Last night just as I drifted towards dreamland a realization startled me into teary wakefulness: this is my last year with a baby at home. Next year, all three children will be in school. I will not have a child constantly in tow. I am not ok with this. Let me repeat, I AM NOT OK WITH THIS.
Nope. Too fast. Too, too fast.
Cue the mom guilt. Guilt that I missed so much time with #1 and #2 because I was working part-time. Guilt that I don’t work part-time with #3 because that means my mom (my childcare provider) hasn’t gotten to bond with him as she did with #1 and #2, guilt that I get frustrated. Guilt that I don’t spend enough individual time with each child. Guilt that sometimes I need a break. Guilt that it all went by so quickly and I must be losing memory capacity because it went by too fast. Guilt that I didn’t babywear with #1 and #2 like I do with #3. Guilt that I have bad days. Guilt that I’m ok with being “mean mom” (because being a passive parent seems much sweeter). Guilt that sometimes I just want to zone out on social media instead of playing princess-rockstar-doctor with the kids. Guilt… so much guilt.
The shoddy mom thoughts started. You know the ones. The nit-picky negative swell of self-defeating insults that sabotage any maternal confidence.
“Stop!” I told myself. This is pointless. I am a human parenting humans; things will not be perfect. I will falter, they will falter, life will move on. I just need to try to learn from mistakes, try to do better, offer love and support as best I can, teach my children to be decent humans, give myself breaks so I can offer the better parts of myself, and be there… just be there.
I took a deep breath and refocused. I allowed my mind to replay the slideshow of “last year before preschool” memories from #1 and #2’s baby years. Tears fell. My heart swelled. I drifted off to sleep.
This will be my last year with a baby at home. I will enjoy it.