Monday, March 04, 2013

Being a Mom is Sad

Here's one of Gabby's cute Olive Us videos. 2-year-old June is adorable.
How To Be 2 from Olive Us on Vimeo.

I almost don't want to watch things like this or reminisce about my own kids at age 2 because they'll never be 2 again. I love having older kids. It's rewarding and interesting and fun. But I understand why people keep having babies. 1) Babies are cute. 2) You feel old when you don't have babies anymore. It's sad to say goodbye to babies, even though you are saying hello to new adorable ages.

You forget that unless you are wonderful and healthy and of sound mind and functioning at full capacity and have a great attitude and a rosy outlook and have lots of help and don't need much sleep you (and by "you" I mean "me" or in this case, "I") won't fully appreciate how adorable kids are at the time. You (and by "you" I mean "me" or in this case "I") might feel a little strung out during that sweet phase of life I call 4 year old 2 year old and pregnant year old—it's the epitome of one of the hardest stages of mothering. I wasn't depressed or sad or unhappy when I had little kids, but when I was in that stage I didn't have the wherewithal to be reflective and appreciative of it. Then it's a double loss when the stage passes because not only did your babies grow up, you didn't even appreciate them while you had them.

"You'll miss this stage," smug old ladies used to say to me when I was drenched in pit stains and carrying a car seat and a toddler and neither of them were behaving. Thanks a lot. It still makes me mad. Why kick me when I'm down with a reminder that these children will grow in all their glory and in spite of me and when that happens I will not only miss them but also suffer from regret? Dude, we're in line at Walmart. Who do you think you are?

But those smug old baby-free ladies—a group to which I now belong—weren't exactly right. I don't miss my babies. They are still here. And, unlike some people who do feel a genuine baby hunger much more than I do, I don't want to go back to that time or relive that time. It was hard and trying. It was cute and cuddly. It was what it was. I'm reaping mostly benefits of those early days (all my children use toilets now) and some of my mistakes are cropping up (Ellen is spoiled—but as the last one, what's the alternative? I'm sure I don't know).

Now is fun too. I will miss now someday. You know? Life goes on. It's a joy, but tempered with heartache.

15 comments:

  1. I don't miss babies, but I sure have nostalgia. As a grandparent I'm nostalgic as I see Ellen and her same-age cousins growing up, I get nostalgic. At the same time I am thrilled at grownup Sam. Can't have both those cute, funny toddlers and those sophisticated, sweet, smart teenagers.

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  2. I can't hear you, Kacy, because I'm Rocking My Baby....




    ...And Babies Don't Keep.


    **I hate everyone.

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  3. I hear you loud and clear. My baby is five and I don't miss infants. And then again, I really do. I also miss being 30, but I don't really want to be 30 again. Sigh. It IS sad. And happy. Because, as you said, everyone uses the toilet. Except the puppy.

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  4. I have a 3 year-old and a 3 month-old and feel incredibly validated by this post. It also gives me hope for the future. And honestly, while I've loved having a little baby both times, I feel like I don't really hit my stride as a mother until they approach toddlerhood. I think one of my friends got it right when she said "I love having HAD a baby, but they're more fun when they get older." It's nice to look back at the soft and sleepy baby bodies that just melt into you, but a conversation with a 2 year-old is often hilarious.

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  5. I've heard that being a grandmother is the Answer to Everything. On the other hand, I think I'm predisposed to be nostalgic for every loss. It's the same thing if you've lived more than one place; you can't just enjoy the place you're in without also missing the place where you're not. (At least, I can't.) And I suppose if I had only ever lived in one place, I'd be nostalgic for the places I hadn't lived.

    By the way, Kacy, I had a very close encounter to actually meeting you in person at the St. David's Day thing the other night--but you left right after I arrived, and before I got a chance to accost you, I mean introduce myself. (This is Zina/myimaginaryblog--OpenID won't verify me today, so they're making me post as Anonymous.)

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    1. Huh. And yet they still linked to me. Oh, well.

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  6. Thank you for this. I totally needed to hear it today. I've been missing my babies, but I am remembering how trying that time in my life was.

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  7. This post was really validating for me too. I am about to deliver my 4th baby in a couple weeks, and while I am looking forward to the newborn phase, the infant phases are harder for me...like until they are 5. I just don't have the patience or the sense of humor to handle toddler tantrums gracefully. I will NEVER miss that phase. I love it that I can reason with my 7 year old. It is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

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  8. I feel you! I had six babies because I love babies! While I miss kissing the nape of their necks (they would kill me if I did that now) I love my older kids. I wait patiently for the grand babies.

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  9. You captured 'the bittersweet' of young motherhood and the transition out of it and articulated it to perfection. I am going to cut and paste your genius explaination into my personal journal (with full credit given to you of course :> I'm upstanding like that).

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  11. In those early years, as the saying goes, the days are long but the years are short. We work so hard to raise our kids to be independent and - damn - if they don't grow up and do just that leaving us in the blink of an eye. My kids are now grown and a few months ago I became a grandmother for the first time. It is, as advertised, the best thing ever...even if the grand-babies live across the country from me.

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  12. Baby June's adorable "grumping" before her nap somehow looks nothing like my 2-yo's "grumping"...that's odd. ;) They must have left the "in line at Wal-Mart" scene on the cutting room floor.

    Toddlers are beautiful and funny and so is this video. And your post is lovely too. I think of you every time my kids zone out to Blue's Clues and you know what? I zone out and enjoy the brief moment of peace. I think I am enjoying the young children phase as much as I can. Given the circumstances!

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  13. By the way, the fact that reasoning with my 6-yo is actually way harder than managing him as a toddler was, really helps me manage my current toddler. Piece of cake in comparison.

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  14. Anonymous3:46 PM

    I did not enjoy the baby years at the time. I was a mess for 4 years. We had no money and I couldn't understand why I couldn't make the house look perfect all the time and control everything. Now I wonder if I could enjoy it more with a little wisdom and perspective (and money) but I don't wonder enough to have another one. And I do really really enjoy my 7 and 9 year old!

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