We realized we were done having babies. Our youngest was almost five when I watched some men load up our crib and changing table into the back of a pickup truck. They drove away, carrying all my original plans with them. We’d always said we wanted three or four kids.
That night, I had a good cry and some good wine, and let go of my expectations. We counted our blessings. We had two amazing kids who daily taught us life lessons of love and faith and perseverance.
It was almost exactly one year later that I found out Abby was on her way.
We never expected a six-year age difference between our youngest kids. We would have never planned it that way. They say hindsight is 20/20 and I have definitely discovered some major benefits of having our last baby so much later.
1. Everything is more relaxed.
With our first two babies, schedule was king and every hour of our day was dictated. I found that I was homebound most of the time due to naptimes, playtimes, and mealtimes. Now that I’m older and wiser, I know I have the power to create flexibility. Also, I’ve seen the other side of the mountain. I’ve lived to see that truly, one day they really will sleep. Or be out of diapers. Or be able to face forward in the car. Or whatever my current frustration is. I know it’s just the briefest of moments in the grand scheme of things.
2. Going along with #1, I’m not as rigid in my thinking or expectations.
There is freedom in knowing that I don’t know it all. And it’s okay that I don’t know it all. I don’t think I even want to know it all. Each kid is so unique and one method will work beautifully for one and not at all for another. I’ve actually saved myself quite a few headaches in approaching baby #3 as a blank slate. We’re learning what works best for us together.
3. Kids are stinkin’ resilient.
In my early days of motherhood, I was completely convinced I was screwing up so badly that my kids would never recover. Emotionally, physically, spiritually, you name it. Now that I’ve been mothering for almost a decade, I’ve learned that my kids are just awesome in spite of me. God is on His throne and my stupid mistakes in parenting are not going to thwart His plans for my babies. I just have to show up every day and do the best I can and He’s got it covered.
4. It really does take a village.
I once worried almost daily about each kid getting his or her “share” of me. I just knew for sure that I was failing at fully meeting any one of my children’s needs. Guess what? I was. One human being cannot be the ultimate meeter of needs for any other human being. We are not created that way. We have to delegate. I always thought the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” was all about the kid, but it’s just as much about the village. It’s a beautiful, mutually beneficial balance.
5. If parenting is hard then you’re doing it right.
I’m planning a whole separate post just on this point. Parenting is hard. Sometimes it hurts. There are countless, priceless, golden moments scattered like diamonds throughout this parenting journey. There are also moments when you feel like banging your head against the wall because you’ve doled out the same consequences for the same offenses over and over. It takes a lot of work to be consistent. It’s frustrating and exhausting. If it were easy, you’d be doing it wrong.
What hindsight would you add? Share in the comments!