My kids are 2 years and 8 days apart which means that the month of April is full of cake and celebrations. These back-to-back milestones also have a way of rustling up a teary retrospective of how quickly my little people have grown and, consequently, my role as Mama transitions.
With a newly anointed 5 and 3-year-old it has marked a noticeable shift in what my kids need from me. No longer do they call on me for help with every task. They can both dress themselves, use the potty without assistance, and even my tiny 3 year old is resourceful enough to find a way to get any snack she has her eye on. These are the tiny, bittersweet victories that I anticipated and sometimes even prayed for during the all-consuming baby days.
While I get to enjoy a bit of independence that comes with their developing life skills, I also see how my job is evolving to being a different kind of role model. They’ll no longer look to me to have their shirts buttoned, but rather to learn about relationships, ambitions, and aspirations.
As we split the last piece of cake my husband and I chatted about what's to come and I realized that I haven't been preparing for this next stage. I've focused on the physical presence of motherhood. The burping and diapering. The snuggles and snot. I've been so worried about nailing the Mom-role that pieces of me have ended up buried...probably under unfolded laundry.
I wouldn't replace my past few years devoted to my kids for anything, but I get that some of this new "free time" needs to be devoted to me in order to grow into the support and example that I want to be.