My husband and I tried for several years to have a third child. During those years of infertility treatments, I questioned why I couldn’t get pregnant. I already had a son and daughter. Our lives were already very full and happy. Maybe my life had other plans that didn’t involve more children. Still, we felt that wasn’t it for our family. Looking back at my prayers, I am glad that the Lord in His wisdom answered them in a way I could have never imagined, and in a way I would have never asked for on my own.
It was not until our oldest child was eleven and our second child was almost nine that we had quadruplets. Yep, that’s right: four babies at one time. What a blessing to have a nine and eleven-year-old with this new responsibility we were taking on. It was also a blessing because it gave me a different perspective. I guess you could say I was given a new start as a mom, but with a new set of eyes.
After being a mom to two children and going through all the “firsts” (first baby delivery, first day of preschool, first day of kindergarten) twice–once with a son and then with a daughter–I felt like I had all the new mommy stuff out of my system. I knew what it felt like to “finally have your kids in school all day.” I had done all the boy stuff with my son (soccer, baseball, tennis, swim team, taekwondo, piano, guitar) and all the girl stuff with my daughter (dance, soccer, swim team, dress up, piano, violin,). I had volunteered at the co-op preschool, was room mom in elementary school, and I drove on every field trip.
Having done all this gave me a much more calm perspective. Not only did I see how fast time goes by, but I started to question all the “busy-ness” that new moms feel they need to do in order to be good moms. Also because of my perspective, I knew which things I would not want to miss out on.
A friend asked me this question when my babies, “the quads,” were about six months old: “Don’t you feel trapped with your kids all day?” I thought about that for a long time because I didn’t feel trapped at all, but how could I answer her question so she could understand? So I finally explained, “No, I don’t feel trapped, because I have done this all before and ‘the light at the end of the tunnel’ comes quickly.”
I didn’t see it the first time around with my first two children. Not that I wished for them to grow up, but maybe I could hardly wait to be into the next phase of their development. But this second time around, I knew these cute crying babies would be wearing little backpacks and walking into a classroom in no time.
Because of my different perspective, I had the added benefit of knowing that all those things that you feel like you “have to do” to be a good mom–those things really don’t need to be done. For me, this time around I have made much more conscientious decisions. I truly enjoyed just being with my babies because I knew they wouldn’t be that way for long. That’s not to say I didn’t get frustrated at times, but my overall feeling was that this stage wouldn’t last forever, so we would have fun while we were in it. It really helped me to just laugh a lot more.
When my four little guys started school, I did volunteer to be room mom because I knew that not only would I get to form a great friendship with their teacher, but I would also get to know the children in their class that they were friends with. I knew that once the elementary age ended, this great time for me to be with them in school would be over.
Because I had a different perspective, and because I had done it before, I only picked the things I felt were the most important. I made sure it was something that fit into my schedule and that it wasn’t stressing me out. I think the first time around I took on too much responsibility, and that’s when moms get “burned out” and can’t enjoy the moment–because they are just too tired.
Now I have four children who are twelve and in seventh grade. I am just beginning the teenage years with our “tail-enders.” My perspective since I have done this before is that it seems like once your child starts junior high, you’re sitting at their high school graduation overnight. It really goes that fast.
Because of my perspective, I like to look forward. I like to think about when my last four children are in college and they will talk about the great things they did in junior high and high school. I ask myself, what will those great things be? Will it be memorable trips we’ve taken? Will it be weekly or monthly traditions? Will it be special things that I did for them? You get the idea. When I do that, it is easy to plan for the things that I would like to be glad that we did.
This is just my different perspective.
QUESTION: Do you feel you are enjoying your current stage of mothering? Why or why not?
CHALLENGE: Knowing that every stage of motherhood passes quickly, take a moment to name all the wonderful aspects of your current stage.
Joanne, your’s is one of the best mom perspectives I have seen. Those times do go so fast. Every time I spend time with my grandson right now I stop and think “Oh dear. Did I do this with my two daughters when they were little?” I honestly don’t think so. I was so wrapped up in providing for their physical needs and trying to clean house that I didn’t pause and enjoy the stages they were going through. I was too caught up in the busyness. Thank you for sharing.