I was the first of my friends to have children. I became a mother for the first time at the age of 26, and for the second time at the age of 29. Most of my close friends were living it up in the single life while I was also up until dawn, but for very different reasons. I went through the early stages of motherhood somewhat alone. I didn’t really have any seasoned “been there, done that” moms I could call with my crazy new-mom questions. I missed out on some really fun bachelorette weekends due to being at home nursing babies. Granted, I wouldn’t change it for anything, but I’d be lying if I said it was easy to jump into motherhood without a network of mom support.
Now, my kids are 5 and 3, and many of my good friends are starting to have babies. I, however, am finished with that chapter. My youngest will be starting preschool in the fall. My oldest, kindergarten. The baby days have passed in my house. I see the stream of Facebook photos of tiny, adorable, brand new babies…of cute maternity photos…of beautiful nurseries…and a part of me wonders if I missed out by not waiting awhile longer to have kids. I start to miss the baby days.
I remember when my first son was brand new, being bored and lonely stuck in the house with him. Motherhood was very different than I expected it to be, partly because I didn’t really know other moms who were going through it. I decided to take a trip to the mall to lift our spirits and do some Christmas shopping. My colicky son screamed for the entire car ride, then began to fuss again while we shopped. I stopped to feed him, and decided to grab lunch. It hit me that though I had my child with me, I was really eating alone. There was no one to talk to. In my 1 hour at the mall, I’d changed 2 diapers, nursed, and eaten alone, quickly, hoping he’d stay quiet. I loved my son, but in the early months, being a mother wasn’t what I thought it would be.
Fast-forward five years, and motherhood is very different. Although I do feel a twinge of nostalgia when I see my friends’ brand new, gorgeous newborns, I love so much about where I am right now as a mother. The other night, I took my kids out to dinner, and I realized…I wasn’t “alone” anymore when I was with them. I was sitting at the table with my own kids, having real conversations. They were picking out and ordering their own meals off the menu. We played “I Spy” while we waited for our food. We discussed weekend plans. No one cried, and I didn’t have to change any diapers. In fact, I brought no supplies other than a few Matchbox cars and plastic animals that have become a permanent fixture in my purse. It wasn’t stressful. It was actually…fun. As it turns out, they’re pretty great dining companions!
I love shopping for cute baby clothes for my friends. I love visiting my friends with new babies. I love seeing pictures of nurseries and maternity photos, and I love to plan and go to baby showers…but I also love the milestones we are hitting over here. I don’t really miss the baby days because I’m too excited to live in the “kid days” we are experiencing now. I enjoy spending time with the people I’ve been growing for the past half decade, and I wouldn’t change any part of it!