Two - What I Know

It hit me like a pie in the face yesterday. That in a few weeks, Liv will be two. Yes, it makes me sad and nostalgic, I miss the newborn stage like crazy (seriously, I yearn for it) and I look back at photos like this almost daily. 

12 weeks

I miss that bald baby noggin and little elf ears and feel like I could cry. 
But.
That's not what this is about. It's not about my deeply seeded fear of adding another baby to the mix either. That's another neurotic story for another day. 

Lately I've been thinking about what I learned these past two years. Who I turned into, what we've done. What I know. 

This is not a parenting advice post. I'm a parenting novice and will be for some time, so please don't take this as educational in any way. This is just me rambling at you. Like always. 

Let me just preface this by saying that I was a much better parent before I had Olivia. We're talking way better. I'm not saying I'm a bad parent now, I'm just saying that holy cow, things sure happened differently than I planned them. Imagine. 

So here's what I know.

1. I feel guilty every day. 

I shouldn't have raised my voice, given her that third Oreo, that extra few minutes (ahem, hour) of tv time. I should have been more present, engaged, more fun, less tired. 

A stranger at the grocery store picked up a little toy she'd dropped out of the cart and handed it back to her the other day. Then he apologized and said that he was sorry, I probably didn't want her putting that in her mouth now that it had been on the floor. Without blinking, I said that it was probably the least germ ridden thing she'd put in her mouth all day. There I was. No cart cover, no hand sanitizer in my purse. Just a full pack of Target brand baby wipes in case she managed to get the top off her milk.

Those are the not the qualities you hear when someone describes a good/prepared/preventive/blog worthy parent.

For all the "I shouldn'ts", though, there are nearly as many redeeming moments. I pat myself on the back because she ate an apple, said please, or for not flipping out when she dunked a whole roll of toilet paper (the last one in the whole house) in the toilet, and instead congratulated her on (attempting) to flush the potty herself. 

She's since mastered that particular task in case you were wondering.

2. I think I have a split mom personality.

One minute, I'm cool as a cucumber while she attempts to swan dive out of the grocery cart, and literally 5 seconds later I'm taking deep breaths in the canned vegetable aisle because she's managed to open and dump a box of pasta on the floor and I'm afraid I'm going to lose my shit and end up on YouTube courtesy of some childless person with an iPhone.

3. I've got it pretty easy.

I've just got one. Just one. Not that she isn't a handful (what kid isn't?), but the one to one ratio is something I appreciate daily. This ties into my second child phobia, but again, that's a whole other bag of crazy. I periodically have to check myself with a swift metaphorical kick in the butt and tell myself to stop my whining because my two year old isn't cooperating with my desire to leisurely stroll through Target, venti latte in hand at 10 am on a Wednesday.

4. Each age is the hardest (for me).

First they don't sleep when you want to sleep and you're afraid you'll break them. Then they're mobile and everything within arms reach becomes a choking hazard and the explosive diapers will.not.stop. Then they get some serious independence and will literally elbow you in the throat should you try to impose your will on them. 

People always say it will get easier, but for me, each stage just eventually becomes the new normal. I get used to it and then think I was a total whiner for complaining at all about the stage before. Spoiler alert: I am.

5. I need mom friends (and my mom) more than mascara.

I love my mom friends, and my mother has been my lifeline to sanity (the dramatics are really kicked up a notch around here today) many times. Having someone who gets it, or will tell you that you're doing a good job, and will occasionally coddle your maternal ego helps so much (for me). 
I also like having someone tell me that it's ok to put your kid to bed at 6:30, that a banana peel is far from the strangest thing they've seen thrown in a toilet, or that their kid also growls at random people at the post office, where the line moves slower than molasses.

6. Sometimes being a mom isn't enough.

I don't know if I'm treading into unpopular territory here, but before I had a baby I was convinced that if I could be someone's mother, I wouldn't want to do anything else for the rest of my life. Being a stay at home mom would be living the dream. It just didn't shake out that way and it made me feel guilty before I realized it was ok.

I have to have something that's mine, that challenges me and excites me. It makes me a better mom and I mean that. When I get to take a little time for my personal endeavors, I do a better job with all the things I listed back at number 1. I'm more present, I'm more patient. I'm not perfect, puh-leeze, but it helps and there's a 75% chance I'll just laugh when she refuses to pee on the potty and just bolts into my closet and pees on the floor.

7. No matter how bad the day, how much I've failed, she's antagonized, and we've both melted down, I miss her when she goes to sleep. I still go in and place my hand on her chest to feel it rise and fall. I find myself realizing that I'll be sad when the day is over, despite having been counting down the minute until bedtime. 

When she was 8 days old (in this photo below), I cried most of the day (and night) because my hormonal self was realizing that she'd never be that small again. That every day, she would get further and further from the tiny baby who changed our lives on a warm December afternoon. 


Now every day I realize that I'm getting further and further from the parent I thought I'd be and I'm more ok with it each day. I think we're going to be going through phases, getting to know each other, testing each other, and loving each other at the end of each day, for the rest of our lives, and that's just motherhood. For me, it's not like I just found my mama groove and stuck with it (Pinterest lied to me). It's a daily adjustment, evolution, and my list of things that I know is constantly changing. 

I know this was a heavy ramble, so kudos to you if you made it this far. I can't promise not to get all weepy when she does turn two, but I promise to try to keep my blubber off the blog as much as possible. It's strange to see her get older, but when she runs towards the microwave because she saw me take the frozen french toast out (high meal standards here) and says "IIII doooo eeeet", it's hard to begrudge her getting older. 

18 comments:

  1. I loved this post. It's exactly how I feel on a daily basis. I love the moments with Ellie and I realize that she's never going to be as small as she is in that moment, but sometimes I just need a break and I"m counting down the minutes until bedtime so I can have some "me" time. Parenthood is a tough balance!

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  2. Loved this post :) it's so true that we are all just learning as we go... Just have to admit I was a better mother before I became one too. I laughed at the story of her toy falling on the floor because I would have done the same thing... I call that immunity boosting haha ;)

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  3. I just love this! I think if each stage didn't get harder you wouldn't be learning anything! It's still unbelievable to me that I am a mother. Like how on earth did someone decide I was responsible enough to raise a tiny human? They are miracles that's for sure and ten weeks in I find myself missing my eight day old as well.

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  4. Can relate so much, great post!!! We are learning each & every day around here!!

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  5. This post really resonates with me! I don't usually think of myself as feeling guilty but then you listed those things and I feel all of those many times a day! While I have not started my own business like you have I totally understand the need for something that is your own. My pictures, digital scrapbooking, and blog has become my thing. I find that when noah naps well and I get the time to do these things I'm much happier. I definitely have more patience with him and am more present if I've had some time to myself! I too yearn for the newborn phase but have a second child fear! For me I think it's because I put every part of myself into that newborn phase and I worry I won't be able to do that with a toddler running around. I also worry I will end up ignoring noah. I'm not worried I can't love both but that I won't physically have enough time in the day to give both what they need. Okay now I'm rambling too much!

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  6. Love this post... As ready as you think you are when you have a little babe, you're never actually ready for what they have in store for you! I think its so great that you have something you do just for yourself, she will admire that when she is older!

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  7. Love this post! & I totally agree on how scary it would be to be out numbered! With that being said I'm due with our second baby in December and am scared to death! I'm hoping everyone is right when they say the second is easier!

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  8. Nicely worded!!! My little guy turns 2 on 11/30. So I feel all of the above....Thank You for putting it down on paper!

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  9. I love this post SO much! I can relate to it! It had me laughing and crying! You are one amazing momma! They sure keep us on our toes! :) xoxoxo

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  10. Wonderful post, Megan! I can relate to A LOT to most of this. I often count the minutes until she goes to sleep so I can have a break, and then miss her like crazy when I'm not tripping over her while she's at my feet. It's a lot of give and take, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.

    PS. You're doing a good job :)

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  11. This brings tears to my eyes. I can relate so much to this. We're mothers & women, together in this journey. What a ride it is.

    Yes, two & a half years since Cash was born & I still miss him like crazy when he goes to sleep. :)

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  12. I feel so related to this post as many of other mom I am sure! But I never thought being a mom would transform and teach me SO many things. I feel I discover the other side of me and I am happy about that. Great post Megan!!

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  13. Thanks for this Megan. I've also felt that I need something more than being a stay at home mom and have felt so guilty for it. But I'm going after a dream of mine and already have been feeling a bit "fuller"!

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  14. I can relate to this post so much! Motherhood is filled with lots of guilt sometimes and that's something that I never anticipated. There are so many nights that I can't wait for her to fall asleep and those nights are usually followed by the mornings that I can't wait to get her out of her crib. It's such a hard balance!

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  15. Thanks for posting this. I can totally relate. And let's face it, everyone is a better parent before kids. Or long after they've raised their kids and forgotten what it was really like to be in the trenches. Have to admit I got all teary-eyed reading through this. Blubber away all you want. You've got me sad and conflicted as well for TWO now and we still have 4+ months to go! What a sweet sweet baby.

    xx Viv at JoieDeViv

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  16. Oh my goodness! Amen to every word you said! <3

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  17. First, I loved this post so much! Though I'm only 2.5 months into the parenting game, I feel a lot of these feelings! I can't believe how much my daughter changes everyday! I hate that it has to go by so fast! Second, OMG. All the tiny photos of Olivia!!! So incredibly precious! I totally feel you on being deathly afraid of baby #2 ... I hear the second one is always different from the first. I feel incredibly lucky thus far with #1 .... I'm afraid #2 might be a hellion!

    Love reading your rambles, keep em comin! :)

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