The day we come home with our babes – our brains are completely rewired. We count diapers, track feedings, monitor weight, the hue of their skin, the frequency and duration of naps, amount of eye contact made, the color of their poop, their bodily awareness, etc…etc…etc. It. is. never. ending.
We rejoice at each milestone; give thanks for each ounce gained.
We sniffle as we pack away clothes each time a zipper fails to move over their squishy legs and baby rolls.
Every gathering inevitably features some form of recognition of their growth, their temperament, their development.
And that is a good and glorious thing.
But mamas grow up, too. And we should celebrate that.
Some days I want to shout from the rooftops:
“I got the kids out the door without raising my voice!”
“I followed through on the boundaries I promised my three-year-old last week!”
“I remembered to label the bottles before drop off!”
“I recognized I was getting frustrated at dinner time and kept my cool while modeling coping skills!”
From the day I brought Ben home to putting down my second kiddo to sleep tonight, I’ve grown. Immensely.
Nothing in this life has taught me the depths of grace or long-suffering like parenthood. Nothing.
I’ve learned so much about my own emotional health, my hangups, my strengths, and the gifts I hope to pass along to the kiddos to use in their own way. I’ve come to understand mercy and compassion in ways that are now more tangible than ever before. I’ve learned the value and neurological impact of simply sitting with someone in their tears, their frustration, and offering a hand to hold or a lap to occupy for a few moments. I’ve learned that much can be solved with a snack and a nap (that goes for me, as well). And most of all I think I’ve learned as mamas, we are capable of such incredible, holy and exhausting work.
I hope we celebrate that.
I hope we center our conversations around our own mama milestones.
Our growth. Our temperament. How many hours of sleep we found and how much grace we soaked in this morning.
How we are growing, changing, and evolving in our own lives – the parts enmeshed with our kiddos and the sacred, separate parts aside from our status as child raisers.
If you’ve read this far, if you are a shepherd of tiny human hearts, thank you. and congratulations on making it this far. You are not the person you were when you brought your babe home, mama. And that’s ok.
You are far stronger. Far wiser. and far more intricately woven. You are a fierce warrior armed with compassion and the work you do is monumental; even if it’s also covered in spit up or dry shampoo or mashed banana that bonds to every surface in your home. You’ve accomplished an incredible feat even if “all” you did today was change diapers and pray for bedtime to come quickly.
Mamas grow up, too.
Let’s remember that.