Friday, September 6, 2013


This past week it has hit me...little bits here and little bits there...but today it hit me like a load of bricks up the side of my head (which right now is still spinning).
I am officially in a new phase of motherhood. All 4 children are in school and for the time being I am not really working. THAT hasn't happened. EVER.
I realize that we are in the 3rd week of school, but honestly I'm still fighting the vertigo and it's all been about survival.
From the time Luke and I married I have either worked or had tiny ones running around my feet. Usually both. I worked a "real job" (Social Work) until Precious Jewel was born. Then when Mr. Smiles came along a year after her I began babysitting. I've done that ever since. It's either been my own or my own with an assortment of other tiny little feet running around the house. Every two years for the last 10 years there has been a new baby in this house. Four of my own and a crop of others that I called mine for the day. Most days I've loved having a group of little hands "helping." It's why I stayed home. I wanted to be home with my own kids and be there for their first words, steps, discoveries. One way to do that was by caring for other little ones. I love kids. I always have. Their questions, discoveries, funny sayings, they all leave me a happy exhausted. Some days they have just left me exhausted, but you get the point.
But Nater Mater started pre-K full time this fall and Precious Jewel has gone back to school. Last year at home with her was a precious one. Homeschooling with a toddler and infant left me more busy than I could ever have imagined, but at the same time I treasured those hours during the day with her. The choice to send her back is one I'll blog about at a later date.
I've been part of a mom's group since Precious Jewel was 8 months old. Every year I have checked upwards of 3-5 kids in childcare or bounced them on my lap while I listen to and talked with other moms. Today, I went ALONE. No one to check into childcare. No one to duck out of the room with me hoping they wouldn't see me. No one to peel like well-set super glue off my legs. Today was a pivotal turning point. I've heard mentors and speakers talk about enjoying this time while your children are still young. Honestly, in the midst of 2-3 in diapers, tantrums, endless nights of no sleep, sick kids, and scraping by to survive, I didn't really get it. THOSE years of your children not waking you for the 7 time in one single night seemed beautiful and waaaaay too far away for me to take seriously. Let me just get through this hour because the little person on my lap is hell bent on letting everyone know what an excellent set of lungs he was born with because I denied him a piece of candy.
But today I left the Mom's Group early because I had received a phone call from Mr. Smile's school to come and sub. I was excited. This is what I had wanted for this year. To be able to work while they were in school. Maybe finally get caught up a little financially. Pay for 2 kids in braces and save for a third child's surgery. Start saving for a car since the miles on ours is piling up. Have a decent amount of grocery money for goodness sake! (Babysitting allows you to stay home, but the pay is rather terrible). With Nater Mater turning 5 and begging for school, I felt comfortable sending him full-time with the others. I was excited to begin this new phase now that I've been able to drag myself off the merry-go-round of my couch and am feeling at least half-way normal. We need me to work. We always have and that is ok. But, today a new feeling welled up inside me that I hadn't expected.
I no longer belong to that "club" of mommies who have little ones rolling around their feet or dropping things onto the floor. There are no crushed cheerios crunching under my feet or banana crusted on the High Chair (in fact, it is now stowed in the garage). No one is screaming that "he pulled my hair or she won't leave my LEGOS alone or he's being mean!" This year my house is quiet during the day. This is the first time being sick that I've been able to rest and sleep and "recover."
But truth me known, I'm not sure I like it. I miss the sloppy kisses and the drive-by hugs. I miss the paint smeared on the table and the crunching of cereal under my feet. (Well, maybe I don't miss that). I miss the chaos and the noise that a house of many creates.
When they say that time flies or that you blink and the years a gone, they are right. I'm out of the baby and toddler stage now. A stage that has given me loads of gray hair, but a stage that I loved.
Gone are the sloppy kisses. Now I have to grab them while they roll their eyes and wiggle out of my grasp. The older two asked this year that I NOT walk them in the first day of school. "Mom, that's a little embarrassing." I did a double take. When did I become an old mom and when did they become to old to hold my hand? At home, those two still like to snuggle and tuck in, but in public I've joined the ranks of the moms who stand on the sidewalk watching their kids walk inside by themselves because mom is too embarrassing to be seen with.
Time marches on. Time is something that I haven't figured out. Is it an enemy or a friend? So, as I enter this new phase of parenting, I will remember I am blessed. Blessed to have been able to stay home while my children were little like I had always wanted. Blessed that I was given the opportunity to care for other little ones like my own and to give them a stable place to take first steps and discover new bugs and enjoy farm life. I've been blessed with the time I was given with them.
And now, I turn and look forward to the next phase. We are just 2 years away from Middle School. Someone want to serve me up some Prozac?

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