An Uncomplicated Life Blog: Long Days, Short Years

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Long Days, Short Years

How registering my oldest for kindergarten has me reflecting on the old saying, "The days are long, but the years are short."


I actually started to cry as I typed that title out. Then I started to laugh at myself for crying. Then I was that insane person who was laugh-crying... At her laptop. Here's the thing: motherhood is a deep pool of weird emotions. You can feel contradictory ways at the EXACT same time. I've mentioned before on Instagram how it's weird to feel relief at the exact same time that I feel sadness about never being pregnant again. How I can be driven entirely insane from two twins pulling, scratching, tugging on my clothes and look down at their goofy, smiling faces and feel so much love for the thing that's driving me mad. On February 28, I registered my oldest child for kindergarten. Kindergarten! At an actual real school (not a church preschool like my other kids go to) that's a full day long. It got me reminiscing on him and his "baby" days and made me realize an old saying is painfully true: the days are long, but the years are short.

Shortly after delivering Henry after a surprise emergency c section

My first pregnancy was by far, without question or doubt, my longest. I found out we were expecting a week before my bachelorette party. Nothing like being the designated driver at your own party, right?! And it was like I was pregnant and out of commission for a whole slew of things I'd want to party (aka have a drink) and feel great at: bachelorette. Then my birthday. Then Christmas, followed by New Years. Then my own wedding. Date night on Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day parade. You get the gist. It was like I got pregnant right at the worst possible time, and since the pregnancy spanned over two calendar years, I felt like I was pregnant FOREVER.

My birth literally could not have gone more opposite than what I wanted. I had all my prenatal care done with midwives at a birth center. At 29 weeks, I went into preterm labor and was put on bed rest. At 35 weeks, he was still breech so I saw an OB to attempt an external cephlic version to flip him. It failed, because I had low fluid and was a first time mom. Before I could even get all my paperwork transferred to the OB from my midwives (birthing at the birth center with a breech baby was out - I knew at this point I'd be having a c section because nobody would allow me to try a breech birth for my first baby), my water broke at 36 weeks. We googled directions to the hospital we had never even toured, because it just wasn't the plan.

Once we were home with Henry, I was woefully unprepared for how hard being a mom was. I had every intention of breastfeeding for a year, but knew nothing about it and the demands it'd place on me. I hated it. I hated how often the baby needed ME; nobody else could fulfill this role. I was completely unprepared for what real sleep deprivation felt like. I thought, "Hey, I graduated college in 3 years while working at least two jobs the whole time. I totally know what being tired feels like!" Ha! Joke was on me. That was nothing compared to motherhood.

Henry's school photo from his first year of preschool

The first year of Henry's life, I was a true stay at home mom. Yes, I had started this blog, but it was purely a hobby; something to keep my brain stimulated and have fun with. I hadn't yet monetized it - that was a dream I'd realize the following year. Nope, his first year of life, I was at home 100% with him. No nanny. No preschool. 100% me, all the time. I found it exhausting and brain-numbing. I remember one morning, he must have been two or three months old, I was trying to get a workout DVD in. It was a 20 min workout and Henry was having none of it. I went to get my screaming baby and looked at him, with his face red from wailing, and thought, "I'm never going to make it. All I want is some peace! I'm never going to last 5 years until this kid is in kindergarten and I can catch a break. This is awful!"

Turns out, I was experiencing some pretty bad postpartum depression. I didn't get the birth I wanted, I hated breastfeeding and being a stay at home mom was miserable. No wonder I was struggling! I look back at photos from when Henry was a baby and it's like I don't even remember him being that little. As if my brain just shut down and blocked that time out. I simply remember that those were the LONGEST days I've ever had as a mom. When my husband was on business trips and I'd have Henry all by myself for days on end, it truly felt like it would never end. When my husband was in town, I'd look at the clock and it'd be 3:30. An hour would pass, I'd look at the clock again, and it'd read 3:32. Time moved that slowly!

He still makes this face when he's not having the BS you're feeding him 

Right about the time we moved from the house we were renting to our current home that we bought, I started to come out of my PPD fog. I had finally made some mom friends and started to take Henry on regular play dates. I remember St. Patrick's Day, me and a group of moms who all had our babies about the same time went to the Dallas Arboretum, sat in the sun, had a picnic and drank wine. I had a great time! I had finally found my "mom groove." I was pregnant again the following month, Henry began preschool when he turned 12 months and by that summer, I had monetized the blog and had actual income of my own again. Things were great! But man, that first year home alone with Henry felt like a decade. Like I was wading through pudding instead of walking through air.

Here's something that I've learned, four kids later: Sure, it's EASIER to only have one child. In fact, that's the problem. It's too easy. It makes time move really, really slow. You can get things done at a reasonable pace, so it's as if there's TOO much time to get things done. There's nobody else for the child to play with, so they always want YOU to play with them. The more children I've had, the faster time has gone. And the easier motherhood has gotten. When I look at the clock and it's 3:30 now - even if my husband is gone on a business trip - I think, ok! I need to go make tomorrow's lunches and then get on dinner. If I don't get my arse moving, we'll never get to bed on time! 3:30 with four kids means I'm headed into the busiest time of the day, not the slowest moving time.

Killing bugs, birds and squirrels for mom. Sweet boy knows mama doesn't like nature hanging around her yard

Probably because I've gone on to have four kids in four years, I can tell you it's like I've blinked and now Henry is ready for kindergarten. What I thought was going to be an eternity went by like lightning! Sure, there are still days that are long. When he's misbehaving or sick, time slows down. But when I look back on the collective years that have passed, holy cow do they move quickly! He went from a baby who never slept to a walking toddler to potty trained and now a kindergartener all in a flash. I feel like in another flash, we'll be filling out college applications and he'll move away. In between flashes, the'll be days that drag on and on of sickness, arguments, disciplining him for bad behavior, mistakes made that have huge impacts (on both of us), sports tournaments that never end, and endless amounts of lunches I need to make. I have a true dislike for making lunches, y'all. I CANNOT WAIT to simply pump money into an account and have someone else make lunch for my kids! It will be like Christmas... Everyday. Kidding! Kinda.

All grown up

Anyway, here we are, all registered for Henry to start "big boy school." For a brief moment in my life, it seemed as though I'd never reach this point. Then I got busy making and raising more babies, and somehow overnight, I arrived to this place in time I so desperately wanted, and I'm no longer sure I want it. On the one hand, I love watching Henry become his own person, with his own talents and own personality and his own faults. At the same time, I yearn for the days when he was my baby - my only baby. Motherhood is so weird like that! The days are most certainly long, but dang those years are so short and go by so quickly. 

5 comments:

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  2. I still remember when both of my boys started kindergarten. Now my oldest is going to start his senior year in the fall and my youngest is graduating from elementary school in June. The days are long but the years are most definitely short. I completely get what you're feeling.

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  3. That’s a good way to put it, long days and short years. I like that :) it always reminds you to be present, that’s for sure!

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  4. Such a big milestone for both mom and kiddos!

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