Stages of Motherhood Are Bittersweet

Becoming a mother comes with so many different stages. For nine long months you are responsible for carrying a new life inside of you. That is definitely a big deal.

When your child enters the world for the first time it is a bittersweet moment. With both of our boys I remember feeling like that. I was excited during each pregnancy and then it was time for our kids to enter our world.

In the beginning it was such a mystery on how to care for each of our boys. They are six years apart so each birth came with some new experiences. Ever hear of “mom brain?”

That’s when you forget everything including how you took care of your first child. No, not really, but it certainly feels that way. Eventually instinct kicks in and you remember how to do it all.

It is easy for me to reminisce about my mom moments because honestly I’ve had many. I remember the first day of kindergarten for our oldest as I do the youngest. They were both so little.

Watching our oldest ride the school bus for the first time is hard to describe. Part of me wanted to go back and get him and take him to school myself. The school was well within a short drive away, but nevertheless that was me trying to hold on still.

Photo by Pixabay

I have many friends that still have babies, toddlers and elementary school aged children. As a mother of older kids I wanted to share my experiences as a mom. Hopefully, it will help those that haven’t gone through these stages yet.

I remember being pregnant with our second son and wondering if his older brother would feel neglected. As a mom you go into protection mode. You want the absolute best for your children.

Think you won’t have enough love for more than one child?

You always have enough love for each child. You all learn to adapt to a bigger family. It brings along so many good times as a family.

Being a mother or a father means so many things. You are the one that they go to when they are hurting or when they simply need you. You are who they always ask when they want to know something that they don’t understand.

It’s like you are that reference book that you find on a bookshelf. It’s always at your disposal. You keep your answers ready to go in your mental compartments.

Those compartments are where you store vital information. It’s like that important note that you put in your back pocket. If you don’t know then you find the answer the best way that you know how.

When my kids entered elementary school it was a time to help them with homework, projects and going on the occasional field trip. There were the times to plan for an upcoming birthday. Making sure that you sent them to school with lunch money.

Doing last-minute holiday shopping for that gift that was hard to find because we didn’t get it in advance. Why did it always have to be the most wanted gift of the season?

Have you ever been on a quest looking for that popular gift?

I’ve been there and done that. Would I do it all over again? Of course I would because it meant something. It wasn’t about spoiling our children either, but being happy in that moment together. Seeing the joy that it brought to their face.

There were the times of watching our boys participate in different sports too. I learned about them as they played them. It was a learning curve for me because I didn’t always know all the rules.

There are so many memorable times for me and our kids that I couldn’t be happier. You see as parents you are always trying to figure out what works. Some ways work better than others, but you always do what is right for all of you. At least to the best of your ability.

On top of that try having a full-time job and being a parent. It is a lot of work, but not impossible though. I can say that my house was lived in. A lot of times it wasn’t the prettiest. Guess what there is plenty of mom shame there.

Did that make me a bad mother though?

Of course not. Would I have liked to have had an immaculate house? Yes, absolutely, but I was also realistic.

Many times so many of us as mothers are put through mom shame if we don’t have everything in order or a nice hot meal on the table. The house is a place where all can pitch in. It all starts with the decision you make when you decide for them to learn that.

What did I learn?

I learned that I should have delegated more when I was a younger mother. With my whole family. That it is not all up to me. I’m starting to do that more now.

Guess what?

There is no mom shame about that either. For so many years I’ve tried to do it all. I never did reach that level of perfect either. In fact I wasn’t even close. However, now as an older, but wiser mother I’ve learned about having more balance. That it is okay to hire a cleaning lady every once in a while and that I’m still considered an awesome mom.

Want to know what I gained from that?

I gained mom moments that I will forever treasure in my heart. They left an imprint on my soul. Those moments of joy that you wouldn’t trade for all of the money in the world.

There were family trips that were taken to different places and to familiar places throughout the years. Easter egg hunts, miniature golf, amusement parks and the traditional trip to the local park. Catching fireflies at our country home in Ohio on beautiful summer nights.

I went through different seasons of trying to protect our kids from falling and getting hurt. Then came the time when our oldest son graduated from high school and enrolled in college. Now our youngest son received his driver’s license.

Those fears, those insecurities all coming up to the surface once again. One part of you is so happy that they succeeded getting their license and the other part of you is sad that they won’t need you as much.

Photo by Pixabay

Did I mention it’s hard being a mom?

It is, but it is also trusting that everything will work out the way that it is supposed to. That you can’t protect your kids from every single thing and some things they will have to learn on their own. Part of you goes through the motions of having to let go of that apron string. Little by little and over time.

Welcome to parenthood. I don’t know what it feels like to be an empty nester. At least not yet. If I could slow down time I would do it in a heartbeat.

That is the selfish me talking though. Deep down I know that our kids have to learn about life lessons on their own. That we are here as parents to guide them. Our children have the responsibility of navigating their path based on what we have taught them.

It’s okay to let go of those apron strings. Each stage of their life has been monumental. No matter what ages our children are at we will still be here for them. As we always have been. I have comfort knowing that.

There are so many more mom moments ahead of me. They started the first time that I looked into our kids eyes when they were born. Those same eyes have grown with the years. Each of our boys reaching their very own milestones with the passing years.

So many things await them. Some we can guide and control and other things we will not. We will pass the torch onto them when they begin their own families. The same way that ours did for us as new parents.

Remember to be in the moment this Mothers Day if you are given the chance. Dishes may have to wait or that long list of chores too. Regardless, let go of any mom shame and go enjoy this lovely thing we call parenthood. Live guilt free if even for a moment.

Feel free to share this with a friend if it inspired you and as always thank you.

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  • Great post, Lucy! I am still less than 2 years in, but I can relate to so much of this! Being a mother is definitely not an easy task, but man, it is so rewarding! I actually was just thinking about the bittersweetness of all of it this week. I started putting Little down in his crib at night and just singing him to sleep rather than rocking him to sleep. It made me feel so proud of him and his growing up. It also broke my heart into a million tiny little pieces all at once. Thank you for sharing this!

    • Thank you so much Mary I appreciate you! Motherhood is quite the journey. Proud of you for singing to him;) I know it was hard, but you are doing wonderful. You’re welcome..