The “Mom-ager” Years:Surviving the Awkward Phase of Parenting
“My body will never be the way it used to be…”
“I have a tribe of moms who are supportive of my new life as a NEW mom”…
You get the idea.
But honestly, it’s been harder to relate to the majority of these articles lately. Because, sooner or later, you do get your body back (or most of it, anyway). And those moms who accompanied you on stroller walks around the neighborhood are now scurrying off to soccer, softball and basketball camps. I’m not a new mom anymore, but I’m also not a seasoned pro. I’m naming this phase in my life the “Mom-ager” years. When it comes to my experience as a parent, in many ways I’ve “been there done that”. Yet, I still find myself admiring the mom who comes to school functions that begin at 8am in full make-up with a blow out because her kids are busy doing their own thing before school. And I continue to be surrounded by an awesome tribe of women who still look at my 3 year old and say “I remember those days. They go so fast.” Do they?…really?
So yes, I’m going through that awkward phase in life that no one warns you about. I’m 36 years old. I should have it together, right? Can it get any more awkward than being stuck in a grad-school presentation when you’ve missed your pumping schedule by an hour? Maybe not. But the “mom-ager” years are still pretty rough.
Are YOU a “Mom-ager”? Here are some tell tale signs:
You take a shower in the morning with the door closed, but not locked.
You joined a book club! You’re still working on reading the books.
You finally fit back into your skinny jeans. You even bought a new pair. And sometimes, you even wear them!
You’re able to enjoy a night out with friends without having to pump. But you still have to head up the carpool the next day so it’s 2 glasses of wine, not the entire bottle.
You can’t wait to clear your house of all the baby toys. Until you do, and then proceed to bawl your eyes out.
Your friend tells you how much she just loves her new baby and already wants another. When you hold him or her, you realize you don’t want another. Or do you?
When you go in to the salon for highlights, you are suddenly horrified because you question whether highlights are even a thing anymore. (This happened to me last week)
At a party you join a conversation about how the kids are “off to school” in the fall. You chime in about how your daughter can’t wait for 2nd grade. Blank stares and sweet smiles follow and you’re not sure why. Turns out their kids are off to college. Oh. You smile back and take another sip of wine. A big sip.
The diaper bag has gone by the wayside and you’re back to the oversized handbag. It holds your keys, wallet, band-aids, Kleenex, wet-ones, 25 Shopkins, 3 rocks and a granola bar. But it’s not a diaper bag.
Weekends are for sleeping in now. Just kidding. That will never happen, again.
The truth is, this transitional time as a parent can be overwhelming and full of mixed emotions. We’re learning to let go, and at the same time, holding on for dear life. But through the little things like working with my kids in the garden (exercise, playing in dirt, discovering new life), or taking them to a parent/child yoga class (patience, gaining physical strength, meditation), I can guide them while giving the heartstrings a little slack.
It’s an important time for them, and you. As our children get a little older, we’re given the flexibility to discover new passions and revisit old ones that took a backseat to parenthood. Our children are watching us. All. The. Time. I hope my children remember me as a mother, but also as an individual. I want them to know that I am madly in love with music, and how a walk in the woods can fix almost any heartache. I hope they know that I went to the gym regularly not to keep my figure, but to keep my strength, and at times, my sanity.
I hope that my fellow “mom-agers” also remember that as we settle into our roles as parents, we don’t forget to lend a hand or an ear to those who are just starting out. It’s equally as important to heed the advice of those who have been in the trenches and have come out alive.
So go ahead. Ditch the diaper bag. Update your “do”. Let your kids play outside while you catch up with a friend. And don’t forget to kiss your kids goodnight. After all, the “Mom-ager” years won’t last forever.