My youngest recently had a birthday. She’s 4 now and finally to a point where if the items she seeks are within her reach she will try her best to not ask for help.
She can retrieve herself a drink, a snack, handle a trip to the bathroom without much help and she does it all while beaming with pride. Every day she has a new, more independent “trick” she’s learned.
Which means that every day there is one less thing that my “baby” needs me to do for her.
I should be sad. I should shed a tear every time she hits a milestone that pushes her dependence on me aside. But I’m not. Not even a little bit.
As my first-born grew more able to help himself and less reliant on me, I grieved slightly. I missed having to cut the fruit he could now chew right off the core. I yearned for our snuggles and stories before bed, because before I knew it, he was climbing up onto a top bunk with a light and a book to read, alone.
He wakes himself up in the morning, gets himself breakfast, makes sure he has his lunch and sometimes is the one to remind ME that it’s almost time to leave.
As he grew less dependent on me, I decided I missed having those moments of being needed.
So I had another. And then another. I wanted more children because I loved watching the wonder in a baby’s eyes. I adored snuggling my kids to sleep and cuddling up for a nap in the middle of the day while they slept away and I felt their chest rise and fall while I stared at their little red cheeks and bright lips. I appreciated being needed, and I cherished my role as mom.
But after nearly a decade of having children that rely on you for every single thing they need, if I’m being honest, I’m tired.
I love my children that goes without saying. I would do this whole crazy thing all over again, and again and again if it landed us in the same place every time because my little family is perfect just the way it is. But knowing that I am nearing the end of sleepless nights, overwhelming bedtimes, days of endless snack retrieval and interrupted showers, I have to say… I ain’t sad. Not even a little bit.
I look forward to our next chapter.
I am grateful for the years I had with my babies and the extra snuggles I got with them as a single mom. For years, I hadn’t had to share my kids when they got sick and wanted their parent to hold them tight until they felt better. I get to see every milestone, teach every sight word, read every bedtime story, kiss every boo-boo.
For all of that, I honestly am thankful. It’s not how I envisioned my life as a mom would be when I started this family. And it’s definitely not the kind of parenting I envisioned for my children, but it is the way it turned out, and I do not regret any minute of it. But I am, absolutely, without a doubt, ready for that phase to end.
I am ready for the phase of being able to take my kids to the grocery store without epic meltdowns.
I am looking forward to being able to shower in peace, and do it every day… if I choose. I anticipate nights where we can actually sit and play a game as a family without someone completely losing it because they don’t understand why you can’t just take all of the pieces off of the board to play house with them.
I can’t wait to be able to sit down for a “movie night” and actually WATCH the movie. I yearn for the days when keeping a child up late at night does, in fact, mean they will sleep later in the morning. I. AM. READY.
I know I’m done having kids because I’m not sad when my youngest finds a new, autonomous way to do something for herself.
I spent several years being sad about every self-reliant moment my oldest two kids had. I felt brought them a little closer to adulthood and a little farther away from me. I was worried about my “babies growing up” that I forgot to celebrate those mini-milestones.
So for now, I am spending my time championing my “baby” for each independent task she completes. I’ll pat myself on the back for raising three adorable beings that despite wanting to be able to do it all by and for themselves, still manage to take time out of their day to remind me of how much they love me.
I might be done having babies, but I am definitely not done being a mom. And I’m excited to see what this kind of mom will be able to accomplish now that she doesn’t have to spend 90% of her day opening juice pouches and the other 10% wiping tiny butts.