Saying Goodbye To The Mom I Needed To Be To Raise Babies

My 4th and final baby just turned 2, and beyond being deeply grateful 2019 is a year we get to ring in with him despite visions of a somber midnight countdown while I watched him seize on the side of a highway last week, I am equal parts excited and sad that this will probably be the year I climb out of the baby trench for the first time in over a decade.

2019 will very likely be the year that we stop changing diapers, and stop buying them altogether, and the year I breastfeed a baby for the last time. 

When we return from our year+ RV roadtrip adventure and our big kids go back to a traditional school, our oldest will be in 6th grade- Jr. High… or maybe they will call it middle school, and the other 2 will be in 3rd and kindergarten. I will have just a few years left of one little at home with me during the week, and we will be far more concerned about things like peer pressure and puberty and internet safety than we will be about sleep training and pacifier weaning. 

It feels a little like being pregnant for the first time, and knowing my life is about to transform but not really comprehending how. I don’t know how the next volume of MOTHERHOOD is going to go, but I do know that as I make my way through it, I will grow, and I will become a different person.

Some may tell you that motherhood is all about love and learning and growing and giving yourself in ways you didn’t think you’d be capable of. And all of that is true, I think.

But mostly, for me, motherhood is about changing. And so I guess every 8 or 10 or some increment of years I will molt and I will shake off what motherhood once meant, what it needed to mean when I was in that iteration of parenting.

And I will be scared of the new form I will take, and what it will do to my body and my mind, but I will also be excited because maybe this new form of motherhood gives me better eyes to really see my children’s hearts with.

Maybe this new form of motherhood, while slightly shortening my arms because they are no longer needed to hold all 4 children at once, will give me stronger legs to keep up with them as they race faster and faster toward their teenage  and  adult years.

Maybe this new form of motherhood will harden my heart a little so I can withstand the emotional blows of my no-longer-babies learning how to navigate boundaries with someone they know will love them unconditionally.

And maybe this new form of motherhood will help me take back some of the space I once held for me and only me. 

2019 will be a year of change, a year of transformation, and a year of saying goodbye to the mom I needed to be to raise babies. 

50 Things to Do Before You Deliver: The First Time Moms Pregnancy Guide
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  1. Rachael Kelley on

    Gah. (Sobs)
    Oh Jill, what a wonderful and slightly terrifying prospect! I definitely feel like I’ve grown up as a mother reading all your words through the years, catching up on your back logs while my oldest (almost 7) nursed and kept me up for what felt like days on end. And now my baby is 4, finally night trained, and we face the prospect of kindergarten soon! The shift feels both subtle and sudden… from keeping them alive to keeping them from being assholes, ha! While tween parenting is still a /little/ ways off here yet, I can’t help but feel conflicted: I want to get back to being ‘me’ but I want to hold them close, too. (Oh bittersweet motherhood!) Thank you for continuing to share from your heart <3

  2. Really, its the time when parents like me are preparing our children to again follow some rules to bring solidity in life. These steps are really very helpful for us to solve this matter. Thanks for sharing. Beautifully written.

  3. Sarah Harmeyer on

    Oof. This hit me in the feels. My kids are 14, 4 and 7 months so I know I’ll be doing the same in about a year. No more babies and I’m at peace with that.

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