“Longest Days, Shortest Years.”
I heard this description of Motherhood while I was pregnant. I was on a plane, traveling for work, listening to a parenting podcast. I was doing my research. I was going to be prepared for this. I was 35. Too old to be walking into Motherhood all willy nilly. I had books, I listened to podcasts, I started following all of these parenting accounts on social media. I wanted a sneak peek of what I was getting myself into. That’s when I heard the phrase:
“Longest Days, Shortest Years”
I had NO IDEA what they meant. The saying confused me but I didn’t dwell on it. Fast forward three years later, Oct 2019. I know EXACTLY what they mean. The days are full of whining, negotiating, repeating, kisses, hugs, knocks on bathroom doors, deep breaths for both of us, struggling to get in the car seat, laughter, nursing, bottles, schedules…I could go on. The days are long. There are times when I look at my watch and wonder how is it only 9am and I feel like I have been through an entire day. The days are long. But then…. but then you blink and you are planning a 3rd birthday and you wonder, “Where the hell did the time go?” The years are short.
ObieQ recently turned 3. He is a full-fledged kid, not a baby. His favorite thing to say is, “No, I got it.” He has his own opinions, questions and emotions. There are days when he catches me looking at him and he says, “What Mama?” It must seem strange to him for me to stare at him, but I am in awe. How did this happen? Will all the years go this quickly?
I am taking a pause, a second to reflect. In honor of ObieQ’s 3rd birthday, I am sharing 3 lessons I have learned as a Mama.
You Parent the Child you Get
I had plans y’all. ObieQ was going to be the ideal mix of my husband and I. Love books like his Mama. Level headed and composed like his Daddy. God had different plans. He did inherit my love for reading but I also see signs of anxiety already. He is a thinker like his Daddy but also has his sweet tooth. All of that I could deal with, but then he’ll do something and I’ll literally say aloud “Whose child is this?”
I learned early that I couldn’t parent my dream or ideal of a child, I had to parent the one I have. Once I came to that realization things got easier for me. I follow ObieQ’s lead and my role as a parent is to guide him.
You Can Feel Multiple Emotions at the Same Time
Most nights I am counting down to bedtime. After ObieQ goes down, I pour myself a glass of wine. I catch up with my husband. Watch “my shows” on DVR. Open up my iPad to do work. It’s ME time. I am happy to have this. I also watch the baby monitor like a psycho and look through pictures and videos of our day. I’m thrilled he is down for the night AND I am sad because I miss him. Both of those feelings are true.
That can be confusing. You might even feel the need to define your feelings. Am I desperately in need for some alone time or do I want to cuddle with my baby and kiss his little feet all night?
First of all, I wanna do both.
That’s how this goes. You can be excited to go back to work after your maternity leave and cry at your desk because you miss your baby. You may want to spend more time with your kids and shiver at the thought of being a SAHM. You can love the overall idea of being a Mama and resent the emotional labor of always being “on.”
This Motherhood thing is full of emotions and sometimes those contrasting emotions happen at the same time. You are not alone.
Being a Mama has Changed the Trajectory of My Life
Let me set up this timeline for you. I was pregnant with ObieQ less than 2 months after I got married. I started Mama Fresh 7 months after Q was born. My life has not been the same since. Becoming a Mama helped me launch a business centered around families. I have been on the cover of newspapers. I am a contributing writer at a highly respected magazine. I have a tv/radio portion of my career that is taking off more than I could have imagined. Becoming a Mama was a pivotal moment across the board in my life.
When I run into people that haven’t seen me in 4+ years and they ask, “What are you up to?” I do my best to summarize the wonderful life I have now. Often they are confused. Where did this come from? They knew me as a free willed woman that enjoyed life, kicking it hard. The woman they knew doesn’t fit the mold of the “Classic Mom”. Guess what? They are right. There are days I am a hot mess express. Most days I am juggling 1k things. I lean heavily on my Mama Village. I am not a picture perfect Mom and THAT is what has lead to my success. Like so many other Mamas out there, I am doing my best. Becoming a Mama has taught me to treat myself with kindness. Love myself in the same unconditional way I love my child. That love of myself has been the biggest gift so far. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings.