Three years ago today, my husband opened his business.
And he snapped this picture when we stopped by to say hi.
My youngest son was about to turn 1.
I look so tired. (I was tired.)
This picture nearly took my breath away.
These were the children I had always dreamed of, in a business my husband had always dreamed of. And it was better and harder than I could have ever imagined.
This picture nearly took my breath away.
The babies I always dreamed of are no longer babies, and technically my stay-at-home mom gig comes to an end this August. My youngest son will start Pre-K, making him the first of my children to actually go to school. It’s only for a year, so I am
only slightly freaking out totally cool with it.
I homeschool my kids (a fact I don’t mention often because I want you to like me and not think I’m weird) and work from home…so while I am still home with them, my role has changed so much that I’m probably not considered a stay-at-home mom anymore.
And what I mean by that is that I am required to change out of my yoga pants more often that I used to.
It’s a weird thing to be the mom who’s done this for awhile.
Because some days, I still feel 19 and wonder how I got here.
And other days, I look in the mirror and know exactly how I got here.
It’s not easy to have both greasy, gray hair while still having the skin complexion of a pubescent teen. And those sexy glasses are the kind result of carrying precious children in my womb for 36 months. It wasn’t enough that I barfed for eighty collective weeks and gained 200 pounds. I also needed them to screw up my ability to see and contain my pee when doing jumping jacks during my work out video.
And by doing “jumping jacks during my work out video”, I refer to that one day a year I decide that I am going to work out because one too many children pinched my squishy belly and made me promise there wasn’t a baby in there. And then I can’t move my arms for five days because of what great shape I’m in, and I remember that my ability to use my arms trumps my need to be thin.
I also remember I like to eat cupcakes more than the average person.
And then tell myself that they invented Spanx for a reason.
But then I don’t wear Spanx because I actually like to breathe.
It’s all a glamorous cycle that reminds me I am not 19 anymore. Thank goodness. What would I do with all that sleep and free time??
I laugh to think that life felt really hard when I was that age and working 15 whole hours a week while going to school 15 more treacherous hours. Thirty whole hours of hard things per week. It was a dark time in my life. It was my mother’s prayers that saw me through.
Because I now do 30 hours of work in a 24 hour day without batting an eye because that is what children require. And the weird thing is that as hard as it is, and as much as I don’t enjoy every moment like older women try to force me to, I do love this job. And I am actually impressed with my level of badassery.
Because I can assure you if my 19-year-old self saw a glimpse into a day of my 34-year-old self, she wouldn’t have tried to look quite so hot for that football player. She would have been too scared for what was ahead. She was what one might have called “a brat”. A brat who liked to sleep and liked clothes to actually fit. She couldn’t have known this then, but she would one day find out that she also liked her boobs to be where they’re supposed to be.
The thing is, this mom gig is so much harder and more intense that I would have ever thought when I naively pored through “What To Expect When You’re Expecting”. But it is so much better.
Raising kids is nothing like I would have ever expected.
I would have never thought I would feel embarrassed when my son wasn’t NFL caliber in Kindergarten football (and would need to take my expectations down a notch), but I also never would have guessed my ten year old could outwit his hilarious dad.
I knew I would love having a daughter, but when I married that football guy, I could not have imagined how precious it would be to see the sparkle in his eyes when he looks at her. Or how much she cackles when he tells her she can’t date til she’s 30. And don’t get me started on the sweetness of her watching our wedding video for the millionth time and dreaming of her own big day as I lay with her at night.
My parents and I used to laugh at what a terrible toddler I was. I once went three weeks without speaking to my dad WHEN I WAS THREE. I could give the silent treatment like a boss and was as stubborn as the day is long. Which is all fun and games until I birthed myself. And any threat of punishment is met with “I dare you” rather than obedience. That boy is possibly more stubborn than me. But he’s also the sweetest kid in the bunch and wonders aloud how far into me he can snuggle without getting stuck. Swoon.
Raising kids is harder and better than I ever expected. And it only gets better with time.
I used to wish I could freeze time. To stay in the moment forever. I never wanted my kids to get older because the little years are so precious. Of course, they’re impossibly hard…but the sweet moments in the midst of the hard are gut-wrenchingly cute.
But I don’t wish I could freeze time anymore. Because it’s only gets better. I will always miss the sweetness of holding my newborn for the first time. And the overwhelming joy when they sleep through the night. The hilarity and awesomeness of watching a one year old walk for the first time. And the cuteness of toddlers learning to speak while slaughtering the English language. Even in the hard, I loved the little years.
The magic in raising kids is that it gets even more awesome.
The little years are often talked about because they’re so hard.
The teen years are often talked about because they’re so hard.
But what no one really talks about is the amazingness of the middle years. When kids are old enough to wipe their own butts but young enough to still hold my hand. A thoroughly washed hand, of course (sarcasm). They’re old enough to have their own hopes and dreams while still young enough to be open and talk about them. They can easily fall asleep on their own but convince me they can’t unless I scratch their backs.
And I scratch their backs.
Because this is when they share their deepest thoughts and their biggest fears.
Moms of littles, I promise those incredible conversations make every sleepless night, every diaper explosion, every piece of broccoli they wouldn’t eat and you were too tired to care, every toddler tantrum, and every gray hair worth it.
Perhaps it was worth capturing the heart of that football player after all. We’ve made some pretty great babies. And that 19-year-old girl’s life was pretty boring compared to the hilariousness and craziness that is my life today.
It turns out that football player is the real winner. Instead of the well-groomed, perfectly straight hair, 20-20 vision, flat stomached, perky boobed, well-rested girl that won his heart, he gets to come home to this.
Not pictured: my sexy yoga pants.
We can all agree that I am most definitely not 19 anymore.
But I can eat cupcakes with wild abandon.
And there’s something really sexy about that.
That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.