Few things in life compare to the wonder of holding your first child for the first time and realizing, yes, you are a mom!
However, now that #5 is on his/her way, I have to admit, I wouldn’t go back there! There are some fun perks to this stage.
- You don’t worry about everything.
Along with all the thrill and joy of baby #1, there is also a lot of fear. Will you be a good mother? Will you do everything right?
(By #5 you realize no, you will not do everything right. You will get grouchy sometimes, you will have rough nights and feed your kids that super-bad-for-you macaroni and cheese, you will not do all the magical activities you always imagined yourself doing with them and no, you will not be anything like Mary Poppins – even on your best days, but that’s OK.)
You will be what your kids need – their mom, you’ll go to bat for them, love them, laugh with them, and help them clean their rooms and do their homework. You’ll believe in them and cheer for them and even when you mess up – you’ll get up and by God’s grace be there for them the next day – and for as long as you live. And by baby #5, you’ll know it’s not about being ‘perfect’ but about loving them and being there for them. You can do that.
- Less people talk about your shape and poke at your belly.
When you are surrounded by a mass of little kids, people cannot even get to your belly let alone poke it. And with 4 little socialites crowding for their attention, those people also don’t have time to talk about your increased size.
(Whew! That problem is solved! Yay for less Pillsbury Dough Boy pokes!)
- You have more people genuinely excited about the baby.
Maybe extended relatives will roll their eyes when you tell them you are having another one, but as far as the people who will be changed and affected by the baby every day, you now have a household of 6 people who are thrilled to pieces. (Even if their name choices are not always the best. Lumina? Thor? Leelee?)
- You are secure in your body and birth plan.
For baby #1 and even #2, you read everybody else’s opinions about birth. By #5, you know your own body, you know what you’re going to do, and you need minimal help.
(The doctors are also lot more apt to let you do what you want to. Seriously, they look at my chart now and kind of nod in a very hands-off way, and I’m thankful for that. I’ve been here multiple times before, and I’ll call them if I need them.)
- You are secure in your approach to mothering
The moment you look into your first baby’s face, you are overwhelmed. Never have you seen someone so wonderful, but you are also overwhelmed by your own identity change. You are now a mother.
By the time you’ve had a few, you are secure in your identity as a mom and in your approach to mothering. The moment you see baby #3, #4, #5, you just soak up their little face.
- Necessary life changes have already been made
- You’ve made the schedule changes
Most of us with #1 had to make some major changes – whether it was stopping working, finding childcare, or embarking on the journey of juggling a combination of those things.
By #5 those things are in a rhythm. Yes every newborn brings new challenges, but you are old hat at the juggling game, and your family is accustomed to rolling with the punches and working together as a team.
- You’ve made the heart changes.
I’ve heard so many new parents say it. “We don’t plan on changing much in our schedule. We’ll just bring a baby along. Not much will change.”
(I just smile and nod when I hear them say this and then I admit – I laugh with my husband later. We know they’ll learn.)
By #5, you have long since laid down an active social life. Yes, you sometimes miss it. Yes, it’s important to call friends and have deep conversations sometimes, but by #5, you’ve realized that right now your kids simply come first. You’ve accepted that for this season in life other things won’t happen, and you are (usually – except on the messy, PMS days) content with that.
- No Shower Gifts to Deal With
I say this tongue in cheek. I was given a lot of wonderful shower gifts for baby #1 that I still use today. However, now that I have my systems set up, I am relieved to not have to deal with an onslaught of new gifts. Less clutter, less stress, and less returns sound great! I’ll just buy the few items I need.
- Less Hard on Yourself.
- After #1 you realize you will never be the perfect mom because you’re not perfect. And you realize that’s OK.
- After #2 you realize that your love multiplies and there really is plenty to go around.
- After #3 you realize that you can never keep them all happy at once, and that’s OK.
- After #4 you realize that you can’t always stay in control of everything. You have to let some things go, and not only is that OK, it’s pretty relieving.
PS (And I’ll let you know what I learn after #5, but I’m really excited to find out!)