Entering a New Phase

It’s official.

I’m no longer the mother of a toddler. (Not that she’s “toddled” in a very long time.)

My youngest child, my daughter, turned 4 today.

Yes, I had to take a moment just now to blink hard so I could see the screen through my tears.

I’ve always had a difficult time with change/time-passage/moments going too quickly. I have a very clear memory of my 10th birthday when it hit me that I was an entire decade old. (I’ve always had dramatic tendencies.) I cried that I was getting old and that a phase of my life was over. My teacher took me out in the hall, very concerned, and listened as I told her what was upsetting me.

She basically told me to get over it. I don’t remember exact details, but she shared with me how when she was 10, her father died. It was ridiculous of me to be upset over “growing up” when other people have real problems.

She was right.

I also remember the speaker at my brother’s graduation ceremony. He made a big deal about enjoying every single phase of your life. Don’t wish any time away. Be thankful for every stage and what it brings.

It is my goal in life to live each stage to the fullest. Don’t rush to the next one before it’s time. But also don’t drag my heels so that I waste time in the new one.

Even though for the past 8 years my identity has been “the mother of small children,” and it is a little difficult and scary to give that up, I’m determined to enjoy this new stage. I made a conscious effort to enjoy every single moment of the last stage, so I can move ahead now with no regrets.

And there are some great things about the new phase. Although I sometimes miss being their entire world, it’s exciting to see them move into independence.

To keep this post from being completely off-topic, let me share how all of this relates to my home.

I generally attempt to avoid preaching, or giving any advice. I’m just going through my own journey out of slobdom, and hopefully my struggles and victories can encourage you. But today, I want to encourage any of you who are moms of little bitties.

Yes, it’s so much harder to keep your home in order when you have babies and toddlers running around. Some people feel like they become a slob when they hit this phase of life, and for people like me, who were born slobs, it sends things into complete chaos.

But enjoy these moments anyway. Treasure them, because they’ll be gone before you know it. Do what you can to make things better, but never let it take your focus off of your family.

Yes, I do worry that all of my children’s 2 foot tall memories will include clutter all over the floor. But even though that may be the case, I know they’ll also remember being loved, being my top priority. And even though the days did fly by, I didn’t miss a thing.

Comments

  1. As the mom of a 20 year old, I can attest to the truth of what you said! Childhood is gone before you know it, and you do have to treasure every moment!

    One of my favorite things in our son's nursery was a framed poem/song. Even though it's been stored away for years, it still reminds me that spending time with our son is way more important than any chore around the house! I think you'll enjoy it:
    http://holyjoe.org/poetry/hamilton.htm

    Enjoy this new phase with your daughter, and don't forget that working together is spending time together too, and your kids learn valuable skills for life! Looking back, that's one thing I would do more if I could go back. We spent lots of time playing together, reading, going places, and doing things, and he has always had chores, but I would have spent more time working "together" on household things. It's great bonding time – especially cooking together!

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with all of us. I enjoy your blog every day!

  2. Nony (A Slob Comes Clean) says:

    Love that poem! Thanks so much for sharing it. It's called "Song for a Fifth Child." So true. She's my third, and likely last, so it's so much more poignant.

  3. I know I should take all what your saying in but being in the midst of the chaos it's hard and even harder becuase I am sooooo type A.

    But it is posts like this that remind me to slow down and take time with my little people. Mine are ages 7, 4yr old twins and a 17 month old..yes my floors are always dirty!

    Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Wow, I finally found a person that thinks like me :) I was just wondering yesterday whether or not my kids even notice the chaos around them or if it is just normal for them. I too try to cherish every moment! My problem is we spend so much time having fun that there is little time left for housework….. Oh well, maybe someday i'll find a healthy balance. Thanks so much for your blog, it's nice to know i'm not the only slob out there!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am the mom of a 18.5 year old and a 17 year old. My oldest is going to college in september 6.5 hours from our home. I miss the times when they were little and they would crawl into my lap for a cuddle. Now if they want a cuddle it is a mess of arms and legs everywhere. Each stage is wonderful but always bittersweet. Luckily we have a great long distance plan as my daughter will be getting lots of calls from me!

  6. Well, I had to go cry for 5 minutes while I made my sandwich ( I try to keep busy when I cry). Like you I have always hated time passage moments. I don’t like when people even mark the x’s on the calendar, it gives me anxiety. I NEVER, in all my complaining about how hard it is to have so many small children, wish for them to be bigger so it would be easier. I just wish for more help! My mom always said the “don’t wish your life away” thing to me and her mom said it to her. I always just want a pause button so I could just catch my breath for a minute and think and of course sleep for 24 hours straight.

    Now that my oldest is in school all day I wish elementary was half day the whole time. I miss her and our quiet time while the babies were sleeping.

    Thanks Nony:) :) :(

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