Reflections on Year Three of Motherhood

by Ginger on September 10, 2012

in Mom Thoughts

Last week, my little boy turned three.

It seems bizarre to think of the days before he came to join us, but it feels equally bizarre to think of the days when he wasn’t this whirling dervish of personality, stubbornness, affection, and opinions.

Where there once was an empty space, there came a baby. Where there once was a baby, there is now a little boy.

This year was a challenge in so many ways, not the least of which was learning to come to a (sort of) comfortable peace with my own identity as a mother. If year one of motherhood was all about emotion, and year two was all about questioning, then year three has been about acceptance.

I’ve had to accept that I don’t always have the answers.

I’ve had to accept that I don’t always know what to do.

I’ve had to accept that sometimes I don’t handle things the right way.

I’ve had to accept that sometimes I take things too personally.

I’ve had to accept that I can get frustrated just as easily as the next person.

I’ve had to accept that sometimes it’s not about me.

I’ve also had to accept that I am the parent I am, just as my kid is the kid he is.

Comparing myself, or my decisions, to other parents is as useless as comparing my kid to other kids. Because those people aren’t parenting MY kid. They aren’t living MY life, and I’m not living theirs. I can see what I can learn from other people and I can be open to new ideas, but to try and change the fundamentals about ME to fit this idea of “who” and “how” that lived in my mind? That’s foolishness.

I’m learning to be comfortable in the skin of motherhood–my skin. My version.

And my version of motherhood is one that laughs a lot, but also gets frustrated. One that calms and soothes, but also has her breaking points. One that worries too much some days and not enough on others. My version of motherhood is one that is based and built on me…and on him.

As we head into three (dear lord please let us all survive three), my biggest gift from two is the knowledge that I am who I am and he is who he is and that learning to accept those truths is the key to my sanity. No matter how frustrated I get, at the base of everything is an overwhelming love for this kid. For THIS kid that loves trains and “the bird movie” and sleeping with his books. The kid that is learning to throw the most tragic tantrums imaginable and has plenty of experience with time outs. The kid that asks random kids who cry on the playground if they want a hug to feel better. The kid that struggles with listening when he gets over excited or overly frustrated. The kid that is free with the hugs and kisses, who loves having his Mommy and Daddy around, and who has never met someone he didn’t like.

The kid that is my heart.

Trisha September 10, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Beautiful post! It perfectly sums up the stages of motherhood that we all go through – so different and yet so much the same. I am happy that you’ve found acceptance in year 3 – I think it took me until year 5 (and some days – now in year 9 – I wonder if I’ve actually found it at all!

Congrats on the journey, good and bad, and happy birthday to your little man!

Ginger September 12, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Well, to be fair, I’m sure my acceptance will come and go depending on the tantrums 😉

trina September 10, 2012 at 4:59 pm

That was beautiful Ginger. And I love that first pic. It’s amazing. Although I hope you are still up for giving advice, cause I feel like I’m going to need it!

Ginger September 12, 2012 at 9:48 pm

Oh, I’m always happy to spout off advice when it’s asked for, don’t you fret 🙂

Reading (and chickens) September 10, 2012 at 5:18 pm

Exactly what Trisha said. It’s taken me seven years to get to where you are. I think you must be a very talented mama!

angela September 10, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Those curls! It’s so true that coming to terms with the mothers we are is really important. I know there are things I can do “better”, but it’s helping me to be realistic about the things that I can sustain and the things that make us all happy.

Ginger September 12, 2012 at 9:50 pm

It’s definitely hard for me to let go of the things I “should” be doing as a mom, but I’m learning to accept that it doesn’t do anything but stress me out. It makes me a better mom to not try to be a better mom sometimes.

Erica September 10, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Cake eating picture for the win!

Hope September 10, 2012 at 6:08 pm

What a beautiful post! Happy birthday to your little guy. 😀

Joanne September 10, 2012 at 7:43 pm

Absolutely heartwarming! And I’m not even a mom:-)

Tragic Sandwich September 10, 2012 at 9:22 pm

My mother always said that she wanted us to know that she was a human being who sometimes got frustrated or even angry–but she always loved us. She thought it was important to know that she didn’t have to be perfect to be a loving, devoted mother.

Ginger September 12, 2012 at 9:52 pm

I think that’s so important. My mom did it too, and it definitely made a difference in our relationship. And now, as a mom myself, I can look back and think “hey she wasn’t perfect, but look how well our relationship worked out” when I get caught up in “doing it wrong.”

Kate September 13, 2012 at 7:23 am

The last line is simply beautiful. From one mommy to another – I get it. Happy 3rd birthday Jackson! Don’t ever lose those curls, buddy!

April September 13, 2012 at 2:32 pm

He’s adorable! It’s important to make your own decisions and be at peace with your own decisions for motherhood. I may have not made the same decisions that others would have in my position, but I can say that I still feel I made all the decisions that were best for my family. Have a great third year with your little man!

Elizabeth September 20, 2012 at 9:00 pm

I can’t believe three is here for him–I still remember your posts about his earliest days, and heck, your posts before he was even in the picture! He’s still such a stunning child.

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