Up until almost five months ago, K3 were my parents only grandchildren until my sister made me the proudest aunt of twin boys. I was so excited to meet them that I tagged along to hospital just after 5am that morning to ‘fetch’ them. You guys I have to remind myself that they’re not my kids. Although I’ve been an aunt for much longer than this (to my niece by marriage), the experience is all new to me. It’s also made me realize a few things about my own take on parenting and the somewhat shocking realization that I wasn’t a very good ‘baby’ mommy. A phase of my life that I’m so happy is over that I won’t waste any guilt on it because, well, it is what it is.
There never was time for me to enjoy my kids as babies because I couldn’t quite deal with the crying, doing everything I thought was expected of me, realizing the enormous responsibility, being overwhelmed at the thought of the honour bestowed upon me to be someone’s mother and figuring out who the new me was. Having to cater to a little persons every whim (or is it wail) because they can’t tell you what they want or need wasn’t the most fun I’ve ever had. All the dirty diapers! Patience never was my best quality trait. Not to mention always being a fine mess and not being able to wear white pants.
Ok maybe I can’t credit my kids for me not being able to wear white pants. I still can’t wear one for a whole day without making a mess of it myself. And then there was the matter of trying to be the perfect mother and faking it as best I could when everything went haywire, you know… For appearances. All in all, I spent too much time focusing on (and getting lost in) doing everything right (by the book) and the “How to’s”, “What to do and What not to do’s” instead of cuddling my babies, looking into their eyes at feeding times as much as possible and just spending time with them. If I thought that having my first kid was tough, I had another thing coming when I became mom of two. Things became that much more challenging.
Truthfully it wasn’t all that bad. I’ve always had a great support system but if I could go back and change a few things… Who am I kidding? I won’t bore you with the details because I time travel is impossible. That and I quite like how my kids have turned out and are continuing to grow. What I will say is that, by the time baby number three came along I was pretty laid back. K3 and I survived babyhood, the toddler phase and we’re in a few different stages of childhood all at once (preschool, preteen and teen! Eek!) and doing “us” instead of conforming to my interpretation of childhood manuals and (what I now realize as) questionable advice that I once relied upon.
Since my nephews arrival I’ve learnt that:
- After fourteen years of opportunities to practice patience, it’s not just something that comes naturally. It’s like a fine wine that needs to mature. I now know that it’s easy to settle down a crying baby if you just focus on that and not a million other things you still want to do. Everything is easier if you just take a load off and remember to breath.
They really do just need to be fed, changed or sleep. No one lied about that one.
It’s not a waste of time nor is it a form of spoiling when you hold your baby ‘just because’.
Feeding time is the best time to bond with your little one. Don’t underestimate the connection you share when you’re looking into their eyes.
Your having to cater to their every whim prepares you to stop and drop whatever you’re busy with for LIFE. As they get older they actually need more attention.
The perfect mother is not a mother but in fact a grandmother. They’ve got much more years of experience on you.
Motherhood is not a contest. Sure there are some women who still believe that, but those are the ones who give themselves a hard time at their own cost. They’ll come around sooner or later. Let’s hope for sooner
You can’t compare one child to another so don’t ever do that. I look at my nephews and see that they develop in different ways. While they’re both on track they don’t do the same things viz. One is almost holding his own bottle whereas the other couldn’t be bothered by raising his hands all that much but he is the ‘talkative’ one. So no score cards please.
No one really expects you to look on point unless you’re Kate Middleton. I’m not saying total neglect is in order but a fine mess is ok from time to time.
Sleeping when your baby sleeps is recommended. Tired moms are cranky moms. Cranky moms make for miserable wives and partners and also leads to added stress.
Hindsight is 20/20. Keith and I are pretty much done with our little family so all that’s left for me to do is encourage other moms and moms-to-be.
Cherish every moment you have with your little ones. They really do grow up too fast.