April 25th. 9:30 p.m. The girls are in bed and I’m sitting here considering the end of our April birthday blitz.
Violet, who has to wait another 3 months for her big day, is certainly not finding it too fair that her sisters are getting all this attention, this money, these gifts – while she is told her turn will come soon enough. But it will – too soon.
Tonight we had our traditional restaurant supper at a local favourite (family friendly) spot for Meaghan’s eighth birthday. Almost exactly two weeks ago we were trying a new place because Layla decided she really wanted sushi for her tenth birthday.
By the time July roles around, I will have a five year old, an eight year old and a ten year old. My oldest is ten. TEN. My youngest will start school next fall. It feels like we’re entering a very new phase of this parenting/family gig.
In the professional word, ten years experience is pretty darn good. You’re beyond the junior years, have a decent range of experiences, both successes and failures, have acquired new skills… maybe you’re even on a fast track towards a senior position. You are what some call mid-level.
So what does it mean to be a mid-level mom?
Lots of perspective and some regret…
We’re getting further and further from the days of diapers and nursing, sleepless nights and inhaling the delicious smell of a baby’s little head as you hold them and rub you cheek on their super soft hair….
While there is much to appreciate about older kids, I loved having babies and there are moments where I miss those early days and maybe even regret not enjoying them more (Hindsight!). Whether it’s because I was wishing precious time away or jumping (sometimes too) quickly to the “next” step… or not appreciating that my little people presented simple challenges.
Parenting my bigger people… is getting more complicated.
freedom and opportunity…
Long past diaper bags and baby toys – we’re also finished with afternoon naps. While very much appreciated by whichever one of us volunteered to nap with the “baby” on a lazy weekend afternoon, naps were also quite limiting for family activities and outings. It’s now time to start discovering new things and introducing the girls to different activities. It’s incredible (and sometime frustrating…) to watch them as they discover their own interests, to push them when they want to give up, and to teach them bigger ideas and skills. It’s rewarding to see their “aha” moments of understanding and clarity and their proud moments following accomplishments.
… and still plenty of confusion!
It’s also time for awkward conversations, life lessons… so. many. teaching. moments. And for me personally, the important challenge of guiding them to be good people (kind, responsible, courageous, critical thinkers) in the right way, in the right time. What should they be doing/watching/listening to? How much time should they spend with friends/family/doing activities? How do I teach them to be wary of strangers, but to expect good from people? How much do they really need to know about mature subjects? Am I a good example? Do I yell too much? Am I too soft? How do I be the parent they need and build the foundation for the close, deep and honest relationships that I hope to have later on…?
… and the list goes on.
As a mom with “ten years of experience”, I may have built some good knowledge, experience and insights. But I know that I still have so much to learn. Honestly, once I’ve figured out one phase, or found something that works — things change. And each one of my children is different. Not the same strengths, nor the same weaknesses. Not the same interests or dreams. Not the same needs. I’ve learned (and continue to learn) to be flexible, to adapt my approach… to them.
to Layla… my passionate, curious, precocious, sensitive, loving, impulsive ten year old.
to Meaghan… my kind, affectionate, goofy, observant, meticulous, keen eight year old…
…and to Violet… my sweet, playful, easygoing, silly, determined, expert clean up evading almost five year old…
I’m overall happy with the job I’m doing but I’m not perfect. I’m still figuring this “mom” job out, one day (week, month, season, year) at a time. Making mistakes, learning new tricks, falling down, getting back up again. Never giving up.
This is my most important job. I take it very seriously and want to do my best for them. Despite 10 years of experience. Because of 10 years of experience.