Reflections on Year Two of Motherhood

by Ginger on September 7, 2011

in Mom Thoughts

Cupcake with 2 candle on it

Yesterday my little man turned two.

I find myself at a loss for words, at least compared to last year. So much of what I wrote then remains true that I feel like I could just copy and paste segments from that over here and still be true to the experience of this year.

Happy Birth Day Balloon

But then, at the same time, this year has been different. Harder, in many ways. The first year was about survival, and that bare-knuckled climb out of post-partum hormones and the newborn/infant days. This year…well, this year I had to actually be a parent. I had to discipline. I had to teach. I had to deal with the WILL of my child. Some people have to do that earlier, but it wasn’t until Jackson was well and truly a toddler that it became a struggle for us…or at least, for me. I have questioned my parenting, I have questioned my thought processes, I have questioned whether I am a good mom, I have questioned…oh, have I questioned. Especially from about 16-23 months. Those were rough.

That makes it sound like I was absolutely miserable. Oh, don’t let me fool you. My kid on his worst day is still the most awesome person I know. I will take every second of self-doubt and frustration that comes my way to be around him. Because this year was also the year when his personality really REALLY turned on the charm. When he learned to blow kisses and give hugs. When he started to talk.  When he called me Mama. When he patted my cheek. When he started holding my hand. This was the year when he squealed in glee when I picked him up from daycare. When he figured out how to make us laugh–intentionally. In a million little and big ways, he rewards me for being his mom, whether I’m struggling or sailing.

Motherhood both suits me and makes me question myself constantly–and I’m not sure that will ever change. I think, in a lot of ways, that’s just what parenting IS sometimes, especially since I know I’m not alone in feeling that way. But even when I feel unsure, even when I feel like I’m making mistakes, even when I feel like I’m flying by the seat of my pants, at the end of the day being his mom makes me feel…right. I may mess up the details, but the big picture couldn’t be more perfect.

So here’s to two. May it be filled with the charm and light and joy and laughter of my little man (and as few tantrums as possible). May he continue to make me a better person, and may I continue to strive to live up to the responsibility of being his mom.

Jill Browning September 7, 2011 at 8:40 am

Happy birthday to your handsome boy!

Ashley // Our Little Apartment September 7, 2011 at 8:58 am

Happy birthday, buddy! 🙂

I so admire your sharing, Ginger. Our boys are nearly a year apart, so you can pave the way for me as always. 😉

bekah September 7, 2011 at 8:59 am

Wow two already!! I totally get where you are coming from on the parenting vs. survival…this is a different kind of tough!

[another] Ginger September 7, 2011 at 9:12 am

Beautifully written. Happy birthday to your little man. You are a thoughtful, patient and kind person and mom and he’s lucky to have you.

Cloud September 7, 2011 at 10:54 am

Happy birthday to your little guy!

I think motherhood just gets better as my kids get older. For me, it gets less physically demanding (i.e., I get to sleep more and eat my dinner more easily), but the parenting challenges get harder- the “right” answer is less clear. The rewards get bigger, too, though- it is awesome seeing my kids grow into their own personalities.

Amanda @ The Lungos September 7, 2011 at 12:22 pm

Happy Birthday to your Little Guy and Happy Birth-giving day to you, Mama! I am so not ready for my baby to turn 2 in December. The time goes so fast. Enjoy!

Jamie September 7, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Happy Birthday, Jackson! Parenthood is the ulitmate self-improvement challenge, isn’t it? And it gets trippier and trippier with each passing year. Some things get harder, some things get easier, but it will always be interesting!

Tara September 7, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Happy birthday, Jackson! Apparently, our toddlers are only about a month apart, as I will be facing TWO next month…

…and since you’ve basically said all that I would want to say, only much better than I would end up saying it, I’m just linking to your post on the big day 🙂

Brooke September 7, 2011 at 7:37 pm

Happy Birthday Jackson!

shellflower September 7, 2011 at 7:58 pm

Happy B-day to your little boy. It’s a cute age, but soooo demanding. My son is 16 now and I still remember the struggles from the early days. You put it really well here. It gets easier until about 13. When your son is taller than you are, it’s a whole new ball game. It’s easier to discipline when you are still bigger than they are, so if you do it right now, it will be a piece of cake later. Jackson is a cutie!

Megan September 7, 2011 at 8:59 pm

I love this post. I think so many of us can relate to it.

Happy birthday to your adorable Jackson!

Elizabeth September 7, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Have I really been reading your blog long enough for you to have a TWO YEAR OLD?

Happy birthday to Jackson. I know what an incredible experience it’s all been for you three.

P.S. His curls still slay me.

Jess September 8, 2011 at 1:55 am

Exactly–challenging, but so worth it.

clara September 8, 2011 at 8:05 am

It is so much a two-sided coin, isn’t it. We are our best and our worst…as are they.

Happy birthday to him & to you too!

(In my experience, 2-3 is a super awesome age too.)

kate September 17, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Oh – this one hit home. Beckett’s two year birthday was a much harder milestone to swallow than her 1st birthday. I knew that the first year went fast because we were in survival mode – but where did the second 12 months go? And, how did they go so fast?! And, now she’s THREE!? Enjoy the twos – they are fun. Every day is a new experience, a new word, a new personality quirk. It’s wonderful!

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