It’s been awhile since I’ve brought up a mom topic, and I’m full of them now that Cy has started preschool (hallelujah).
As newborns turn into babies, babies into toddlers, and toddlers into small humans, the shift is slow yet unexpected as you witness it unravel before you. You are no longer just keeping your child alive — you are shaping them into full-fledged people.
When you really think about it, this is quite terrifying. We are ultimately responsible for who our children become, how they behave, and what horrific or amazing choices they end up making as they continue getting older.
I’m only now just beginning to understand how heavy that is.
Shifting gears, here.
How Many Kids You Want vs. How Many You Get
I am finally on board with having another baby. I’ve been hesitant for awhile, so perhaps that is why it hasn’t happened yet? I do think most things in life happen for a reason — or at least they unfold in a way that we are equipped to not only handle, but embrace.
That said, I don’t at all believe in perfect timing or waiting for the right time when it comes to anything, but especially when it comes to “family planning.” I believe things happen precisely when they are supposed to, disregarding our hopeful timeline wishes and instead fulfilling a larger purpose.
To that end…
With having preschool-aged children comes the exchange of pleasantries at school drop-off and playground park benches. While questions in the realm of, “Do you only have the one?” and “Are you going to have another?” are valid conversation starters, they have a way of piercing you if it’s through an unspoken undertone — or your ill perception of the undertone.
And depending on the day and your state of mind (and let’s be honest — our periods), those questions can really sting.
I made this “mistake” just last week conversing with another mom whom I had just met on the playground. The second thing that came flying out of my mouth, as if on autopilot, after talking about our sons’ teacher was, “Do you want to have another baby?” to which she went on to tell me that she and her husband had been trying for the last few years with no success — and that she felt like giving up.
I don’t necessarily think it’s an offensive or even intrusive question, because I believe in the benefits of sharing vulnerable stories — even and especially when it’s with someone we’ve just met — but I do think we should be more mindful in the way we inquire about something so personal. Something that is private.
So while I do want another baby, and I truly don’t care if that happens in one year or in 4 years, it feels like the clock is ticking louder and faster now that I’m on board with the idea, rather than off, because I can now feel the expectations of other people weighing on me — even though I’ve created those expectations for myself.
Before, when I wasn’t ready, I was subconsciously buying time because my son was still young, which meant I could table the inevitable for later on.
All That To Say…
I think we all have these versions of what we believe our lives should look like, and when they don’t stack up to both our and others’ expectations, we feel like we let everyone down.
As I wrap up my book on modern motherhood, I’m getting closer to coming at peace with the ending. I’ve been stalling on finishing it because I want the ending to be perfect. But I haven’t hit my perfect ending yet in real life — so how could I possibly be okay with publishing?
I thought not having the perfecting ending in my personal chapter of life meant the book wasn’t ready. After all, who wants an imperfect ending? Aren’t happy endings what we all want, whether we’re talking about fairytale movies or real life celebrations?
Happy endings may very well be what we want, but it isn’t always what we get. Life isn’t a blueprint. We need to stop treating it like one. If I’m just sitting around, waiting for the Great Big Thing to happen (like getting pregnant), there’s no telling if and when this book will get published.
In closing, this quote came to mind:
“Don’t write the book that you want to write. Write the book that needs to be written.”
So that’s what I’m going to do.
Does having only one kid make you less of a mom? This sounds ridiculous, but it’s a real question I’ve been fighting lately.
Will mom-shaming ever go away? From what we do (or don’t) for work to how we discipline our kids, will moms really ever be on each other’s side?
What’s making motherhood (or womanhood) most difficult for you right now? On the flip side, what’s making it fabulous? How can you hang on to that?
What are you most looking forward to this week?
Thanks for reading today. As always, your questions and comments are always welcome.
PS. Because today’s post was so serious, here is one of my favorite Carrie & Miranda friendship photos to boost your mood. Plus, another hilarious podcast episode from Ashley & Rayna, and a little something to snack on, just for writers.