When I was a mother of babies, I thought, “when will this get easier?” I remember laying in bed, physically spent from the nursing and cleaning and washing and comforting. I often felt “touched out,” desiring a mere hour without hands all over me.
Does it get easier?
Or just different?
Back then, I’d describe it as a physical mothering. My body worked literally 24/7, feeding my babies. I wore them, fed them, held them, and cleaned them.
Today, my children are 7, 5 and 4 years old. They still love to cuddle and I can still carry the youngest around. However, my body isn’t feeding them anymore. Now, it is almost completely mental.
Are they eating all the proper nutrients?
Are they eating too much junk food?
How much time are they spending on the computer?
Am I giving them enough attention? Too much?
How do I handle discipline, are they being defiant or is this something stemming from another need?
Then there are the almost non-stop conversations I have with my children. Since they are all old enough for intelligent conversations, my mind is buzzing constantly with questions, demands, and solving problems.
By the time I sit down in a quiet house, it takes me at least an hour to reset my mind so I can hear my own thoughts. (Yeah, the ones that contain lists like “don’t forget to pay the bills, wash more laundry, and you agreed to volunteer at school tomorrow.”)
No, it doesn’t get easier. It changes. I’m still exhausted at the end of the day. But instead of my body feeling exerted, my mind is overwhelmed. Now I need to learn how to handle the noise and chaos and relish the peace.
I never thought I would miss the baby stage, but I do. And I know that while I can’t believe I will ever miss this age, I will.