1 a: a stage in the process of growing
c : progressive development
I think I've grown as a mother while my children have grown. I'll be honest: toddlerhood was tough for me. My girls seemed to want more that I had to give - more attention, more imagination, more words, more, more, more. And I was constantly exhausted, often overwhelmed, sometimes impatient, rarely joyful. I wondered why I was a mother, if it left me feeling this way.
But I've grown. Time with my daughters often energizes me instead of depleting me. I learn from them, laugh with them, take joy in them. It's not that I'm a completely new person. I'm still an introvert. There are still only so many words I can utter in a day. I do get tired. But I know myself better than I used to. I try not to feel guilty for feeding my soul: taking quiet moments while the girls are at school, reading a book to relax, taking time to write down the thoughts circling in my mind. Because I've found if I take care of myself, I have a full tank of energy to spend on my girls and J.
I'm encouraged to see myself growing in this way. I got a glimmer of my growth over fall break, when the week was wonderful instead of torture. School breaks have always been a mixed bag for me. I enjoy getting to sleep in, bake with the girls and hang out together. But a day or two of that was about all we could handle before the kids got antsy and the mom got impatient. Fall break this year was nothing like that. Instead, it was a great time together, full of relaxation and fun outings. While I wasn't sad for them to go back to school, I wasn't ready to ship them off two days into break either.
Then Christmas Break arrived, bringing with it nearly three weeks of downtime, visiting family members and holiday craziness, all of which went far better than I could have anticipated. The girls started back to school on a Tuesday and promptly received a reprieve in the form of snow days on Thursday and Friday. In years past, this would have been a recipe for disaster. Two days back in school followed by two days off? I barely had time to squeeze in a doctor's visit and get the house clean before they were back home again! But I've loved every minute of it.
Some of this growth may be attributable to our girls growing up. They play together and apart, they self-entertain, they read and then read some more. But it's also that their mom is growing up and growing into her role. I remember when A & B were young and I was pregnant with K. A mom whose children were in college shared that she thought different moms enjoyed different phases of parenting. While she didn't love pre-school motherhood, she had loved parenting teenagers. I can remember clinging to this concept through the hard days of three toddlers' constant demands on my time and energy. I'm thankful to find I've hit my stride as a mom before the teen years are upon us and that I'm truly enjoying parenting my daughters. And as I head into a year when I want change to be my watchword, I need to encourage myself that I have already changed and that I can continue to change and grow into the person I want to be.