a baby this time around. Peyton is a pretty easy baby, but I don’t think she’s really any easier than the other children were as babies.
When Miriam was born I was given the only job I’d ever wanted; being a Mom. It was an amazing first year and I loved her more than I ever thought was possible. However, there were so many things I was unprepared for that year. First there was the stress of having an infant that would not sleep on her back and a first time Mommy afraid to allow her to sleep on her tummy. Then, once I finally gave in a allowed her to be a tummy sleeper I would check to make sure she was breathing all the time.
There were so many choices to make that year and I was always second guessing myself. There were people telling me I’d spoil her by holding her all the time or by allowing her to sleep in our bed. I’d take her to church and leave her screaming in the nursery while everyone told us it was “good” for her and for me. It was such a relief when Rob put his foot down and said “no more,” yet I still wondered if we were crazy for being the only people who wouldn’t leave their baby to cry in the nursery.
Learning to balance my jobs as wife, mom and homemaker was difficult. When Miriam didn’t want to eat people food and only wanted to nurse I chased her around the house all day long trying to get any amount of food possible in her little mouth.
It was hard battling my selfishness; I was used to being able to put myself first for at least part of each day–you know doing those important things like showering, eating, and using the bathroom! We lived far away from our families and while I had friends and a church I loved I was still very lonely a lot of the time that year.
Then Rebekah came along and Miriam was only 17 months old. I basically had two babies so life was really busy during the day. I loved having them so close together and for the most part I was learning not to worry so much about my choices as a Mom. I was happy spending the day taking care of my girls and by this point was pretty used to juggling our schedule to get done what I could and letting go of the rest; I’d learned that showering was overrated.
But, during this time Miriam was diagnosed with Reactive Airway Disease. Up until the diagnosis and often after it we’d be up in the middle of the night many nights a week trying to help her breathe, changing the sheets she’d thrown up on and giving her a middle of the night bath to clean up the mess. I was one tired Mommy. We were busy toward the end of Rebekah’s first year packing, selling our home and moving back to Charlotte.
Then Michael came. He was an easy baby; happy and smiling. I no longer second guessed myself about spoiling a baby. He lived on my hip, in his sling, or in his mei tai while I chased around his older sisters. A lot of his first year is a big blur to me; while he was easy I was pretty stressed trying to figure out how to parent a very tough toddler. Trying to navigate her tantrums and mood swings really made it difficult to enjoy the baby. I feel like I missed him in the busyness of life.
Then came our sweet Peyton. This time more than ever I knew that I better enjoy her first year because it passes all too quickly. I’ve really done that; I’ve treasured every moment cuddling and nursing her. I’ve loved laying beside her in bed at night and enjoying the closeness. I’ve not minded the middle of the night nursing sessions, I’ve been happy for the moments to dwell on her sweetness each night. I’ve dropped everything to hold her and not stressed about what I “should” be doing instead.
She’s another baby that won’t eat real food, but this time it doesn’t worry me at all. Eventually she will learn to eat, until then I know nursing is enough. I’ve also found the best baby invention ever; my wrap. I can actually get chores done and do school with her siblings while she’s tied safely and happily on me. She loves to watch the vacuum and mop do their jobs while she is perched high up on my back.
Another huge difference this time is the blessing her older siblings have been this year. They all adore their sister. There is no more leaving a baby to scream in a crib or bouncy chair while I take a shower. Miriam loves to spend those few minutes being in charge of keeping baby happy. When the other children were babies I’d cook dinner with them crying at my feet. This time I can hold Peyton safely on my back in her wrap and not worry about her being cut or burned; but more often than not she’d rather get down and wander into the den to play with her siblings while I am busy in the kitchen. Somehow they too seem to know babyhood is fleeting and are quick to spend time entertaining her.
I’m now used to being the crazy mom that keeps her little ones with her at church and since I have a happy, well adjusted 6 year old who loves to go to her Sunday School class I’m not worried about it at all. We are blessed to live close to our family; not only do I have a support system and a network of people who love my kids and are willing to help us in any and every way, but in them I also have my closest friends. Those early years of extreme loneliness have been replaced not only by relationships with family and local friends but also with the joy of having older children. There is no shortage of people to talk to in our home!
God is good! And being a Mom the 4th time around is such a blessing!