If you happen to read my blog, you know that I am a young mother (24 years old) of two kids (a two and a half year old toddler and a 7 week old baby), Boopie and Sweetpea, respectively. I got a lot of great advice before I had Sweetpea, and I had a lot of anxiety about having two. But I want you to know something: we are OK. This maternity leave was a bit of a struggle at times, yes. And I relied on the TV wayyyy more than I wanted to, yes. We didn't manage to do any fun crafts or any outings. But do you know what I did accomplish? I managed to get closer to my toddler and understand her better. I became a better Mommy. I became a better disciplinarian, a better multi-tasker, a better thinker and planner. I was offered many chances to rely on my mother, and I didn't always take them. I knew when I should and when it was better for me to figure it out, and deal with it, myself. I learned, oh how I learned.
I learned how to put both kids down for a nap at the same time -- holding them both, rocking them both, loving them both - at the same time. I learned how to still manage to get them down for a nap when the infant is cranky, or the toddler isn't quite sleepy yet. I learned how to get a sleeping toddler, crying infant, diaper bag, purse and bag of groceries out of the car and into our apartment building without waking the toddler, managing to calm the infant by swinging the carseat, and without dropping the groceries (too many times).
I feel so proud of myself, and maybe that sounds conceited and stupid. I shouldn't necessarily be proud for finally stepping up and being the mother I should have been two years ago. I still am, though. Having this second one really showed me where I was screwing it all up, and put things into perspective. It has really helped me to let go of some of this selfishness and embrace these years where every single moment is about my kids - even my "me" time, because it's time to recharge so that I can give them 100%.
I am sad to return to work. But it's OK. I can feel safe that the kids are with my mother. I can feel pleased that I still have a job in a shitty economy. I can smile and know that when I get home, I will be a better mother for this time with them at home -- when they taught me how to be a better mom.
You have to go check out iMommy's blog. She is too funny. I love her blog because a) she has really cute kids that look just freakin' like her; and b) she is totally, completely, refreshingly regular. Also, she is not at all afraid to be herself, and she doesn't apologize for the way she parents. She does it her way, and it's a pretty cool way. Go check her out.