The Summer I Realized Motherhood Could Be Fun

posted by Andrea | 09/26/2014

the summer I realized motherhood could be fun

I always knew I wanted to have children at some point in my life — although, as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve never been the type to go goo-goo, gah-gah over babies or young children.

My family members would often joke (in a very affectionate way) that they didn’t know what I would do when I had children of my own since I really didn’t care for little people all that much. But I figured I could handle it.

And then Nora was born…

There were many, many days in the first 18 months of her life when I seriously doubted my parenting abilities. I knew parenting would be a whole new ball game for me — and that it would be hard work. However, I never could have imagined how difficult it would actually be once I was the mom.

You know those ladies who tell you “enjoy every moment, they grow up too fast” when you’re waiting in the checkout lane with your screaming infant or ‘tantruming’ toddler?

Well, they’re right… sort of 🙂

Personally, I would be lying if I said I have “enjoyed EVERY moment” of my children’s lives. However, I will agree that they grow up fast — maybe not TOO fast, but it does go quickly.

This past summer was a BIG summer for Nora, and I can’t even tell you how much fun it was for me to share it with her. Over the last 3-4 months, she has officially shed her toddler ways behind and is now a “little big girl” — and a pretty cute one if you ask me.

Physically, she has grown almost 3 inches in as many months — which of course, means all her pants are WAY too short.

But more than that, she has grown into a “little big girl” as I like to call her.

She’s potty trained. She’s taking showers instead of baths. She can almost fully dress herself. She can identify letters and numbers, she can spell her name, and tell you what letter almost all our family member’s names start with. She can sing and memorize songs like you wouldn’t believe. She notices EVERYTHING — and then asks 37 questions about everything!

She can spend the day with Dave, our parents, or even a babysitter. She can be away from me for extended periods of time without totally coming unglued. She has even slept over at both our parents’ houses for a night (miracles happen my friends!)

Yes, she knows exactly how to “push my buttons” and she pushes them often. She’s still not regularly sleeping through the night. She’s still super sensitive and still “needs” me more than most almost-three-year-olds need their moms…

But she is SO much fun!

Thanks to Dave being home all summer and Simon taking bottles like a champ, Nora and I did a lot together this summer.

We went to pool parties, went to the park, went out for breakfast, had picnics outside, road on the carousel at the mall, played with neighbor friends, went shopping (yes, you read that right), and all sorts of other fun adventures we could have NEVER done in previous summers.

Add to that the fact that Simon seems to be a relatively easy-going, super-chill baby… and my perspective on motherhood has had a complete 180-degree shift.

I’m no longer dreading the fact that we would eventually like to have more than 2 children (there were honestly several months of my life when I didn’t know if I’d make it past 1 child).

I’m no longer counting down the days until they turn 2.

I’m no longer feeling totally and completely overwhelmed with a job that (to me) seemed like it should come so naturally and be relatively simple.

And for the first time in my life, I understand why so many mothers actually seem to enjoy motherhood. 

Although I would not have admitted it so bluntly at the time, I absolutely hated almost every single day of my first year of motherhood. It was horrible and 100 times worse than I could have ever prepared myself for (and I went into motherhood expecting what I thought was ‘the worst’).

Every single day brought new challenges that I did not feel prepared to deal with — not to mention the exhaustion, struggles, tears, feelings of failure, self doubt, anxiety, and more tears.

And then, all of a sudden, I just started to enjoy myself.

I’m sure there are many factors for my attitude change — but I’m positive that one of the main factors was because right around 2 years old, Nora decided to become a little bit more independent and didn’t need me for every single moment of her life.

Even as somewhat of an introvert, I was totally unprepared for the amount of “suffocation” I felt being at home with a baby 24/7 (especially a baby like Nora who was so high needs).

The sense of independence she has allowed me over the past 6-8 months has made all the difference in the world.

And then Simon was born and it got even better.

I realized how wonderful a more ‘normal’ baby could be — along with how much fun it was to watch Nora interact with him.

I realized how much easier everything was the 2nd time around (thanks in large part to everything I learned the hard way with Nora).

I realized how simple it was to get out and about with a very self-sufficient 2-year-old and leave the bottle-fed baby at home with dad (without worrying that the baby would scream non-stop for hours without me around).

I realized how enjoyable life was when I was able to get away for 2 hours all by myself (or just with Dave), knowing I would return to happy children instead of a little girl with blood-shot eyes and a snotty nose.

I realized that motherhood can be REALLY fun!

It may have taking me two kids and 2.5 years… but I came around eventually!

Although I’m not totally wishing away the baby years, I am still super excited to see my children continue to grow into their little-people personalities.

I don’t think I will ever be the mom who is sad and depressed when her last baby heads off to school — but at least I’m learning how to enjoy the current baby days without completely wishing them away.

No, it’s still not easy. Every day is not always glorious, fulfilling, and perfectly scheduled. There are really hard days, weeks, (and months!) and days I definitely wish we could do-over.

However, I no longer think the moms who gush about: “Motherhood is all I’ve ever wanted to do with my life.” are crazy or putting up a front.

Who knew being a mom to children under 5 could actually be fun 😉

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35 comments

  1. Geneva

    11/19/2014

    Thank you for this post! I currently have an 11 month old “high needs” son with sensory processing disorder. I love him more than I ever knew that I would, but this has been the hardest year of my life and many days I hate motherhood. I can definitely see that things are slowly improving and I love each new month far more than the previous ones. You’re honesty is very much appreciated and it gives me hope that I may someday find that I too love being a mom. I especially hope that I will someday feel like I can do it over again because I never imagined having only one child but am still in the stage where I can’t see how I could survive going through this again. Please keep up the true to life posts, I love reading them!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    You’re welcome Geneva — and seriously, just keep hanging in there. It’s SOOOO hard and feels SO awful when you’re in the thick of it. There is absolutely nothing anyone can say or do to make you feel any better about your situation (I know).

    Also, Dave and I have said we wanted 3 or 4 kids… and after Nora was born, we seriously contemplated only have one child! I knew I wanted more than one child, but I just couldn’t fathom how I could possibly manage to care for more than one “Nora”.

    Then, one day, I realized that it had gotten a bit easier. Not “easy”, just “easier”. It’s still not easy and I doubt it ever will be… but I’m learning how to handle Nora and her strong will. You’ll learn to work WITH your son too. I promise 🙂

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  2. Tshanina | Thrifty T's Treasures

    10/03/2014

    Thank you for your honesty, Andrea!

    I’m currently walking through a surprise pregnancy (and due in a few weeks). The thought of motherhood is daunting to me. I’m sure there will be peaks in valleys in the road ahead, and days when I want to throw in the towel too, but your post has encouraged me and reminded me that it will all be worth it!

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  3. Jenni

    09/29/2014

    Great post – I am enjoying some aspects of my 4th baby right now, but will be really glad when the nursing part is over – it is just so taxing on my body. I always struggle with a bit of post-partum anxiety too . . . I did finally start supplementing with some formula as I felt like she wasn’t gaining enough weight, and it helped to know that I could go out just for an hour or two without worrying about her waking up and not having any way of being fed without me. I love the cuteness of babies (and this one is laid back) but am also looking forward to having all 4 of our kids be a bit more independent. We are still in a little bit of the chaotic stage with all of them being age 7 and under. 🙂

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  4. Noelle

    09/28/2014

    I understand…even just two days post partum. Our first was challenging in ways I had no idea to prepare for. I lost friends my struggle to be ok being mom was so intense. This new baby is already so chill, I think I could do this again!! And again!? Thanks for being real.

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  5. Stacy

    09/26/2014

    Good for you and your honesty. I have never been a baby person and I was also counting the days until my kids were more independent and we could interact more. We moms judge each other so much, and we shouldn’t. I have always loved my kids but I was not a fan of the baby stage and I always felt judged for it. They are elementary school now and I miss them during the day and can’t wait for them to come home so we can hang out together and do things!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Stacy,
    I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been “judged”, but I know lots of people can’t understand how a mother wouldn’t be sad to watch her babies grow up 🙂

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  6. Anne

    09/26/2014

    Thank you for writing this. It was very encouraging for me.

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  7. Jessi

    09/26/2014

    I had to come back and re-read this part:

    Every single day brought new challenges that I did not feel prepared to deal with — not to mention the exhaustion, struggles, tears, feelings of failure, self doubt, anxiety, and more tears.

    And then, all of a sudden, I just started to enjoy myself.

    So beautifully put. I’m a bit of a control freak, and I have so much empathy for your early struggles with motherhood. Looks like you really have learned to go with the flow, and that just makes me smile. Good for you! 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jessi! I definitely have a lot to learn yet — but I’m getting MUCH better at “going with the flow”!

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  8. Linda

    09/26/2014

    Such a sweet, sweet post! Thanks for sharing your heart.

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  9. Dee

    09/26/2014

    I totally agree with you! I felt that same when our 1st child was born, 34 years ago!
    Love you blog!

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  10. Rebecca

    09/26/2014

    Thanks for your post! Love your honest nature! I have often thought something is wrong with me because I didn’t always feel so enthralled about being a mom like some of my friends. But what you said resonated with me and I have come to realize that we all experience motherhood differently. There are days where I am sure I’m losing my mind and then days where I just feel at peace where i am and how I am with my kids. I am certain though that my life would be so boring and unfulfilled without my children. I know I am a better person because of them, and I have learned so much compassion for other parents and people in general after raising kids. I’m still in the thick of most kid-raising, but have sent a couple into the world, and it is hard, but the joy I get from watching them make it in the world makes me so proud.
    And to Christine, I hope you do decide to have kids. You are right, it is a hard job, but the joy you receive from having that little person in your life will be so worth it.

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  11. Christine

    09/26/2014

    So my question is, what made you decide to have children and want to have a family if you’ve never enjoyed children that much? And what made you decide to have another child in the midst of a really rough experience with you first?

    I’ve been married 4 years and we’re still deciding if we want to have kids. I just can’t get past the challenge it seems like to have kids. It sounds great to “have a family” but the day to day messiness of that seems like it might not be worth it. Plus, all of the couples I know with kids seem like they aren’t very affectionate towards each other anymore. Everything just seems like a business transaction when they talk – just working out the logistics of everything instead of enjoying each other.

    Anyways, I’ve been pondering all of this lately and could use some outside perspective…

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Hi Christine!
    I completely understand where you are coming from, and you are right… life changes forever once kids come into the picture. Your life, your marriage, your family, your friends. None of those relationships will ever be exactly the same. However, just because they “change” doesn’t mean they are worse. Some of the relationships will definitely get better. Others might get worse if you don’t have the time to work at them and invest in them.

    As for me… I’ve just always known I wanted to have kids. I’ve also never liked babies or small children. I knew the early baby years would be tough for me, but I feel it’s worth it to be able to have a family for the rest of my life. Even at 2 years old, Nora is already so much fun and really enjoyable to be around (most of the time!) So I “suffered” through 2 years of hard times and now get to enjoy 50+ years of a relationship with her.

    You might think I’m crazy, but I’d actually love to have a couple more kids — we’ll see how that works out 🙂

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    Debbie Reply:

    Christine,
    As a married woman of 4 years this Oct. and also without children I can add that we are enjoying life. I also wanted to have children in the past but I also believe God knows what’s best for me. Unless we adopt it’s not in our cards to have any anymore, and God has given us peace about that. I don’t feel pressured to have children, and more importantly wouldn’t be filling a void in my life by doing so. You will know whether you should have any or not by what your heart is telling you, and if you’re a believer by the peace that God is giving you in either direction. By reading your comments it sounds like you’re not at peace in having children right now. That is okay. It may change or it may not, but you should have peace about it first.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks for this Debbie — I’m glad to hear your perspective on it too!

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  12. Anette

    09/26/2014

    Thank you so much for this post. I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I have been feeling so guilty. I love my “little big boy” but he had a rough time as a baby ( he is now 3 and doing so well) 8 weeks ago I had a babygirl. And I have been struggling not to transfer the problems he had to her. But she is different and I am learning not to compare them. I cant wait till I feel some joy again.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Anette,
    And just an FYI, it’s very unlikely that you are every the ONLY person who feels a certain way — so don’t let yourself think you’re a bad mom.
    You are in a rough stage of life right now (I know, I was right there about 4 months ago!) But, as you know with your son… it gets better. We just need to stick it out 😉

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  13. Kimberley

    09/26/2014

    Andrea! Couldn’t have said any of this better myself. I always thought I was a bad mom for feeling like I am not a “lover of babies”. I, too, do not get all gushy about other people’s babies either…my husband is really much better at all of this than I am! I really thought there was something wrong with me until I started reading your blog and realized that I am not the only one out there that feels this and that it is ok to feel this way. I do not neglect my 4 year old in any way and I provide for him the love and care that he needs…I am just excited that he is more independent now! We have another baby due on Oct 15th and although I won’t be that mom that talks about all the bonding I am doing with my newborn, I know that I will be the best mom that I can be for her…

    I just want to say I love your blog and how real you are with everything…you really put yourself out there and I admire you for that! I am also very glad that Simon has been such a breeze for you…I hope to have the same with my 2nd! You said that he is bottle fed, are you pumping? I plan to try to pump (not a huge fan of breastfeeding in general) and just curious if you feel like pumping takes up a lot of your time. I plan to do it for at least while I am home with my daughter for the first 7 weeks of her life but not sure I will continue once I go back to work out of the home.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    wow — congrats on baby #2! That’s exciting (but I also know how overwhelming it seems to “go back” to the infant stage). It will be crapy for a while, but then it will start to get fun again, I promise!

    Bottles + pumping was AWESOME for me. I know it’s not for everyone but it was a million times better than nursing (something I hated even though it came extremely easy to me). I’m still pumping some but he’s drinking mostly formula now. I’m planning to be completely finished pumping within the next month!

    I’m sure there will be some sort of post about that in the next few months once I have a chance to look back on the entire experience. Yes, it does take a decent amount of time — and I don’t love washing all the bottles and pumping stuff. But I’m completely confident this was the right choice for this baby. I might not do it exactly the same with future children, but I’m glad I did it this way this time!

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  14. Roxanne

    09/26/2014

    Love your honesty. So glad you’re able to finally do more “fun” things both with the kids and for yourself, too! As my father-in-law likes to say, “happy moms make better moms” 🙂

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  15. julie

    09/26/2014

    I’ve had a similar experience with motherhood. Our oldest daughter was our “drama queen,” so the first year was rough. Add to that having her sister just 1 year later and you can understand why those first few years are kind of a blur of sleepless nights. In fact, i usually avoid even reading blog posts about babies because i’m so happy to have moved on from that time in our lives.

    Once they were a little bit older though, it was WAY more fun! Our girls are now 5 & 6 and i can honestly say i love our outings together. We’re also very fortunate that they play well together… not sure how long that will last, but we’re enjoying every minute of it now 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    haha — as someone with only sisters, I know that your girls will fight at times. But, I’m also pretty sure they will grow up to be friends in the end 😉

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  16. jacqueline

    09/26/2014

    Love this! Like you, I had a “high needs” first baby and thought my life was over. It’s amazing how much your perspective changes when you have your second child who ISN’T a high-maintenance child!

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  17. Jen

    09/26/2014

    Great post. Our culture has taught us that we’re not supposed to admit that motherhood sucks sometimes. But it does. Sometimes it really, really sucks. And that has nothing to do with love or a lack there of, or gratitude, or anything else. It is simply a fact. But we’re trained to pretend that every moment is so blissful, or to pretend that we find the hard stuff vaguely amusing and easy to laugh off.

    After two children (11 and 3), I have learned that I can be completely in love with my children without deluding myself that every moment is magical and charming. Sometimes I don’t want to be touched or I need totally quiet time, and all that says about me (or any mom) is that I am a human person who has needs, just like everyone else in my house. Having those needs met makes me a MUCH better, more flexible and relaxed mother. Having them neglected makes me resentful and grouchy. It’s just logic! But say something like that in the wrong circles, and the next thing you know, you’re being branded as a bad mom. Poo on that, I say.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Jen — and yes, I think you’re totally right.
    I have a great circle of friends, and although none of them really relate to how horrible tiny babies are for me, they don’t judge me either. That is definitely something to be thankful for!

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  18. Debbie

    09/26/2014

    i’m so glad it has gotten easier for you and that Nora is developing so well. I’m also glad for your honesty in sharing the hard stuff about motherhood as well as how you will not feel sad when they start school. I come across so many who do get emotional once their kids start school and wonder if that’s the norm for moms. It’s actually refreshing to hear it’s not. I also appreciate the ways you share Nora’s and Simon’s pictures or the days’ events with them without being mushy gushy. It’s hard to explain but many similar posts I see on FB sometimes gets annoying but yours doesn’t. You just have the knack of being authentic but not mushy.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Debbie, “mushy” is something I am NOT. ever!
    I hate “mushy” — even on my wedding day or kid’s birthdays. No, I don’t go there 🙂

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  19. Mackenzie

    09/26/2014

    Thank you for being so honest!!!!!!!! Oh my goodness, I felt the same way the first 7 months of my son’s life. I kept thinking that there had been a mistake and I wasn’t supposed to be a mom. He’s almost a year old now and I’m loving motherhood.

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  20. Debby

    09/26/2014

    Well said once again. My favorite time with my girls was ages 5 and 3. We had so much fun and were so carefree at those ages. High maintenance kids can be over whelming for sure. I didnt think I would miss sending my oldest to college this year, but I was so much more emotional than I ever would have thought. Keep up the good work and thanks for having such an honest approach to motherhood.

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    Andrea Reply:

    I KNOW I’ll love those ages too — when Nora and Simon are 5 and 3, I can only imagine all the fun things we’ll be doing 🙂

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  21. Katie

    09/26/2014

    Thank you for being so honest! In many ways I’ve experienced the opposite – loved early motherhood with my first child (2 months younger than Nora) and really hated the first 4 months of motherhood after my daughter was born. She’s finally leaving her colicky newborn days behind her and we’re all starting to have fun again!

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  22. Kari

    09/26/2014

    Love this! Your authenticity is great. I can totally relate. I will take a 3 year old over a newborn any day. I reached the same turning point in motherhood and it is awesome! Thanks for being real.

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  23. Paulette

    09/26/2014

    Your children are beautiful!!

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