Motherhood - 9 things I have learned 9 years in

My first born turned 9 this weekend! When they say it goes fast, it is such an understatement! I literally cannot believe that I have been a mom for 9 WHOLE years. Here is what motherhood has taught me 9 years in!

I can remember the day I went into labour with my son. It was 2013 - and the Trayvon Martin trial results came out that Saturday. Trayvvon's killer went scott-free and I remember feeling so sad and dejected in my spirit that Saturday. Well that verdict must have caused something because the next morning I went into labour. I was exactly 40 weeks and just 1 day past my due date. This baby was set on coming on-time. We were living in Montreal at the time and I was a PhD student struggling with funding. I had just finished my data collection in Kenya a few months before and had no desire whatsoever to think about analyzing my data. Some of what I felt in that season was shame. Here I was 33 with "little" to show for it. Pregnant with my first born and no where close to the level of stability I had envisioned for myself and my family at this time. Life had happened and while I didn't regret any of my decisions to that point, I still felt like I would have wanted to be in a better place.

*spoileralert* it got way better: fast forward to 9 years later and I am a mom of 3, we own our home, PhD is done, hubby and I have stable permanent jobs: GOD IS GOOD!

So what have I learned along the way?

1. The New Born Days are the hardest

Listen the new born days are hands down the hardest season of parenthood I have had to deal with. Your body is exhausted and healing, you thought the birth was the hardest and scariest past only to realize that leaving the hospital with a human you are 100% responsible for is one of the SCARIEST things you will do. I remember looking at the nurses like we just leave with him, a whole new human, you aren't coming with us? The lack of sleep and having baby adjust to earthside while you adjust to being a mom is NUTs. I call it waterboarding at Guantanamo where you're woken up every 2 hours by baby who is adjusting to the fridge being outside of the body instead of inside. Yes newborns are soooo schweet and yummy BUT man on man those first SIX weeks! Grace and more grace

2. Each season comes with its own joys and opportunities

Everyone will tell parents enjoy them it goes by so fast. A toddler mom with an infant DOES NOT want to hear that when the toddler is having tantrums and the new born just wants to cry. 10-45 minutes of those cries can drive you nuts quite literally. The way in which you have to watch a mobile baby or a toddler like a hawk so they don't: topple over, electrocute themselves, put something inappropriate in their mouth and choke - it is EXHAUSTING. Physically and mentally. But then the next season with older school-aged inquisitive kids who always want to know why or have a million gazillion questions is also tiring. But then watching them experience new things is soooo fun! When your kids cool personalities start to come out you just have to smile and when they get sarcasm or have an interesting sense of humour they turn into folks you can have real conversations with.

3. It gets more COMPLEX

Each subsequent season of parenthood is more complex than the previous one. You trade sleepless nights for running up and down after the little walker and then you trade that for answering WHY and full fledged tantrums then you trade that for school drama and he said she saids then you trade that for juggling multiple sports and activities and you just feeling like you are the chauffeur. We aren't yet in the major crush and heartbreak season, they still want to hang mostly with us but I know a time is coming when they won't even want to be in the same room, we are in the gaming season and that will probably be replaced by only wanting to hang out in their room. It gets more complex.

Motherhood toughens you and softens you at the same time! ~Career Slay Mama

4. Accept all the help you can get!

I was so set on doing it all by myself and that led to me taking so much on without leaning in on any help that was offered to me. When we had the twins though, I realized that you cannot grow additional arms and as one mom you can only do so much. It was really hard for me and for my personality to accept that I needed help and because of that I suffered alot in silence. That being said, I will never forget the precious help I got from a couple of friends who were single at the time. Friendship developed and has really grown since then. Motherhood is not the time to try and play superwoman: if help is offered TAKE IT.

5. Plan to pay for help

The other side of the coin is that I look back and wish I had just paid for help. I know that budget doesn't always permit you to pay for help. That being said, you can't always wait for the "village" to come to you. There is often no village. Friendships also turned awkward when I was only approaching people because I was thinking they could help me. Outsource what you can whether that is laundry service, house cleaning, a sitter so you have a date night every once in a while, grocery service. Make the numbers work and prioritize where you can, you'll be surprised when you look at the numbers that if you save here and there you could afford a sitter even if it is twice a year.

6. Savour the sweet moments

I used to hate it when parents of older children would say that it goes by in a flash. That's the last thing you want to hear when you were up all night with a sick kid, or when the kids are constantly bickering and fighting and you're exhausted from repeating yourself a million times! What I have appreciated is leaning into the SWEET moments. Taking a mental note: whether it is one of my kiddies kissing my cheek or watching them hug one another. Us having a really funny family moment or just sitting in silence together. Movie nights when we are all snuggled together. Take a mental picture and internalize the joy for that moment because sometimes those moments are few and far between and you need to remember that they exist.

7. Capture, capture ,capture all the moments

Mental notes are great but physical evidence is greater. Take ALL. THE. PICs and ALL. THE. VIDEOs. My 2013 iPhone 5s was constantly out of space and I eventually just bought the 100GIG from apple (I'm up to 200Gig and seriously contemplating upping it to 2T because I don't even want to delete anything). And don't just take pics of your kids - get in the pictures mom. Take ALL the selfies! Whenever I go through my phone it amazes me how HAPPY how my kids are in the pictures (minus the pics I forced them to take where they have screwed their faces mschew! but even those are funny). Document - you will NEVER regret having too many pictures of your kids like never!

8. Motherhood will bring up ALOT that you needed to heal from in your childhood

This one was unexpected. As my boy creeps towards teenage (officially a pre-teen now) I am finding that my parenting style and my husband's parenting styles are often in opposition. I go from gentle parent to firm boundaries. He goes from firm to firmer. All the ish from the way we were raised and how that triggers each of us is coming out is no fun. Therapy has been a game changer for me to understand what regulates me vs deregulates me and what does that for my kids and my hubby. Naming the issue is the first step BUT then there is the work work that needs to be done. My kids are also much more vocal about what they like and don't like and they have opinions that we respect so having to accept that they don't want to wear what I chose or that they don't want to hug so and so is something I am learning to do as I reconcile with how were raised.

9. It get's better with time

By better I mean you will have time to rediscover yourself. As my kids 9 and 6 times two get more independent, it is a little less stressful and slowly I have a little more time. We live by routine so the kids are still at the age when they go to bed around 8pm (9ish over the summer) which means we have a bit of time each evening to Side-hustle, blog, coach and do other things. I don't have to watch them like a hawk which means I am not always on high alert. I often work side by side to them so I can monitor what they are watching on YouTube because YT be really ghetto sometimes with the ads and the videos that come up. We can reason with one another which is a great thing because there are things we can talk out. This isn't always the case but I have more luck reasoning with a 9 year old than a 2.5 year old having a temper tantrum.

The best part for me is having my kids also get to know me, getting some "culture" in them - hello Michale, Boyz II Men, Whitney and Mariah. Playing with them, but also letting them play among themselves. Motherhood has changed me completely BUT it has also brought out qualities in me I didn't even know I had. I mean patience is a real VIRTUE and YELLING is also allowed - especially after repeating myself like a million times.

What I will never ever take for granted is how much of a gift motherhood and parenthood is. Even when the days feel too long and the years too short, I won't ever lose sight of how precious and how much of a privilege it is for me to get to parent my sweet kids. They will ALWAYS be my babies.

How about you? What season are you in and what are you most looking forward to in parenthood?


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