Sunday, March 22

Hands off

A lot of my girlfriends are finally having their first kids, some are on to the second. I'm beginning to realize the difference between the stages in parenting and I'm finding relief from what I'm discovering.

So many of my friends are all, "THREE KIDS?! How do you DO it?" And I'm all, "Ummm...I just, do?"

These girlfriends devote all of their time and energy to Kid 1, and of course Kid 2 if it applies. Most of them are SAHMs because I'm thinking, really you guys, that if we do work as mothers we're sort of frowned upon. Let's face it. We are expected to throw aside our goals, dreams, and professional aspirations to raising our kids. Or we satisfy all of those dreams and aspirations before having the family, but I don't know about that. What I do know is staying at home to parent children is of course a tremendous feat in itself while adding FULL TIME WORK on top of it means you're Super Mom. Or a selfish bitch, depending on who you ask.

What I'm really witnessing here is the different stages of parenting. I did my Kid 1 and Kid 2 obsessing when these girls were still worrying about which bar to go to. Of course, I would rather die than miss the party so I'd try to meet up with them, puking into bathroom sinks at 10:00, then pumping and dumping my beer infused breastmilk. Priorities, people! I devoted much of my time entertaining Allie and Gil, worrying about their soda intake and exposure to sugary snacks. Rigid schedule keeping and bathing every other day. Doing arts and crafts all day. Television watching for a two-year-old? Nothing but minimal PBS and maybe Baby Einstein.

I was just telling a girlfriend about Egan's exposure to things I'd never even dream of letting him experience if he were Kid 1. Or Kid 2. Nope, welcome Kid 3. Kid 3 knows the difference between Bob the Builder and Handy Manny, drinks soda when given the opportunity, stays up late, AND WILL GO WITHOUT A NAP!

My point here, dear readers, isn't about you and your parenting. It's about me and mine. You guys are doing the little kid stuff while I have moved onto the pre-teen big kid stuff. Having discussions about girlfriend drama and crushes with the same little girl who used to toddle up to me in her plastic footed one piece PJs, whispy hair in ever-requested "nuggets," asking me, "How are doin, Mom?" Or when not quite finished with her snack would announce, "I save it to later." Now I have to beg her to let me even think about putting her hair in nuggets. Or braids. Or ponytails. Apparently I don't know as much about fashion as I thought I did.

As I'm surrounded by you newer moms I found myself questioning the amount of interaction I have with my kids. With a sigh of relief, the big kid phase is far more hands-off. With the exception of Kid 3, Kid 1 & Kid 2 are independently brushing their own teeth, bathing themselves, playing outside for hours on end, packing their lunches for first and fourth grade. They read to me often times at bedtime. They even read to Kid 3 from time to time, giving me the opportunity to snuggle while reading but with my eyes closed. Until I'm woken up by Egan clip-clopping around in dancin shoes, asking me to paint his nails.

All's I'm saying, Internet, is that things change when your kids get older. You kind of feel like you still need to give them the same amount of hands-ON attention, when really, after you adjust and pat yourself on the back for a job well done with the little kid phase, it's a lot more hands-OFF.


Tara n' Josh said...

Thanks, Em! Great post. That was totally me worrying about which bar to go to and I always thought it was sooo cool that my friend, Emily, a mother (oh my gosh, a mother) was coming out to meet us! I wish you lived closer! Come out to 'rado after my kid 2 is born.
How's being a working mama going?

Julie P. said...

ahhh, the good ol days when you'd come over and get wasted even before our party guests would arrive....sweet memories.

Sugar Mommy said...

great post! I got a little teary eyed thinking of all four of mine being in high school at the same time! Lord help me that they are nothing like their momma was.