A recent conversation with a friend caused me to think about it some more.
When you are a new mom to a baby, you are too busy to reflect on roles, you function. Barely. Sleep deprived, overwhelmed and all. You don't get to eat because you have to feed the baby. You don't get anything done because it takes ages till the baby burps and then he falls asleep on your shoulder, or your stomach, and you can't move without waking him up. You don't get to take a leisurely shower because you have to give the baby a bath. Then feed him again, change his diaper, give him a bath. In any random order.
People keep telling you it's getting better.
And it is! Baby can hold his own bottle!
When you are a mom to a toddler you are still too busy to think about the possibility that you won't always have to run after your little one in the supermarket or remind him to share toys at play dates. The stroller is still your daily companion. The kid will still - eventually - take a nap, and so will you, if you're really lucky, cause you desperately need one.
"Enjoy them - they are only cute and little for so long" people keep telling you.
The only thing you start to realize is that things keep changing. Eating habits, sleeping patterns, interests in toys and books. The moment you think you've figured out a routine that works, a new one is just around the corner.
Your little one is now a preschooler, and you have great moments. He can walk, he can talk, he can spend some time playing alone, sometimes you can reason with him. Now you feel like you're getting the hang of it. That mom thing isn't so hard after all!
Then he's getting really smart and realizes other kids' tricks, privileges, amount of cars… and dares to challenge you!
"Just wait till they start school" people warn you, "that's when the real limit pushing begins!"
You mean like calling me a stupid cow and sticking his tongue out at me in front of his friends? Saying no when you tell him to do something such as coming inside, washing his hands,…? Thinking that gadget-time is a human right?
That's where we are now. But it's not the fact that it's not all sunshine that's bugging me. I still have a couple of aces up me sleeve. Leadership training, basic psychology knowledge, stuff like that will still come in handy for the next year or so. Common sense if all else fails.
No, I realize it's the beginning. The beginning of an end. The end of "you are the best mommy", the end of "mothering" - and don't get me wrong, I am glad he can finally fasten his &%$£!*@ zip! And it's convenient that he can walk home from school alone, so I just have to make sure lunch is ready when he arrives. Or have him make dinner ;-)
He's gotten so big, smart and independent so quickly.
What is left for me?
Do I suddenly have too much time on my hands to think about my role as a mom? What is it per definition, where do I fit it, how have I been doing, what is my next assignment going to be...?
I don't have any answers right now. I hope for some of your insight, dear experienced readers! For now I am happy to tell you that he brought himself to meet Valentine Barbie!