Wednesday, October 08, 2008

A Shift In The Mommy-Perspective

This past Sunday, Eric took Isabelle, Alex, and Olivia out for a few hours, which left me home alone with Gracie. This is a very rare occurrence. I can't even remember the last time I had just one of the kids at home alone with me.

While they were gone, I got so much work done. Gracie played happily with a bowl of water on the kitchen floor and with her toys. In between jobs, I got down on the floor to play with her. I wanted to make sure we got some real quality time in during this small window of one-on-one time.

The whole time though, I kept feeling how unusual it was - the house was eerily quiet, Gracie was as happy as could be, and I was accomplishing way more than I had intended. This having only one child stuff is easy!

Isn't it funny how our perspective shifts when we have more kids?

I remember when Isabelle was a baby I felt harassed and harried all of the time! I felt like I never got any work done because I was so busy taking care of and playing with this little baby who needed my complete and undivided attention. My life was no longer about me, and that took some getting used to. For a time, I didn't think I'd ever be able to handle having more than one child.

When I think back to how stressed I used to be during those years, I just have to shake my head at myself. I somehow wish there was a way you could start with a few kids of staggered ages. I think the adjustment period might be easier. Either that or it's all about experience. I'm not sure which.

Eric and I (and my sister and I) have talked about this several times. We've come to the conclusion that, at least for us, the first baby is the most difficult adjustment period. As parents, you go from having free time and only your schedules to worry about to having a third life entirely reliant on you and your time. And even though the first few months and years with the first baby are filled to bursting with love and excitement, it is still an adjustment.

Once we learned to adjust our time and lifestyle, additional children weren't quite as shocking to the system. Yes, they mean more work, but we found the increased work level wasn't that bad. And then there is that love, which just grows and grows and knows no limits.

My mommy-perspective has definitely shifted. One child once kept me on my toes non-stop. Now it feels like a walk in the park. I love growing in mommy experience and learning all of these new ways to look at the world around me thanks to the filter my kids provide.


5intow 8:16 AM  

My husband and I have talk about this same idea at times. After we acclimated to each new child it was amazing how "easy" it seemed when one or two of them were gone for a day.

Or, we would be running out to the store and "just" take three kids with us. Ha! I'm sure those in larger families say the same, "Oh, I'll just keep the younger 7 with me. That won't be any big deal." Another case in point that we get used to whatever amount of work, responsibilities, or busyness we have in our lives.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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