Motherhood and Maturity

"Isn't it hard with so many kids?"

It is. It really is. There are days when I'm just grateful I remembered to get some decent pants on before heading out the door. But in a lot of ways, I feel so much more content, confident, and peaceful than when I was a first-time mom.

Don't get me wrong. Life is crazy-hectic. I haven't even added a post about our youngest's actual surgery (after all my talk about wanting to give those searching late at night comfort. Way to go, me!) I haven't taken our monthly picture of our youngest in… 4 months? I don't even know. I was late one month by a couple days. A couple days turned into a month. And pretty soon I decided it didn't really hurt my feelings if I didn't have a posed picture of her every month.

But that's just the point. I have so much perspective now. I don't really care about all those little cutesy things. YES, I would still love to have ONE family picture of us looking normal for once, and I would LOVE to be able to do all the precious little things I see on Pinterest. But I don't consider it a failure if I don't.

I'm booking maternity sessions for a lot of first-time moms right now, and it got me thinking about how amazing it was that first time. Amazing and freaking scary. I find myself almost feeling sorry for the first-time moms and all that is coming their way - the miracle of a baby set aside. There was so much I didn't know. There was so much I felt like I had to prove. And to be completely honest, it didn't go away after my first.

I was 21 when I was pregnant with our first. There wasn't a whole lot of social bantering about my pregnancy, my mothering… every single choice I made. But when I was pregnant with #2, I had more peers having children. Milestones, weight, feeding choices… everything was a topic of conversation. And I totally got caught up in it. I shared each and every detail and felt the need to defend myself. A lot. I didn't even see that a lot of what I did was for others.

It could be the minuscule amount of time I have on my hands now, or age, or something else, but I definitely don't feel that pull anymore. I don't feel the need to constantly mark my mom territory and let people know I have it together. I still love to offer other moms reassurance or brag when one of my kids flat-out amazed me, but I don't feel that sense of failure when I don't appear to be cookie-cutter and awesome. I'm not ashamed when one of my kids is reaching a milestone later than the others did. My motivation is elsewhere now.

I see that I do things with a different goal in mind. I do it because I want my kids to grow up happy and healthy, and have a comforting recollection of their childhood. I want them to reach milestones because it means they're growing, not because it validates me. I want to take pictures so that I can look back at them when they're grown-up and gone and remember how much fun we had. I want to go to the park and play so that we all get out of the house and have fun. I want them to get dirty, cry if they're hurt or sad, laugh when they're happy, and show love because they want to. I want to get together with friends so everyone has fun and strengthens relationships. The extra motivation of trying to appear a certain way is fading and all but gone.

It's funny that it can be considered not taking motherhood seriously enough when you don't do everything the Martha Stewart way. I'm finding the opposite to be true. I'm in tune with my children and myself (as selfish as that sounds). Living life has become more important than giving our family an image. No, I'm not taking motherhood less seriously, I'm taking putting on an act less seriously. It's such a relief to just be a mom and not have to keep up with anyone else. It's wisdom I hope I can carry with me when my full-time mom gig is up… that I live life to live life, and not to add to my social media account or put another notch in my belt. Many people get there in their own way - for me it just took 4 crazy children to settle me down ;)


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