Scattered Thoughts on Mothering These Little People

29 July 2015

Sometime in the last year Jake has grown up into like a real KID.

I'm not used to mothering a real KID. For a long time motherhood was very toddler-y. I could engage him in activities, plop his sister down to watch him, and go along my merry way of interrupted semi-productivity.

Then I got sick with baby 3, and when I came out of the haze, Jake was a kid. A kid who plays with real legos and goes to swim lessons.

This makes me a mom who steps on legos and drives her son to activities.

I was pretty suited to toddler motherhood. I don't really like going places, and so for those couple of summers when all my child needed was a bucket of water and a porch, and I could prop up my feet with some enriching chick lit, I was in a pretty good spot. That just can't happen everyday, now that Jake knows the word "boring."

He's found out so much about the world that I successfully obscured for a very long time. He knows about candy and toys and where to buy them and who has money to buy them. He knows that certain restaurants have playplaces and others don't.

Lucy June has settled into a phase of lovely high pitched screams when she doesn't get her way and wants to do everything herself. Buckling the car seat: "MINE DO IT!" Spreading butter on her toast: "MINE DO IT!" Putting on her pants: "MINE DO IT!" It's as...endearing as it sounds.
And I'm learning. I'm learning how to understand what our family rhythms will look like. I'm slow to adapt and little people change quickly. I mostly recognize "phases" only in the rearview mirror.

Jake will always be the one to break me in.

This hurts me for him. I've needed a lot of breaking in. And the more I tread down the path of parenthood, the more breaking in I need.

Motherhood seems like such a paradox: Enjoy the little things without being overwhelmed by all the little things. Slow down and embrace today, but be ready to change tomorrow because your kids are growing so fast.
There's a necessary fluidity to mothering littles, and that fluidity can drown you or it can buoy you up.

For the past six months, I've been drowning. We've overcommitted ourselves in a variety of ways. This whole pregnancy feels kinda like an overcommitment.

Honestly it only takes about one kid to feel overcommitted to this whole mothering gig.
I know from talking to many many mothers that preserving time for yourself and a sense of yourself is a constant struggle. But if I'm learning something in this 33+ week of pregnancy in Houston's summer glory: sometimes struggling isn't the answer.

I want to learn the strokes of motherhood. It's easy enough for me to swim when the time is right, but in the difficult seasons I'm still learning how to float.

We have a lot going on in these last six weeks of pregnancy: there are some pretty big waves on the horizon. But the thing about this pregnant body: it floats. It floats pretty darn well, if I let it.
Many thanks to this lovely little friend who let me use the images she took when her family came with us to our creek house in South Texas a couple weekends ago.

18 comments :

  1. Ah, I dreaded the day when my eldest learned the word "bored."

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  2. Kate this is so beautiful. Your analogies are perfect and poignant. Float on.

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  3. Yes, so perfectly said! Exactly what I'm experiencing/ feeling right now.

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  4. This is beautiful. My oldest is starting to turn into a little boy and be less of a toddler. It's a whole new world that I need to adapt to. Always stretching...

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  5. I too often recognized phases in the rear view .. especially when I was expecting number 3.. It was hard for me that transition, but if it's any consolation.. Almost 5 years later and some time to breath has made transition with our number four feel like we are all moving in slow motion in a good way. Hang in there.. It's hard, but good.. Mostly in the funny rebelling kind of way!

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    1. Retelling not rebelling.. But I guess having four kids is kind of rebellious?

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  6. Really enjoyed this post, and this kind of writing is the reason why I follow you! Very poignant, especially for someone so "new" at motherhood. Best of luck with the next 6 weeks!

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    1. Thank you thank you! I feel very "new" at motherhood. I wonder when that will change...?

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  7. Sometimes the strokes of motherhood mean giving up my idea of what I thought motherhood would "be like", and just accepting life as it is. It is so hard!! We just had #7 a year ago, after an almost 8 year gap, and I'll just say-it's crazy! Teaching kids to drive, starting to talk about college, AP exams, sports for everyone, high school, middle school, and elementary school......and a baby! Exhausting but rewarding in so many ways. I am (as I am sure you are) pushed to my limits, but somehow just keep going.

    I love reading your updates. Good luck!

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    1. I'll admit I'm scared of that caboose baby that comes when you're totally past the momentum of newborns every two years, and I love hearing your honest thoughts on it. I used to look for the mothers who had it together after the first few kids and take away the "it gets easier" lesson, but now I kinda look for those moms who say "it stays crazy" because that helps me embrace today a lot better instead of just...waiting it out

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  8. I've enjoyed reading your blog for the past couple of years, but this is my first comment. Hang in there! I've been there. God reward you for your willingness to die to yourself for your children. This is actually the only means to true happiness. Keep going! :)

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  9. Our version of "mine do it" is "I wanna help!" Fun times...

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  10. Our version of "mine do it" is "I wanna help!" Fun times...

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  11. I'm just so right there with you. My life seems to be defined by phases right now and I struggle to just BE in the current {keepin' with that river metaphor} as I reflect on the phase that just passed or anticipate the one to come. I depend so much on my kids' resilience and forgiveness and, luckily, they seem relatively unfazed even on the days I feel most inadequate or overcommitted. Keep on floatin', lady! I think you're great!

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