Five Years of Motherhood

Sawyer turned five the other day and not only does the occasion call for the standard cake and presents, but also so good-old-fashioned reflection. I know a lot of moms who get super nostalgic for the baby and toddler days around this point, but I generally don’t fall into that category. Sawyer was the cutest, happiest baby ever, but I really enjoy this stage more, since he can talk, skip naps, get himself dressed,SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT, etc… It’s more challenging in different ways, of course, but the release of providing every itty-bitty thing for him has been a relief. 

The last year has brought about so many changes in him. He started weekly speech therapy six months ago, since he was having some issues with some sounds, and it has made such a huge difference. I think we’ll keep him in it for quite awhile, since these sorts of things aren’t overnight fixes. It’s been so great watching him have conversations with strangers and not needing to do the “mom translation.” It requires daily practices on my part, which sometimes feel like "just another thing that I have to do," but it’s also awesome to have a resource that can help me help him. The jump from four to five has brought about an incredible explosion of imagination, creativity, and play, as well. He’s always loved LEGOs, building things, and drawing, but now even more so. He knows all of his letters and sounds and is starting to sound out short words, which is so much fun.

I’ve had to really be more aware of how I parent, in the last year, since I’m not teaching him how to be a human, not just taking care of a small child’s needs. I try to have open conversation with him about race, same-sex parents, homelessness, and the feelings of others. He’s had a little trouble with some anxiety lately, which I’ve had to really think about strategizing for. It has all made me really conscious of how I act and how I portray my own emotions in front of him. I want to see me as a human who isn’t always happy, but I know that negative emotions are contagious. I have also had to really take stock of my role as a “teacher mom,” since the teacher in me wants to make him practice reading EVERY night and the mom side of me is like “meh, he’s in preschool, we have plenty of time.” Like most things with parenting, it’s all about balance and talking things out.

I’ve also tried to be really aware of some of the pitfalls that come along with being an only-child, and am trying to combat them as much as possible. Luckily he is around other kids all day at preschool, and I’ve set up a few playdates so he can see kids outside of school too. I refuse to be at him beck-and-call at home, making him practice patience when he is being insistent (I came from a family of four kids; there was always a line to get to my mom). He is starting to be assigned chores, he is scolded for interrupting, and I am firm on sticking to household rules. He definitely does not rule this roost! There are some advantages, though, that I have no problem with. Because I only have one child we get to do cool things- vacations and outings are obviously cheaper when you’re paying for one child and not multiple. It’s also easier for me to set up little art projects or make impromptu stops at the park, since I don’t have a second baby or small kid to finagle. I've always said I'd rather spoil my kid with experiences, rather than material things. 

Personally, I still constantly feel this sort of constant pull between work, being a mom, and my own interests. I have always refused to be the mother who puts her hobbies, friends, and work on the back-burner just because of a child. Have I had to restructure my priorities? Of course. Have I had to adjust how much time I dedicate to certain things? Absolutely. Having a kid has made me a million times more efficient; I watch maybe five hours of TV a week, never sleep in (although this is not by choice, haha), use every minute of time at work, etc... It's a constant struggle and there are moments where I am extremely frustrated (not at Sawyer, just at how much is falling off my full plate), but I will say it has gotten easier in the last two years. 

It really does continue to get more and more fun as he gets older. I’ve worked with a variety of age groups, so I know that it’s not exactly smooth sailing once you get past diapers- I dread the middle school years. But for now I’ll just love each age he is and we’ll work through the trials and tribulations of growing up together (until he slams his door and yells at me to “eff off” at some point during puberty. And at that point I’ll change the wi-fi password and- I’m getting ahead of myself).

No comments:

Post a Comment