I am currently potty-training my youngest kid…and while the potty-training itself is going fantastically terrible, I am full of hope because I can see the light. Yes! I can see the light at the end of the baby tunnel! This is one of our last “baby” milestones! Since 2009, I have been in a black hole of pregnancy, nursing, feeding schedules, diapering, spit up, tummy time, miscellaneous tiny person goop, Mommy & Me classes, crawling, walking, falling, choking hazards, the list of all-consuming baby minutiae goes on and on….
But once the potty training happens, then Preschool happens, and Mommy is FREE from constraints! Okay, so I’ll always be Mommy and be thinking about them and planning for them and shopping for them, but I’ll be free from the demands of tiny people for nine hours a week, so I’ll take it!
I truly feel as if I have been in a black hole for the past eight years…but I’m making my way out! Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE babies. I LOVED my babies. I will cuddle a baby any time any day, seriously, give me your baby for a bit.
But raising babies was all-consuming for me. We all respond to baby rearing in different ways, so I saw some of my friends have babies and keep on being functioning adults! They amaze me. They are like the unicorns of Mothering. I was not this unicorn. I lost touch with old friends because I was in such a dense fog. I stopped following the news and reading fun (i.e. non-parenting) books. I stopped going to the salon more than twice a year because it was just too much of a commitment. I wore a wet ponytail nearly every day for 7 years, no joke. I had a tiny human strapped to me for six straight years (different human beings, but one was always tied down).
Now that I can no longer restrain all of my tiny human beings, they go in three different directions and I look insane trying to chase them all down. I stopped learning new skills, sports or hobbies because I was mentally and physically tapped out. I know the UPS and USPS delivery people by first name because they bring my Amazon deliveries, which are my Mommy version of shopping.
So much of myself as an adult was let go of because I was so focused on the babies. Part of the problem is that my three babies came in less than four years, but I feel that I would have been in a similar situation even if I had an only child; my social segregation just would have been shorter. With Preschool on the horizon for the “baby,” I finally feel as if the world is opening back up to me!
I can just feel myself coming back! I started coloring my hair again for the first time in ages because I feel that I can finally manage the demands of the upkeep. I cut my hair shorter because I can finally carve out 10 minutes in the morning to blow dry it while the tiny people keep themselves busy/fight with each other. I’ve been part of a book club for several years now, but I am finally able to read not only the assigned book but at least one more each month. These are all simple things, but they are big changes for me, and accomplishing things like this make me feel like more of a functioning adult.
I wrote a post earlier this year about how 2017 is the year that I am taking better care of myself and basically taking back my body and my mind from my children. We are well into 2017 and I am sticking with this. But I fully recognize that this movement is possible for me because my children are finally at a certain age.
For example, over the past 7 years, I’ve been tied to working out either at home or at a location that provides childcare. It’s been okay, it’s been doable, but I recently did a trial barre class through the FCMB Gets Fit series, and I loved it! Yet they don’t offer childcare. So I will wait until the littlest one starts school in September. It’s things like this that are making me itchy for the youngest to start school. Getting a sitter so that I can go to the hair salon/nail salon/dentist/doctor/Home Goods is getting old….it’s also exhausting and expensive.
I know that the school years will bring a whole new host of worries and challenges, so perhaps those of you with older children are just chuckling and shaking your heads at me. In addition to the little potty training one at home, I have a Preschooler and a first grader, so I’ve got one toe in the door of the school years. As for my current life stage, I will fancy myself as the beautiful butterfly emerging from her cocoon of babydom. Because it feels beautiful and I will be imagining those glorious nine hours of September aloneness all summer long…..