I’m currently 8 months pregnant with my fourth child and while I’m so excited to meet our little girl, there is so much that I am not looking forward to repeating.
The baby stage is just not my thing and if I’m being completely honest, I’m not that keen on the toddler stage either. It’s taken me a long time to finally admit that and not feel guilty about it.
I’ve never been the type to want to hold another woman’s baby or play peek- a-boo with the 2 year old sitting nearby. I thought I would feel differently once I had my own children, but I still am not a ‘kid person’. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids. I think they are the greatest things on the planet.
I can find the joy in playing 500 rounds of hide and seek and tickle monster. Their tiny high squealed laughs make me happier than I ever thought a laugh could. When I have my new baby, I will enjoy our cuddles and little baby yawns. But when it is over, when my kids no longer ask me to play with them and I no longer have a tiny one to cradle, I won’t miss it.
I know people mean well when they say to enjoy these moments because I’ll miss it when it is over. I understand that some people miss it all; the good, the bad, the down-right horrible moments with their kids. I know kids grow up fast and when they are out of the house, many wish they could turn back time. But I don’t, I won’t and that’s okay.
I don’t miss my daughters temper tantrums or the way she used to smile her huge gummy smile. I don’t miss changing my son’s dirty diapers or the way he used to cradle my face in between both his hands when he had something important to say. I don’t miss having an audience when I use the bathroom or seeing how excited my kids would get over the simplest things.
I think about this new baby and I can say with certainty that I don’t miss the 2, 3, and 5 am wake up calls or nursing on demand. I also don’t miss baby toes or having chubby cheeks to kiss. I used to feel like a bad mother; like something was wrong with my maternal instincts. I worried that maybe I didn’t love my kids enough or truly grasp how special these moments with my young children are.
“You’ll miss these days”, is a phrase almost every older mom repeats. But I’ve come to realize that not missing something is not the same as not enjoying it. I enjoyed nursing and when it was over I enjoyed being overly caffeinated. I enjoy being the most important person in my children’s lives but I look forward to seeing them flourish in their later roles as parents and friends. I don’t miss our past because I am excited for our future and that includes my future when I am no longer a full-time mom.
As mothers we put so much pressure on ourselves to enjoy every moment with our kids. We tell ourselves that one day we will miss these days and we’ll regret it, if we don’t soak up every moment and enjoy every second of it. I don’t believe we have to miss or even enjoy something to appreciate it and take note of the value it added to our lives.
My children’s tantrums and stubbornness as well as their joy and curiosity taught me patience and unconditional love. And as stages in their childhood begin to come to an end, I don’t miss them because I carry the lessons I learned with me and I look forward to the new lessons I get to learn with each new phase of parenting. I have photos and memories of my kids that I will cherish forever, but I’m glad that they are growing up. I am so grateful that I get to raise these four little blessings and I’m also grateful that one day my job will be done.
I know that one day my kids will be older and they’ll need me less. And I’ll be sad… if Hulu still only keeps a few episodes at time because Mama has some shows to catch up on.