Once upon a time, I remember having a conversation with my older sister Andrea. I was saying that being a mom of babies is hard. Not because babies are hard. Or that working and having babies was particularly hard. Or even that all those hard things--sleepless nights, mischievous disasters, teething, nursing, sicknesses---were hard. I mean, they weren't easy, but they weren't crushingly-I-can't-handle-this hard. But somehow, it was still hard. I was trying to explain my feelings to my sister. She instantly understood.
Being a mom of really young kids is lonely. Even when you have lots of friends and family around. You don't want to mess up schedules. You don't want to be out too late. You have to be pretty on top of feeding schedules. Your life can't always bend to a social calendar. Even when you are trying to spend time with other young moms like yourself, who are doing the exact same thing. And then, your BABIES. You love them. You kiss them. You feel the biggest emotions of love for them. But...they don't have conversations with you--at least not conversations where you can have any sort of real outlet.
My sister sagely said that it would get better in a couple of years. YEARS?!?! But I wanted to fix it right then! So, of course, you do what everyone else does. Find a few little outlets in church, plan a few girls night outs, have some playgroups---anything to try and feel like you are socializing amidst the constant clamor of noisy babies.
I feel like I'm moving on from that. Not entirely, of course. Playgroup is still not some book club or philosophical discussion. It's still getting in a few sentences of conversation around lots of child care and sharing lessons. But I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, in a way, I guess. Not that this is something I ever wanted to get out of as fast as possible. It's not some major disaster I had to immediate alleviate. It was just a tugging, that was sometimes satiated better than others.
This year I started Joy School. Seeing Ruth act so grown up with her friends and seeing the kind of curriculum she can grasp--it is amazing. She starts Kindergarten next year. I will be dropping her off and coming home to...babies (so maybe this phase doesn't really ever end, haha?) and having pretty big conversations with her every day.
I am also currently teaching a ton of piano lessons. I have been talking with moms back and forth all week long. And I'm in the primary presidency now. I spent an entire hour on Tuesday night having real conversations with people (again, over the heads of my children, heh).
It might not make real logical sense in a printed format sort of a way, but I feel like I am moving away from those quiet, lonely first years of motherhood. Maybe it's because I've thrown caution to the wind and I call people up for playgroups and parties whenever I feel like it? Or maybe it really is that my little babies are starting to not all be little babies anymore.
I makes me quite sad, actually. Today my day was full. Yesterday my day was full. And I'm talking, wake up and start running at 6am and have no breathing space until 10pm and can't even fit a quick trip to the store for milk, type of full days. Babies slow you down from that. You don't have daily activities with babies that you are running to and fro from. But this year, we do have quite a few activities and I feel invigorated and I am loving it so far.
So thank you, to those sweet, sweet baby stages of motherhood infancy that were quiet and serene and all nestled in the beauty of home. Even if another baby comes along, I don't think it will ever quite be like that again. I'll have older kids to take to school. Activities to get them to. I will miss those days. Those days of loneliness that I personally grew from, but especially my heart grew from. My motherhood sprouted there.
I have to say though, boy am I excited for all these big learning stages ahead! I worried about financially investing in Joy School just in case I was not quite up to the task of enjoying those preschoolers. But if it keeps up like this--it's going to be a highlight of this stage of life, for sure! And hopefully I can learn to soak in those crazy twilight days of toddlerhood before we move on to kid-hood (thats totally a thing), and continue in this crazy motherhood growth experience. And, so I've heard, when other babies come along, those baby moments will be that much sweeter because of the knowledge of how quickly it goes. Not that we didn't always know that, but we'll have a big ol' kid around to remind us of just how quickly.
Gosh I love my kids. And I am SOOO happy I get to stay home with them, through all of it.
Now, Joy School. The first month of lessons (twice a week for two hours) are all in finding joy in everything our bodies can do--the senses, the movement, etc. Today we sang songs, put together puzzles, colored self-portraits, did action poems, read books from the library list, and answered questions about our bodies. Luckily, I had a redhead, blonde, and myself to easily show personal differences, haha :). Ruth ATE UP the songs and the actions. Maybe we've lived around Latin culture long enough--but those hips sure know how to 'bend'! The girls were in heaven, and Will actually stayed really entertained as well. It was so much fun.
I have really big hopes for joy school. I felt really inspired from this blogger's post http://www.71toes.com/2015/08/the-joy-of-joy-school.html
I started reading her blog on a recommendation from my sister when I was struggling with Ruthie and some of her strong willed-ness(? ha!). Then I bought the blogger's parents' parenting books. Five of them. And read them all. While it didn't wave any magic wands and make me a perfect mother (I wish!) it did give me so many ideas and extra perspectives and I just have really enjoyed all of it. And ever since my sister shared a quote with me about children's values being cemented by the age of 8 (no clue which apostle, I'll get back to ya on that one) I've been extra careful and studying extra hard to see what I can do for my young children. This fit perfectly into some of the ideas I had floating around in my head. I don't come up with ideas like this. But luckily, other people do so I can use them! Also, my mom never did a 'preschool' per say, but we had lots of songs and activities that all of us can remember that helped cement values in our lives--and I am so thankful for that! Janeen Brady's Safety Kids (I can still sing several of those songs word for word), or Standin' Tall---I sing When You Have a Gratitude Attitude to my kids still. (which, by the way, Megan, or Kami, or mom, I need copies of those!!!) There were lots of other things too. So hopefully this can be a tradition for my family that they remember for the rest of their lives and help put their heart in the gospel forever.
|Ruth's pigtails! I die! Hahaahaa.|
On an unrelated note:
A quick picture of Ruthie with my old doll. Sweetest thing ever. In an effort to distract Ruth from constantly bothering the REAL baby around our house, I pulled my old doll out of my cedar chest. Ruth is in love. Now Ruth, with this doll, Will, with Ruth's Corolle doll, and Molly with her new water baby doll from her birthday, have been traipsing around the house swaddling, changing, and patting their babies. I have been warned multiple times to be quiet because their babies are sleeping. The doctor kit is also an invaluable parenting tool, apparently. It's the sweetest to see them playing together.