Mothering

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.  

"Mommy is so much fun."

By, Carter (age 7). 

By, Carter (age 7). 

That's a picture my son just handed me as I was busy putting the three girls down for a nap.  

 

He handed it to me with the biggest smile on his face. He was full of joy as he revealed his "secret" coloring project.  

 

I hesitated as I took it from him because I knew whatever it was he drew for me, that I don't deserve it today.  

 

I especially don't deserve the words he wrote. I should hardly be labeled as "fun" today. In fact, fun should be changed to "tired", "irritable", "cranky", "overwhelmed" absolutely ANYTHING besides fun.   

 

I thought, "why would he draw this for me today"? I have literally "lost it" more times than I can recall, I have done my best to keep children on task with schoolwork and the little ones occupied. I have dealt with the added annoyance of a living room update complete with paint supplies, tools, and a space that isn't put together at the moment.  

 

I fell asleep, after changing outlets with my husband, at 2am (something that couldn't wait since we have so many curious little hands), was awoken at 4am to toddler cries, and again at the crack of dawn to three very energetic and well slept little girls. 

 

Have you ever had a moment or a day where the grace and mercy from your children is way more than you deserve? I teared up when he walked away from handing that picture to me. I haven't been fun today, not in the least, but that doesn't change the fact that my son loves me in spite of my bad day.  

 

To him, I'm fun. Even today when fun seems as foreign to me as another language.  

 

 Sometimes, God uses the littlest things to expose our bad attitudes.

 

Grace abounds.  

 

Love, Alicia  

💗 

💗 

Scattered Sunday.

Twice last week I fell asleep at 3 am.

 

I was also awoken at barely 6 am, like every morning prior, to three bouncy, chatty little girls. 

 

Who needs a rooster, right?   

 

Oh, wait. I have one of those too. ..

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Today consisted of racing thoughts of horror as I realized, after the birthday fog had cleared from our latest celebration, that I had absolutely NOTHING to fix for breakfast.  

 

I even had an extra mouth to feed as the boys' best friend came to spend the night.  

 

I scrambled for any sort of "breakfasty" recipe I could find. All of them called for the all-inclusive ingredient: butter. 

 

I didn't have any butter. 

 

So I found this muffin recipe. Perfect.  

 

Except it needed another buttery-type ingredient, only the peanutty version. 

 

Awesome. Breakfast Fail #2: no peanut butter.

So I substituted those for cookie butter. You know, that crazy evil tub of heaven?! Yeah, cookie butter muffins.  

 

Don't worry, they weren't as tasty as they sound like they should be. 

 

Anxiety-crazy me had three full days of go, go, go that began with a YMCA trip on a Friday morning/swim party/trying to avoid the Seniors water aerobics class (side note: it's hard work to keep a handful of boys from splashing too close to the perfectly coiffed "do's"  Of half a dozen baby boomers), culminating with a hectic hour of MagiQuest the following morning at "check out time" at Great Wolf Lodge (who planned that anyway?!?) to a sleepover and today's ridiculousness. 

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We braved a new church; I forgot my phone.

Lunch was delicious, but my youngest was hormonal the whole time and my oldest four each used the bathroom twice. 

By the time we began pulling out of the parking lot to head to his parents house, I felt that unwelcome friend trying to break in. The moment we pulled into their driveway, I had a full blown panic attack. I was certain it was death coming to usher me on to the next life. 

 

But my husband did the thing that calmed me most. He just hugged me tight while the children all ran around him to burst thru the door.  

 

It didn't end there.  

 

An inevitable Aldi trip awaited us and I never do the checkout very well. The lights, the way the cashier moves at warp speed, the commotion from the kids "helping" me, the "everything" about it.  

 

We get home, begin unloading, my girls are underfoot doing all three of the following simultaneously: whining, stripping, and grabbing for food.  

 

Meanwhile, the husband is feeding the chickens and finds them in a most fragile state. Our rooster may not make it thru the night. 

 

The oldest child runs inside sobbing because his brothers "face is really bloody" he says. I run outside to find a horror movie scene and scream.  

 

At the same moment, I later find out, my husband was locked in the chicken coop and couldn't find the stick to unlock the door. So he heard our many screams and couldn't get to us.  

 

After I assessed the injury and doctored my baby's head up, I felt another panic attack coming on. Please, just no. 

 

Its just one of those days where the creepy guy that hit on me in Aldi was supposed to be the icing on the cupcake for me. (He probably wouldn't have said anything if he encountered me with all five of my children and not just the two he saw) But it just kinda got worse. And then better.  And then kinda crappy again. 

 

Because, I got a birthday package from my sister. And she got me a number seven from Magnolia Market. But, it broke in half in transit. Of course.  

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Joy, anyway. Right?!

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