I blinked again and now we’re here, with two middle schoolers and a sophomore, starting another year of school.
I did the math the other day and realized it’s the first year since 2006 that I have no one in elementary school. That year, Jaiden started Pre-K (click over to check that out because Jaiden was super adorable!) and Jenna was a newborn.
It’s really hard to put into words how quickly this all goes. As a seasoned mom (as opposed to old), I try to encourage my friends who are newer moms to really, really enjoy it all as much as you can. Don’t rush them to grow up before they’re ready. Carry that toddler as much as you want, because you never know when it’ll be the last time.
When you’re in the throes of infancy and toddlerhood, you think that life will be easier once they potty train and go to school. No more diapers, no more daycare, right? Ha. If you say this out loud, I’m going to have to burst your bubble, because kids just get more expensive the older they get, guys. School supplies, clothes, lunch money, activity fees, technology fees, band fees, field trips, those expensive calculators! And then you have the other expenses like sports and Tabasco for their ramen noodles and electricity so they can charge their phones.
Oh, and my toddler’s school fees probably cost more than my older kids’ required supplies. He’s just in regular ol’ daycare. Yikes.
Over the last year I’ve lost more than 40 pounds, but I still see the heavier version of me in the mirror. That’s call dysmorphia and I have a bit of that when I think about “my kids” as a collective. I still think of them as these elementary school kids, with Jensen added to the mix, of course, not as these big teenagers. How did we get here already? It’s not that I don’t enjoy them, because I do, but, dude, they’ll be gone so quickly. The next set of first day photos I take will be of Jaylen in high school; he was just my little mama’s boy yesterday, wasn’t he?
And it’s amazing how much the world changes in such a short period of time. These kids were born into a world without smartphones or social media (as we know it), but try to escape either one of those things today. When they were born, I never imagined we’d have to one day figure out how to block an obsessed classmate from contacting them on a device they rarely go without. I never thought we’d ever have this world where they’d get in trouble because they were engaged in photo sharing apps against my wishes. It’s weird having had children on the precipice of a changing world and difficult to figure out best practices for ever-evolving technology. How do you stay ahead of that? It’s almost like Whack-A-Mole, parents finally figuring out how to keep their kids safe on an app and another one popping up somewhere else. It’s kind of exhausting.
And I think parenting, in general, is exhausting. I started this gig in 2002 and it will be 2033 before the baby will graduate. What have I done? (WAH!) I’m just trying to live day-to-day with all of these people under my wing and not rush the time at all.
From every old mom out here to every new mom getting frustrated because your toddler’s pooping on carpet and smearing it on the wall: Do your best to enjoy it. Deal with the bad days, but keep them in your memory. The poop-covered walls days don’t last, I promise.