Through my prenatal yoga class, I was lucky enough to find a great group of women all due around the same time. We kept up with one another through our 3rd trimesters, and have met regularly since the birth of our babies. 11 days is the difference between the eldest and the youngest in this group, and my son falls right in the middle.
When the babies were very young, this group was a place for us to air our grievances as new moms. We played games like Who Took a Shower Last? and Is it Breast Milk or Spit Up? Having this group of women to bounce current life events off of was such a life saver for me. It was heartwarming to know that I wasn’t alone on this hard journey. Other people were feeling what I was feeling, too!
As the babies got older, though, I started to notice the differences. When some of the women were starting to get back to “normal” life with routines outside of caring for a newborn, I was still stuck in that baby daze. Not only was I in a daze, but my baby was running me ragged. Our playdates were no longer us sitting in a circle talking about our pelvic floor exercises. Now they consisted of chasing babies and feeding solids.
The babies all spanned the range for normal development: coming to new tasks (like rolling over, crawling, and eating solids) at varying times. It was easy to say that where one baby lagged behind in a certain area, the others well exceeded. The babies traded off this way. The differences started to really become apparent.
One thing that I was noticing on these playdates was just how energetic my son is. I’ve seen tornados that leave less destruction in their wake. He’s 22 pounds of pure energy. Most of the time, he’s not interested in sitting and playing with blocks or books. He’s on the go. He’s moving. He’s shaking. He’s running me absolutely ragged.
For the first time, at our last playdate, I wondered if any of the other women understood how I felt chasing around my 10 month old. All the other babies were relatively well-mannered and happy to stick on the mat with the toys. My son was trying to depot the flowers and give an oral exam to the dog.
For months, going anywhere had been difficult because my son was in an awkward stage with independence. He wanted to go, but he’s not quite walking. I can’t allow him to crawl in public places at his discretion. So, we largely kept to our own playroom. I beat myself up over this time and time again, wondering if I was doing enough for him.
After some reflection (and probably some ice cream), I was reminded of my ultimate goal — to do my best and love my son. I don’t need him to conform to feel like a good parent. I just need to remember to roll with it. At the end of the day, he has been loved, he has been nurtured physically and emotionally, and he has been fed. In other words: Mama tried, mama tried, mama tried.
Thanks to Stroller Haus for hooking us up with such great gear!