Mother

Looking Beyond Young Motherhood

I’ll be 35 this October. 

Still young. But, not really. Because ever since I had my last baby, nearly 3 1/2 years ago, I’ve felt like an 80 year old. 

But thats not what prompted me to write this blog post.

What prompted me was when I considered other women my age and how I’m the “weird one”.

There are women all around me that are just “starting out”. Women that waited until their thirties to tie the knot and rock the cradle.

And, the fact that by the time their oldest child is ready for their ABC’s and 123’s, my oldest will be graduating high school.

I see first and second baby announcements coming from women in their mid-thirties, like me. 

Our second baby. And the days of toddlers climbing on everything and feeling “big enough”.  

Our second baby. And the days of toddlers climbing on everything and feeling “big enough”.  

 

I see blog posts of forty year olds with just toddlers and such dark circles under their eyes, you’d thought they’d been in an MMA fight.  

 

Its surreal to think back at my early days of motherhood.  

 

Twelve years ago, on March 2nd, I recall taking my first pregnancy test ever and seeing two HOT pink lines. Those lines were blinding as they nearly popped thru the testing window.  

 

Pregnant.  

 

Completely overjoyed.  

 

Had no earthly clue what being a mother meant. 

My oldest. The days when it was just he and I (a very pregnant me) and there was room enough to ride his trike indoors.  

My oldest. The days when it was just he and I (a very pregnant me) and there was room enough to ride his trike indoors.  

I thought it similar to the job I did everyday. Taking care of other children, other women had birthed. The mad, intense love I had for these children was unlike anything I could describe for someone not related to me.

I was so off on that love thing, by the way. The second I heard my son gasp for air, the love I thought I had for children seemed like a joke compared to this love I had for my own son.

The years just continued on with a miscarriage nine months after my sons birth, then, six months later, another pregnancy: his little brother. 

The pregnancies and nursing years kept multiplying. I had 10 straight years of no breaks. None at all.

And those years all blurred on.

I always recall, on my outings with the “hands full” of children, those commenters of “You don’t look old enough to have (3,4, or 5) kids.”

Our five. Over three years ago. All so little.  

Our five. Over three years ago. All so little.  

This happened for my entire early motherhood years. 

 

While my peers were out solidifying careers and dating around, I was in the thick of chasing four, five and under. 

 

I never considered myself deprived.  

 

In fact, I somewhat pitied the ones my age that just lived to please themselves. Sure, their instagrams looked cool, and I would lie if I didn’t say I wasn’t a tad envious of their “freedom”. 

 

Here I was, sacrificing. And sacrificing hard, at that. 

 

Every second, of every day, some little face needed me.  

 

At age 29, I was homeschooling a kindergartener, chasing his very active little brother, keeping little sister out of the dishwasher while I loaded it, and nursing a colicky baby sister all night long. 

 

The days of being a 29 year old. Filled with the joys of four children, five and under.  

The days of being a 29 year old. Filled with the joys of four children, five and under.  

And the years rolled on. Faster and faster. 

 

And when I consider that this year I’ll be celebrating thirteen years of marriage and 12 years of motherhood, when other 35 year olds are just beginning, I wonder: “Have I really missed out?” 

 

If you’re reading this and share a similar story as mine, “Do you feel as though you’ve ‘missed out’?”  

 

I have to answer emphatically, “No....”

Our youngest baby reminds me that, as the fifth baby, all you need is wipes, dipes, and love. 

Our youngest baby reminds me that, as the fifth baby, all you need is wipes, dipes, and love. 

 

”...not at all.” 

 

I may be a grandmother in my forties (maybe). I may still look fresh out of college some days, but I would never ever regret beginning my family as a young, young graduated-college-in-the-nick-of-time-twenty-two-year-old. 

 

College. So incredibly fun, my heart could only handle three years of it. Because I got married. And completed my undergrad just a mere eight weeks before my first was born.  

College. So incredibly fun, my heart could only handle three years of it. Because I got married. And completed my undergrad just a mere eight weeks before my first was born.  

Because, God has taught me so much in the past twelve/thirteen years. More than I could’ve ever hoped to have learned from a bunch of little people. 

 

My thumb-sucker, middle child. A time when juggling three, was truly juggling.  

My thumb-sucker, middle child. A time when juggling three, was truly juggling.  

And as my focus shifts from keeping little hands and feet safe to mentoring and molding young men and women, I will always cherish the days when both I and my children were young and naive.  

 

The days of baby gates and all-nighters that were just a seemless transition from the late nights in my college dorm room. When 2am was just a number, and we didn’t feel the consequences.  

 

As I push and struggle to gain what was drained from me all of those sweet years, I am reminded that motherhood is just a small extension of the love of Christ. That sacrificial, gut-wrenching, ultra-intense/doesn’t-make-sense kind of love.

 

Motherhood is a gift no matter what age you choose to embrace it. But, I’d like to think that those “weird ones” of us that got that  several year headstart; we’re that much better because of it. 💗

 

Our fourth. And a time when I was invincible. Or so I thought. Motherhood was adorable and so squishy.  

Our fourth. And a time when I was invincible. Or so I thought. Motherhood was adorable and so squishy.  

The Lonely Bug

Ever since I have become a stay at home mom, I have days that I feel so alone. Your friends can't relate to you anymore, so you kind of stop getting invited to things, and life just starts to change. You have new priorities in life, and that's your husband and your baby.

Being away from my family makes it even more difficult. I still have days where I start to feel sorry for myself. Satan creeps in and makes me feel like I'm worthless and no one cares about me anymore and that I'm pretty much the worst mom ever. Ever felt this way too?!

It's so important to surround yourself with other moms. People that understand what you're going through. Just knowing that someone else was up at 2:00AM taking care of their baby, made me feel better and no so alone.

If you are feeling lonely, please know that you are not alone. Message us and let us know if you need anything, go to your church and try to find a moms group, or better yet, start one yourself! 

We love you and we all need to take care of each other during this crazy journey of being a mom. 

-Amber

uncharted territory: parenting your firstborn(s)

Crash test dummy. that's what I compare a firstborn child to. You think before you become a parent you know exactly how you'll parent. So you go around judging [under your breath] every time you make contact with an unruly child of an unassuming stranger in public. "My child will never act like that" you say quietly to yourself. Or you just give "the look" and walk away shaking your head thinking of all the ways you would do a better job.

And then.....allllll that goes out the window after that first sleepless night. "Wait a second?!!...you mean parenting isn't exactly like what I saw on those Johnson & Johnson commercials?!!! You know the ones where the baby is so blissful and calm and the mother has angel wings and heavenly beams of light radiating from her face and its just moments of cuddling and pure ecstasy?!....you mean, that's.not.TRUE?!"

And then months later, you're brain is still reeling at the fact that this motherhood thing really isn't like those commercials, you realize: "this little human is SINFUL!!!" And now the real parenting begins. So you seek help in the best places you know to look as a new mom: you 'google it', you try to be invited into a mothering support group on Facebook, you read blogs and seek advice from seasoned mothers, and if the answers you're seeking aren't found in "What To Expect:The First Year" or "What To Expect:The Toddler Years", you may panic.

One thing I've learned on this mothering journey is that our firstborn(s) will always be that sort of crash test dummy. We've never parented a child at this particular stage and age before and it is very much so an uncharted territory. Have I ever parented an almost 7 year old boy before? No. Do I know what I'm doing? No. But do I trust that God does and that He has given me the grace to explore and enjoy this "new land" with His help? Absolutely! He's entrusted me with this gift....a child that I may fail with more times than with his siblings. A child that I'm constantly learning to be a better parent to. A child that unknowingly stretches and grows and strengthens me as both a parent and an individual. This child taught me the meaning of sacrifice, unconditional love, and unselfishness. He taught me how to nurture, what joy is, and showed me in a human way just how crazy God must be about me.

So you may wish sometimes: "if I could go back I would {.....} with my first", but instead focus on the journey you've had together so far. You've taught each other a lot. That child made you a mother. And that's the greatest thing in the world.

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My firstborn and I. Summer 2007.<3

-Alicia