I used to be the mom who planned her days and nights around nursing schedules and nap-times, who stockpiled diapers and hid pacifiers in all corners of the house. I used to be the mom who put a crying baby in the car and drove endlessly around the neighborhood, trying to induce sleep and quiet. I used to be the mom who made all her own baby food on Sunday afternoons while nap-time settled like a blanket of peace on the house.
Now I’m the mom worried about a new driver, the mom planning my weekend around play practices, basketball games, and sleepovers, the mom who lives in her van. I’m the mom who stockpiles her cabinets with grab-on-the-go lunches and food for the teenager that has decided to “go vegan.”
I used to be the mom who planned crafts for our snow days, read endless parenting books on tantrums and teething, who watched endless “shows” in our living room as kids came out from behind our family room curtains to show us their moves while dressed as princesses and pirates and ballerinas and knights. I was the mom who tried to relish it all as I also tried to make it that last hour until bedtime.
Now I’m the mom having the hard talks about boys and Snapchat. I’m the mom that monitors screen time and homework and whose turn it is to sit in the front seat. I’m the mom who watches my kids out in the world, working at actual jobs and acting in plays on real stages, trying to take in every second as I wonder why these tall people seem to be able to stay up later and later every night.
I used to be the mom they ran to hug the moment I walked in the door. The mom they would run through the yard and wave at as I drove away from the house, even if I was leaving for only 15 minutes. I used to be the mom who could comfort any hurt and soothe any problem. I was the mom who was their best friend, their ultimate playmate, the one they would choose over any other, and who they couldn’t get close enough to.
Now I’m the mom who reminds them to stop for a hug before they leave and who embarrasses them in front of their friends. The one who drives them to the mall, but only to drop them off, and whose opinion might make their eyes roll as they chose the exact opposite of whatever it is I’ve just suggested. The one who still tries to comfort all the hurts, even those that are impossible for me to fix. I’m the mom who is their best friend only when there is no one else around to see.
I used to be the mom who marveled over these small creatures, with their pudgy hands and wispy curls, who both longed for and dreaded their first steps and adored how they pronounced gum as “jum.” Just the other day, I was the mom cleaning marker off of the walls and managing four kids under six with the stomach…