Let's start this out by clarifying: I don't have a seven year old. No magical three year olds turning into seven year olds over here, just me bending the ears of some mothers who DO in fact have seven year olds.
Three years ago, when I was a newly minted mother in Los Angeles, I had a baby shower. Schedules worked out in such a way that we had the shower when my little man was about eight weeks old. I was a new mother with a colicky two month old, and I was hurtin. I was in the trenches. I was drowning. I was in over my head. I was all the things.
Jake cried pretty much incessantly from the time he was two weeks old to the time he was eight weeks old. I would sit in my room and nurse him, rock him, sing to him, walk him around, or any combination of those things. And I would wonder if he was ever going to stop crying. I mean this literally. In my sleep deprived state, I thought my baby might just cry forever, and I didn't even realize how absurd that thought was. I had to reason myself away from it. I told myself that I certainly didn't know any adults who cried all the time. Then I considered toddlers: I knew two and three year olds had tantrums, but I was pretty sure they didn't cry all the time either. And with this logic I was able to see some glimmer of hope out of the hole of "my baby spends every waking minute crying." You might think I'm exaggerating. But I'm not.
So this shower was right before I got some reprieve from all the crying, and the narrative was pretty set in my head: I didn't like this whole mothering gig and I was pretty bad at it.
Two of my earliest LA buddies - and now blogging buddies - were at the shower: Blythe, one of the shower hosts, and Kendra, who'd sewn Jake a yellow and black quilt with honey bees on it. Kendra was pregnant with her sixth at the time, and at some point as we were opening presents, someone asked her what item she recommended most for newborns and she said: "A seven year old."
I've thought back to the moment many times over the last three years, and already, even though I have more to deal with now that I have two, it's getting easier. That's a phrase that gets thrown around a lot: "It gets easier." I've spoken with mothers who have struggled with the transition from one to two, or mothers whose struggles peaked at three under four. And then of course, others like me who had rocky rocky initial transitions to motherhood. We cling to that truth: "It gets easier." But we cling to it guiltily because we know we shouldn't wish the time away.
Some of my favorite moments in blogs of mothers who have older (but still little) kids are the "throwback" moments when they talk about what it was like when they only had babies and toddlers at home. So I reached out to a few of my blogger friends and asked them some questions about what life was like when they only had very little children in the home, and over the next few weeks I'll be publishing their responses in a series called "Before I Had a Seven Year Old." We'll kick it off tomorrow.
I hope this little series will encourage new moms who have very recently had their lives turned upside down by motherhood and could really benefit from a seasoned mother's perspective.
If you're a mother of not just babies and toddlers and would like to write/have written your own "throwback" post about what life was like when you were still adjusting to motherhood, I encourage you to link it up here.