Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Progression Through Motherhood

I got to thinking yesterday about how I have changed as a mother over the past 7.5 years. Being a first-time mom is WORLDS APART from being seasoned. Actually, in some ways the initial brain damage that occurs in the first several years of motherhood repairs itself with the addition of more kids (or just the passage of time - I can't be sure). For instance, I used to not be able to complete a sentence, let alone a thought, because I was so easily distracted by my baby. Now, a kid has to REALLY, REALLY need something before my thought is disrupted. That's not because I am trying to "teach him a lesson." No. Its an honest-to-goodness ability to tune out a deafening amount of background noise.

I have a few other examples of my progression through motherhood. Can you relate?

Definition of a "Great" Night's Sleep
With Baby #1: Eight straight hours. No interruptions. Ah, who am I kidding?! It's not a great night's sleep unless it's 10 hours - solid.
With Baby #2: Eight straight hours will do, but it must include waking up on my own - if a kid wakes me up, the night is automatically disqualified from being great.
With Baby #3: Eight hours, with only one interruption from only one kid - now THAT's great!
With Baby #4: Eight hours, 2 interruptions, no additional "mommy's bladder" awakenings, no snoring from the husband, and no insomnia. It's like heaven!

When my first child was an infant: The shower was illusive. IF-IF-IF I got one in a day while my husband or mom was not there, it was remarkable. I have a distinct memory of putting my little cherub in a bouncy seat in the bathroom with me. The water is on. Shampoo is in my hair...nice and bubbly. Baby starts to cry. My panic sets in. The cry gets louder and harder. It's been 30 horrible seconds now. I am fully panicked. Forget it. I turn the water off immediately, suds still in my hair, and sooth my baby. The shower will wait. Maybe I can rinse my hair in the sink.
With baby #2: When the baby cries I control my panic long enough to rinse my hair. But no conditioner, and i did not actually wash my body. My first thought is NOT "oh by poor baby." My first thought is, "Your older brother is finally napping!! You can't wake him up!!" I am concerned about the crying baby, yes, but the bigger concern is still that first child who never did get to be a good sleeper.
With baby #3: Getting a shower is much easier with three kids than it ever was with one or two. How can that be? When baby #3 cries, this time I think, "The older two will just have to learn to sleep through the baby's cries." And as that baby cries I am finishing my shower (quickly but thoroughly), reminding myself "Babies don't die if they cry. Babies don't die if they cry...."
With baby #4: I am up at the crack of dawn because I finally learned that missing a shower for a measley half hour of more sleep in the morning only makes me crankier. I hear him crying. I continue the shower. Then I am reminded of what it was like showering when I had just my first child. And I think, "my that was a different world." (baby still crying, mom still showering), "Wow. So very different. I think I will write a blog post about that. Now, how would I start that post... what would be the first sentence... ah, yes. I know. Oooh that would be good... And I could also talk about how my definition of a good night's sleep has changed over the years, too. And, oh yeah, that's my baby, still crying, huh?..."


Ginger@chirgies said...

Oh. My. Gosh!!! I'm dying with laughter. Any second now, and the kids are going to come see why mommy is peeing her pants.


I did the EXACT same thing with the bouncy seat outside of the shower door - openining it every 5 seconds to make sure she was breathing, that she knew I was there,.....

Oh, you're killing me!

Jenne said...

Peeing in your pants, huh? I can relate. My next installment could be all about the progression (destruction) of my pelvic floor. Fun stuff! (All worth it.)

Greg and Andrea said...

I, too, was laughing as I read this post, and we haven't gotten to the fourth baby (not sure we ever will). I have vivid memories of Kari screaming in the bouncy seat on the floor of the bathroom while I tried to take the fastest shower ever.
I'm so glad I don't ever have to be a first-time mom of a new baby again!

Wilson Family said...

Wow, that is all SO, SO true!! Tonight Abby was having one of those nights.... I finally decided to just let her cry for a few minutes (something I VERY rarely do..) I actually mananged to chat with Andy while she was crying. I was only going to give her a few minutes, but next thing I new she'd fallen asleep. Wow, I let my baby cry herself to sleep while carrying on a conversation! With #1 I would have been outside the door ringing my hands the whole time... Thanks for the great post!

Anonymous said...

Oh, the wisdom of a seasoned mom. I only have I can only identify with the baby # 1 scenarios. Even if I had read this before having him, I wouldnt have understood, so I guess we can't beat ourselves up for doing it- it's just the way God made us! Maybe someday I'll experience the baby # 2 part- and those totally sounds like what I would do/expect! It's great to hear your perspective. Thanks for sharing and the laughs! Bev

Anonymous said...

So true and so funny! It is amazing how much more relaxed I feel this time, and when I am stressed out, it isn't because of the is because my easy structured life has been thrown off:) Great post Jenne.

Megan said...

That is so funny and SO true! And I love Andrea's quote, "I'm so glad I don't ever have to be a first-time mom of a new baby again!" I loved every minute but man it was so stressful!

Diane said...

Hi Jenne,
Thank you so much for your offer. It would be wonderful to take my kids, they would have enjoyed it but my son is going to his first dance, Winter Formal that night. I want to be home to make a big deal, take lots of pictures and embarress him. (just kidding...kind of)Being the mother of a Teen is scary, fun and totally nerve wracking!
Thanks again.

Diane said...

Thanks for the laugh, this is all so true.
Oh, remember to do your kegels!