Mourning the End of the “Baby Stage”

12010775_10206353885059406_5966553687864573812_oFor more than seven years my life has been full of babies or toddlers and everything that comes with them: diapers, bottles, temper tantrums, more diapers, more temper tantrums, more diapers… you get the picture.

That’s all changing. (At least the diaper part. I’m sure the temper tantrums will stick around). My baby is about to turn 4. It’s a day the hubs and I have been waiting for. No more babies or toddlers means a new kind of freedom for our family! I should be ecstatic! I’ve basically been waiting for this day since my boys were born. Want to know I secret? I’m a little sad. I’m realizing that every new step, every new milestone they make, means they’re taking one more step farther away from me. They are becoming more independent. Each day they need me a little bit less. Even though there is a part of me that is thrilled by that, it breaks my heart a little.

When my 7 year old, Ben, was born, I was fully entrenched in a television news career. I’d met my goal of anchoring in a major market. I’d spent more than a decade focusing on building a career, and my goal was to keep working and fit this new baby into my life. Well, that didn’t happen.

I did keep working, but I changed professions, because after baby #2, I needed a job that would allow me to be a mom first. Over the past almost seven years my life has morphed into something I didn’t expect. I became a mother. Every decision I make about my life always comes back to that: I am a mom.

I am also a friend, a wife, a sister, and a citizen. I’m also outgoing, opinionated, and I think, kind of funny, but at the end of the day I am forever a mother. I didn’t expect this role to define me the way it has, but it has, and I’m still learning to embrace it.

Now that these two little people don’t need me as much, I have to admit, it’s tilting my axis a bit. They’ve become my true north, my compass, if you will, and things are changing, and I’m sad. My life has become consumed in so many ways by them, by their needs, their wants, and let’s be honest: my main goal has been to keep them alive and healthy. So far so good.

I am in a bit of mourning right now. I look at Ben and I can barely remember him as a baby. It’s only been 7 years, but I have a hard time remembering that first year of motherhood and all the insecurity and anxiety and fear I had in this new role. Now I’m pretty good at it, if I do say so myself. I’ve managed to get two kids through babyhood and toddlerhood fairly unscathed (talk to their therapists in 20 years, and they might tell you differently). So I feel good about where I’m at as a mother.

I’m getting ready to go down a new path, an uncharted path of motherhood. I’m entering into the school age phase of motherhood, and I’m scared. I don’t know this world. I don’t know how to mother in this arena.

I’m missing my babies, even the diapers. I don’t know if I’m ready for this next phase of life. I think I know why: the last seven years have gone so quickly I can’t believe they’re ending. I know I’m going to blink, and the next seven years will have gone by, and these two babies of mine will be on the cusp of leaving my home and spreading their wings and flying away. I’m not ready for THAT phase! So for now, I’ll figure out this new phase of motherhood and hopefully I won’t be too much of a hot mess… but the odds aren’t good.

 

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