I’ve watched my children hit milestone after milestone—teeth
have come in, and cribs have gone out. I
have celebrated with that bittersweet feeling that is so much a part of my
motherhood. There’s the joy that my
healthy, beautiful children are thriving, and there’s the sadness that their
days of being my babies are numbered.
As they’ve grown, so have I—right alongside them I have
reached milestones that no one else notices, but I still celebrate them with
gusto and gratitude. Today I am
celebrating my top five motherhood milestones, as each of them has taken me to
the next level as a mother, just like my kids keep reaching the next levels as
1. No Longer Obsessed With Sleep. In the early days of my motherhood, I could
not imagine a day when I wouldn’t be obsessed with sleep: my children’s sleep,
my sleep, other people’s sleep. That day
finally arrived, and I was shocked to find myself obsessing about something other than sleep. (Turns out, when I get enough sleep, I have
just enough energy to obsess about the size of my thighs.)
2. No Longer Afraid of Being Judged. This milestone may be one of my
favorites. Early on, I was insecure
about every single aspect of my mothering, from nursing to working to
discipline and diet. I lived with a
quiet, persistent fear that other people were judging me and that I was falling
short. Then, one day I was in the
grocery store and my daughter threw an epic tantrum over a Hello Kitty cookie. I took a deep breath, grabbed a copy of US
Magazine to peruse and waited for it to pass. Not until I got into the car did I realize that I never once worried
what other grocery store patrons were thinking of me. I simply forgot to worry about being judged,
and I never looked back.
I can relax a little when my kids are coloring or playing school or having a snack.
3. Let ‘Em Work It Out. Having two kids who are only 18 months apart
means I’ve witnessed countless arguments over sharing or the lack thereof. For years I jumped in to negotiate, arbitrate
and placate those situations. Then, one
day I didn’t. I sat back. I sipped my tea. I gave them a chance to work it out. I didn’t do or say anything. That was the first day I ever let my kids
work through conflict on their own. From
that day forward, I learned to intervene only when blood or weapons are drawn.
4. Learned to Enjoy The Quiet. This one was hard. When my kids are playing quietly, I have a
hard time relaxing. I am so used to be “on guard” as if I have to be ready to
race into a battle. But slowly, I am
learning that I can relax a little when my kids are coloring or playing school
or having a snack. They don’t need me to
hover anymore (if they ever did), so I am learning to back off and do my own
thing, even in their presence.
5. Using My Words. Oh, the joy of being able to use logic with
my children and ask for what I need. I
had no idea that one day I would be able to hold my hand over the phone and
say, “Mommy needs one more minute to finish her conversation, so please be
patient.” I thought I would always have
to drop everything for them. But now, I
have learned how to ask them to wait for me to finish what I am doing or to
give me space to do what I need to do.