I am in the middle of what feels like a giant paradox of parenthood. I feel pushed and pulled in a hundred directions as a mom. I have kids in varying stages who need me in different ways, and I don't always know how to be the right mom for each person. The biggest weight recently has been the disconnect I feel from my baby.
He will be 21 months next week and he knows four words. Four. Ma, Da, Yeah, No. He doesn't always say them consistently. There is so much grunting and screaming and crying, and it's become a major source of frustration for both of us. This week he's decided to start throwing everything in the toilet, and I feel like I'm losing my mind. He got ear tubes almost a month ago, and while I realize there were probably hearing issues factoring into his speech that the tubes will help with, I want a quick fix. A month feels like long enough for him to start talking, right? (obviously, I know it doesn't, but oh how I wish it did)
My time as a mom has taught me that families can only move as quickly as the slowest member. While the pace of life is getting faster with some of my kids, I feel mired down by a one year old. Although he feels like a whirling dervish and it seems like he's moving quickly, he's really not. I have always been the mom to relish slow days with my kids, but I think it's the push and pull that makes me kind of resent them instead. We have very few slow days home together. I'm busy taking Charlie back and forth to tutoring, taking Nellie to dance, driving preschool carpool, trying to fit in visits to my dad, doctor/dentist/ortho appointments for 7 people, phone calls, errands for groceries and school projects and a million other things, oh yeah, and clean the house and cook and do dishes and laundry with a tornado following along behind me. If we have a slow day at home, it's usually because I'm letting go of one of the many things listed above that I should be doing. Slow days often don't come without guilt. Writing this makes me realize he could definitely use more slow days at home, but I'm not sure how to work those in.
Coupled with all of the feelings of frustration is a weight of sadness. Wes is very likely our last baby, but I feel like I'm wishing away my days with him. The frustration has crowded out the joy, and I feel like the moments I enjoy him are few and fleeting. He cuddled with me for a minute, a rare treat, before his nap today. I watched his eyes fighting to stay open as we rocked. I let it soak in. I know the times I have left in this stage of motherhood are coming to a close. Thinking about it shatters me because I love having babies. I have loved having a family. I love watching my kids grow and learn. I love seeing their successes and helping them through the hard parts. I can't imagine doing anything else right now.
And so, the paradox. My emotions are at opposite ends of the spectrum, with love and gratitude and guilt and sadness and frustration all taking turns at center stage. I know (at least I hope, but I think on number five I can say I know) that a few months from now I'll come back and read this and things will have changed. Things come to pass, not to stay.