When our second child showed up seven years later.
So here I am: A 36-year-old woman lying on the floor of my friend’s guest room in stealth mode typing a blog, while my baby cries on the other side of the bed in his playpen. I don’t usually let him cry, but he’s being a punk. Sounds tough, huh? Well, I just picked him up and rocked him to sleep in my arms. Now to put him down and belly crawl out the door. Life as a mother.
You’d think this being my second, I’d be able to walk away from that crying baby and show him, It’s nap time! Instead of hiding out on the floor around the corner of the bed, trying to send him moral support vibes while he sorts out this sleeping thing. But Oliver is so sweet. HOW CAN YOU NOT PICK HIM UP?
I have two boys: Owen is 8, and Oliver is my seven-month-old baby. I get the odd raised eyebrows when I tell people about my kids and there are certainly comments and questions. I answer, “Yes, they have the same father. No, we didn’t plan that gap. Yes, indeed, we have started all over. Yes, I sure do have my hands full. Smile. Nod. Mmmm. Hmmm.”
Some know right away they will have five kids; others sit on the fence once their first gets to a certain age. We tried for five years before we conceived Oliver. Others have issues, like us, and life doesn’t work out quite as planned.
So, what’s it like having my kids so far apart? Many ask, and and while I know I am not a perfect mom, I’d share some highs and lows from this season of change in my life.
The big gap between my kids means I’m older now. So trying to recoup my body from a pregnancy later-in-life, sometimes makes me feel like I’m dealing with what feels like a fast forward in the aging process. Grey hair. (Btw, the most shocking of my greys? I found a grey nose hair! YIKES, I thought it was boogey, but I was very wrong … ) And then there’s the losing battle between my body and gravity, having to hop out of bed because my baby is crying. And I do a feeble hop and/or shuffle because I haven’t quite yet worked out all the cricks from sleeping. Not to forget needing that afternoon nap with my baby every day, even though he sleeps through the night.
Sometimes I think: We really believe we should have it all together, because we have, after all, done this before.
Not so much.
I know how fast time will go with this baby. With Owen, the last few years have felt like a set-up for the inevitable transition, and he needs me a little less. He will hurt himself, but instead of running to my arms he just puts his shoulders back and brushes it off. He doesn’t love me any less; he just needs me differently. In those moments I hold Oliver a little tighter.
Owen is old enough to embrace the role of big brother. I saw his chest swell with pride when holding the wee bundle of his baby brother in this arms the first time. I’ve watched my big boy full of admiration as he became a big brother. He tells me all the time we have the best baby.
I may not remember everything from raising a baby, but even when I have no clue what I am doing, I have a confidence carrying me that only age can bring. Too often as moms we can buy into an unrealistic image that pushes us to aspire towards unachievable perfection. I know this because I did it with Owen, and it robbed joy from my life in Owen’s little years. With Oliver, I know I will make mistakes, but I am not going to let that define what kind of parent I am tomorrow.
When I sit on the couch, my baby on my lap, Owen snuggled up to me, I hit a mental pause. This is it. These are the moments I will look back on that will take my breath away later on.
We waited so long for Oliver, and I feel with his birth coming later in our lives, we have been handed a gift of time. Our family was amazing before we had Oliver, and it is just as amazing today. I don’t count down the days until my kids leave home, I embrace this season of my life as one of the most important roles I will ever know: Mother.
- What moments as a mom have taken your breath away?
- What dynamics in your children’s relationships with each other have you seen develop?
- Have you ever tried to live up to perfectionism parenting?
Daniela is stepping into the role of stay-at-home mom. She loves Jesus, her husband and kids and jumps feet first into opportunities to serve in her community. Daniela lives by this statement, “Preach the gospel always, use words when necessary.” She loves to live life big and laughs a lot. She blogs with her twin sister Trinity at Lime in the coconuts.