Happy Mother’s Day from a 2-and-a-half-year-old mom

Living things change. They adapt and grow and die. Trees leaf out, snakes molt, babies grow up into frat boys. It just happens.

Aren’t you glad I picked this picture instead of one of a frat boy?

So why is it I thought the moment I had a baby that I would be a full-grown mother?

It came to me a few months ago when I was talking with an adoptive mother at the park. She brought home her baby boy 4 months ago, and he was now a year and a half old. “It’s been hard to relate to the other moms with kids his age because we’re just hitting the 4 month mark of having a kid,” she said. Without even thinking, I said, “Yeah, I mean, he’s an 18-month-old baby and you’re a 4-month-old mom.”

That means I’m a 2-and-a-half-year-old mom. And back when I was wondering if I would ever feel like a “natural mother,” I was a 3-week-old mom. A newborn. I was 4 months old when I was white-knuckling through my exhaustion, anxiety and depression.

My maternal grandmother, who we called Dee Dee, was most definitely a full grown mother when I knew her. Since she had a son and a daughter who were 61 and 59 when she died, I’d say she grew to the ripe old mom age of 120.

Thinking about my mom age this way makes me feel better. It helps me have more compassion for myself in those first few disorienting months. Things often felt wobbly and strange. Am I doing this right? Is it supposed to feel this way? We don’t expect newborn babes to come out of the womb quoting Shakespeare. So why do we expect the equivalent of ourselves as mothers?

And here’s my dear friend E. Who will become a 2-year-old mom this August and give birth to kiddo #2, growing her mom age by leaps and bounds ahead of mine.

So for my Mother’s Day gift to myself and to all of you, I’d like to let us all be the mom age that we are.

For a mom in her toddler years, I feel like I’m doing okay. I don’t have everything down to a science, like my 7-year-old mom friends, but I’m starting to have fewer tantrums.

How old of a mom are you? Or if you’re not a mom yourself, how old of a mother is the mom that you’re closest to? Does thinking about mothers in terms of their mom age change how you feel or think about motherhood?

6 thoughts on “Happy Mother’s Day from a 2-and-a-half-year-old mom

  1. I ADORE your blog. You beautifully and confidently express emotions I struggle to identify and understand. I appreciate how well you capture the full spectrum of feelings that are inherent in this adventure, but I especially appreciate your discussion of the less than beautiful ones: depression, anxiety, guilt, jealousy. It’s rare to meet another mother and think so quickly, “Oh thank god, she GETS IT.” So thank you. 🙂

  2. I’ve never thought of my mom age before, but it makes sense! Technically with my seven year old and one year old I’d be an eight year old mom, but having them six years apart makes me feel like I’ve backslid a few years. I admire my friends with older children because they seem to handle situations differently than myself. But their extra years of experience give me something to learn from!

  3. I’m a 27-year-old mum. I look at my boy and wish I’d had those 27 years of experience before I started, but hell, I did the best I could- and now at least I can try to pass along some tips to the baby-mums out there.

  4. Hi, I just wanted to say your blog brought tears to me and a light at the end of the tunnel. I have been severely struggling with depression. Just expecting so much and never getting results from myself. Fighting with libido, fighting with a wonderful, kind husband, having that feeling of alienation. I just felt like no matter where I went it surrounded me like a plague. I have zoloft that I never took so that I could breastfeed my now 1 year old son. It was the best connection I could ask for while going through postpartum, but I still get those empty feelings. I was such a happy-go-lucky, always smiling, everything will be ok, type of people. and while innately I know these things I just don’t feel them. Dredged with constant worry, anxiety (over nothing literally!) and just hoping that my son lives as long as I have been blessed to, I just appreciate what I have and hope he will have the same.

    The anxiety over nothing is just when I go to bed. My thoughts drift to sleep and yet I slowly flow into a half sleep where my heart pounds and I feel the most desperate of depressions, sadness and panic surround me and I start to feel something closing in on me till my eyes shoot open and there is my husband completely asleep beside me and now I can’t sleep because every time I relax and try it comes back. It makes me jealous of the peaceful sleep that he can manage.

    Anyway, thank you for being the great Mom you are (even if you don’t realize it) and for being a great inspiration to me and so many. Your words gave me hope that maybe we will never be the women we were before but become the transformed versions of ourselves like a butterfly and their amazing new ability to fly. Just a new way of seeing the world once from below then from above, each no greater then the other, but both amazing in their own way.

    1. I’m just so grateful that you found your way here, Mandi. I so relate to the depression, the anxiety, the libido issues. And I’m so grateful for your vivid description. I know many others can relate too. Motherhood is so vastly different than I imagined it to be. Isn’t it strange to be on this side of things in this way? The depression and the elation seem to go together in my life at the moment. And on my finer days I agree with you–motherhood can transform us into a larger and stranger and more fierce and beautiful version of ourselves.

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