This weekend I had the great fortune of spending time with my brothers-in-law. I mean that in all sincerity. I have hit the wife and sister jackpot as far as my in-laws on both sides. My siblings chose wonderfully. I lucked out with The Husband’s Siblings and those same girls made life even better choosing great guys to bring into the fold.
So it is with all honesty that I say I was thrilled to get time with them Saturday night. They are both new dads and they were out baby-free, so it was all that much more fun. Of course, as you can imagine, try as we might, the conversation inevitably ended up on the topics of their wives and new babies. Their stories are their stories so I won’t say much except to say it is difficult to talk about life with babies and not go back in time to when I had a house full of them.
It was brutal. I know, I know there will be at least one person who comments here who has no idea of what I speak. To all of you earth-mamas who have no bad memories of raising babies, my hat is off to you. I wish I had the strength to have made it through three infancies unscathed, but that is not the case for me.
I was tired and foggy-headed and sometimes sad, but mostly tired. And no matter how blessed I knew I was (I did) and how often I tried to just focus on the beautiful little miracle face in front of me, I could never quite push away the fact that it was 4 in the morning and that miracle face was nearly killing me being awake.
My first instinct may be to say I’d never want to go back again, but that is surprisingly untrue. I would love to go back again knowing what I know now, especially to the first kid. I see my inlaws just relishing their wee ones and I feel bad for mine because I’m not sure I relished them quite the same.
I would have rested more during the day and forgotten the laundry or the dirty dishes in the sink so that I wouldn’t have been so resentful at night when everyone was still awake. I would have worried less about what I was “supposed” to do and listened more to what my body and my baby were telling me to do. I would have held them to my chest longer, knowing those days would disappear so quickly when they learned to move. I may have stayed at work knowing that, as cliche as it is, the truth is the quality of your time together does count more than the quantity. I would have looked less for outside models and paid more attention to what was inside. I would have trusted myself more.
It has been so long since I’ve had babies that the other morning we realized we all forgot the name of a show that was on in our house seemingly 24 hours a day. We haven’t watched Higgleytown Heroes in so many years because no one is the right baby-age for it anymore. Lifetimes have literally passed before my eyes and I’m on the other side watching three kids who are thriving in a house where they know they are loved. So I can not say I have any regrets.
I just might like a do-over now and again. Thank goodness I get to work on Aunt skills for many years to come.
P.S. Looking for more parenting guidance and tips for self-care? Check out From Chaos to Calm a guided training to help you feel better in this tough season.