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Living things change. They adapt and grow and die. Trees leaf out, snakes molt, babies grow up into frat boys.
So why is it I thought the moment I had a baby that I would be a full-grown mother?
A few months ago, I was talking with an adoptive mother at the park. She brought home her baby boy 4 months ago, and he was now a year and a half old. “It’s been hard to relate to the other moms with kids his age because we’re just hitting the 4 month mark of having a kid,” she said. Without even thinking, I said, “Yeah, I mean, he’s an 18-month-old baby and you’re a 4-month-old mom.”
That means I’m a 3-year-old mom. And back when I was wondering if I would ever feel like a “natural mother,” I was a 3-week-old mom. A newborn. I was 4 months old when I was white-knuckling through my exhaustion, anxiety and depression.
My maternal grandmother, who we called Dee Dee, was a full grown mother when I knew her. Since she had a son and a daughter who were 61 and 59 when she died, so I’d say she grew to the ripe old mom age of 120.
Thinking about my mom age this way makes me feel better. It helps me have more compassion how I handled those first few disorienting months. Things often felt wobbly and strange. Am I doing this right? Is it supposed to feel this way?
We don’t expect newborn babes to come out of the womb quoting Shakespeare. So why do we expect the equivalent of ourselves as mothers?
For today, here’s the gift that I’d like to give to myself and to all of you: I’d like to let us all be the mom age that we are.
For a mom in her toddler years, I feel like I’m doing okay. I don’t have everything down to a science, like my 7-year-old mom friends, but I’m starting to have fewer tantrums.