When you’re 9 months pregnant, you begin longing for the day you will have your body back, and can fit into “normal” clothes again. But surprisingly, most of those old clothes just don’t ever fit the same. My mom warned me long ago that you might get back to your pre-baby weight, but your jeans will never fit the same. Why does she always have to be right?! But low and behold, things just shift after carrying a baby.
Once the baby arrives, you wonder if a good night sleep will ever be possible again. Even once the baby starts sleeping through the night, I’m not sure a mom ever sleeps as sound as they once did. We’re always on alert for our little ones to cry out in the night. We’re now on call to comfort after a bad dream, when they wet the bed, or need a drink, or just one more kiss goodnight. This is your new normal.
Once you get the hang of breastfeeding, it’s time to introduce solids, and a new feeding schedule. You go from feeding on demand round the clock, to every 2 hours, to every 4 hours during the day and no night feedings, and then bam, introduce solids and the milk schedule is changed yet again. Then every few months, their needs change. Shifting from less milk and more solids. Then once you think you’ve gotten used to your child’s preferred foods, they suddenly don’t eat those things anymore, and you’re forced to find new foods they might try. This is your new normal.
Potty training will throw your “normal” routine way off track. In the trenches of potty training, I feared I’d never be able to leave the house again without accidents. Even though that’s not true, we only feared accidents during our outings for a short time, you are bound to another person’s bathroom demands for awhile now. My son seems to need to go at some of the more inconvenient times. Like in the check out line of the grocery store or after I’ve just loaded everyone up in the car. “Do you need to go potty?” is now in your new normal vocabulary.
Once life starts to resemble “normal” again. You’re toddler is eating, sleeping and pooping on the potty like a champ. Now is the time to bring in a sibling, right? Pregnant with a toddler looks a little different than it did the last time. When baby comes home, there’s an adjustment period for everyone in your house. Parents included. The cycle starts again finding a new normal.
The point is, life is ever changing, and parenthood is no different. Once you get used to a routine with your kids, their needs change and you have to adjust to find that new normal all over again. I’m five years into this parenting journey, and I’m just now realizing that there really isn’t such thing as “normal.”
Changing and adapting is now our normal.
Although the normal I once longed for doesn’t exist, I love our new (ever-changing) normal life. My kids teach me every day that they are ready for challenges and even more independence. My body doesn’t look like it did before kids, and I’m ok with that. Clothes fit differently, but those changes allow me to be Mom to three of my favorite boys in the whole world. No pair of designer jeans could ever fill my heart like my boys do.
I don’t have the social life I used to, and I don’t miss it. I love the look of our weekends now as a family. Our weekends entail watching kids laugh and scream blowing bubbles in our backyards, decorating the patio with chalk, soccer games, and kids’ birthday parties. I wouldn’t trade this new normal for any night out on the town. I can run on way less sleep than I used to. Although I’m exhausted by the end of most days, I will hold my babies at any time of the night after a bad dream. I love that I can bring them comfort and make them feel safe. That won’t last long before a new normal of being too cool for mom steals that time from me.
So when will things feel normal again?
They won’t. Things will continue adjust to a new normal, and once you get used to that, they will change again. As I look into our family’s future, there is still so much change ahead. We just had a new baby this summer, and one starting Kindergarten in the fall. That’s a whole new normal coming our way. Once we get situated in that routine, we’ll have potty training, soccer practices, swim lessons, and two more eventually starting school full time. Then middle school and high school to adjust to. Sleepless nights again as they begin driving, and I lay awake worried until I can exhale knowing they are home safe. And oh my, I can’t even think about the adjustment to college life and us as empty nesters.
So you see, the only normal we can look forward to is the small amount of time we can sit back and relax in a new normal before more changes come again. Let’s enjoy the ride instead of always wishing this time away, hoping for “normal” to come back. Instead, I try to enjoy each new normal that comes our way.
And if you don’t like this phase, don’t worry, it won’t be like this for long.