Photo Courtesy of Holly Lauer Photography
1. It is easier to control a band room of over a hundred hormonal teenagers than your own toddler.
Not more than a few months ago, I could stand on a conductor’s podium, and that single visual cue would silence a room of ever-gossiping teenagers. These days, no visual cue in the world stands up to the strong will of one Mr. Cheeks.
Learning how to control your toddler is a very humbling, and as a good friend recently reminded me, “raising a decent human being is an exhausting experience.”
2. Getting to see your son love his newborn sister will wipe away every temper tantrum that has challenged me that day.
I was most looking forward to witnessing each and every moment of Addison’s development. What I’ve learned that I really enjoy is the interaction between my children. Connor’s compassion and pride in his baby sister have completely shocked me. I totally expected a jealous sibling, one fighting for every ounce of attention he could get. While we certainly have those moments, Connor has quickly established himself as the doting big brother, and I am so glad I’m here to see it.
3. It can feel shockingly lonely at times, despite the fact that I no longer have any personal space.
For days on end now I am never alone. Never. Yet usually around 4 in the afternoon a sense of solitude sets in. I’m working on solutions for this one.
4. Bodily functions play a huge role in the everyday now.
In the last month, I’ve both cried and cheered about various “presents” my children have shared with me. In the midst of cheering for something that resides in the toilet bowl, I realized life has really changed.
5. I am learning to be present and to listen more than I talk.
This is a big one. I am not one to whom it comes naturally to play with Little People. I am definitely guilty of scrolling through my Facebook News Feed, while halfway paying attention to my children. Although it is a steep learning curve, I am happy to report that I am gaining confidence when it comes to being present and enjoying the play that we are doing.
I am also learning the power of listening to those around me, and trying to understand them before sharing my opinion. This one is powerful for the infant all the way up to my husband.
6. I often look like I am either going to exercise or just did, but really I just haven’t showered yet.
I started out strong, keeping up the makeup and put together appearance. Fatigue has set in. I’ve got a plan to fix this one – stay tuned.
7. Despite sending my son to preschool three days a week, I have become passionate about playing more of an active role in his education during the time we spend together. I still struggle to follow his lead.
As I continue to write this post, I am seeing a theme of control throughout my points. I suppose that anytime you make a life change, there is a huge desire to find control in your new circumstances. That said, I am seeing how much time I have with my children as a captive audience during the day now, and what an opportunity that is. I am excited about teaching Connor (and eventually Addison) everything I can, but have to reign in my inner Tiger Mom.
8. Putting my own selfish desire for praise and career advancement on the back burner and trading it for being a full time mom has been easier than I thought.
I worked very hard to achieve success in my ten years as an educator. I had serious anxiety about not having the personal fulfillment of a career. I’m not exactly sure why yet, but not working outside of our home right now hasn’t been nearly the personal sacrifice that I thought it would be.
The debate about working versus staying home ignites strong feelings in women, and I understand why. I’m taking this journey one day at a time, and feel fortunate that, for the time being, my path has lead me right here to my home.