For so many years in a row, I have been the mom of babies. When mothering babies, time doesn’t feel like it is going by so quickly. The days are actually very long, often repetitive, and not that exciting. But, sure enough, just as everyone tells you, you wake up one morning, and you’re no longer the mom of babies.
I realize this in small moments, not big ones. An eye-roll from the oldest when I’m belting out, Into the Unknown, a quick glimpse at my daughter who is looking more and more like me and less like a chubby-faced toddler, or my baby boy telling me in a full sentence what he did at daycare. Sometimes these moments make my heart sting a little; they give me a quick itch for another baby, but most times, these moments elate me.
I’m excited for older kids; if you are, as well, I’m here to tell you that it’s okay!
Exactly two years ago, my husband and I were anxiously anticipating our oldest son’s Kindergarten registration. Like most first-timers, we were so nervous and excited. Many emotions were running through both of us throughout the entire process. Even as a teacher myself, there is a lot to learn about the ins and outs of having a child in the public school system on the parent side. There are no words for that feeling; that lump in the throat or knot in the stomach you get when you watch your child walk through the doors of elementary school for the first time. Another little piece of their babyhood flies away, and yes, it is heartbreaking and prideful all at once.
Today, I registered my second child for Kindergarten, and it is an entirely different experience. I’m pretty sure I skipped into the registration office ten minutes before my scheduled time slot. My second-born child is more than ready for Kindergarten, and my husband and I are more than ready for a cheaper daycare bill! Will the nerves, the lump, and the knot hit me on the first day of school in September? Absolutely, without a doubt, but I’ve been there once already, and I know everything will be okay. I’m not trying to hold onto more years of my daughter being a baby. She’s going to blossom, and I’m going to get more freedom.
Parenting older kids comes with a new set of challenges. I work with teenagers, and I’m in no way rushing to get to those years, but I am definitely here for these school-age years. I’m okay with a kid who can make a bowl of cereal and turn on the TV on his or her own. I enjoy kids who can dress themselves. I like that I don’t have to pack a diaper bag or go home because we need to get that nap in. I like drop-off play dates and after school activities. I always thought I’d forever want to be the mom of babies, but that is just not true.
My children are developing personalities, they are formulating their own opinions, and they have talents. Each one of them is discovering a passion, learning their strengths, and working through weaknesses. They are inquisitive problem solvers. All of this is because they are growing up; they are embracing their older kid status. I love watching this happen.
As a former mom of babies and a new mom of older kids, I’m giving myself and all of you who might feel the same, permission to be excited for these years.
Are you a mom of older kids? What is your favorite part of having school-aged children?