I never thought I’d have kids. I didn’t want any. I never spent time picking out the perfect baby names or thinking about what they might look like. I never worried about carrying on any family legacy. I always thought I’d be perfectly content with being single and climbing the corporate ladder.
But, in the greatest plot twist of my life, I was the first of my friends to have a baby.
To say he was unexpected would be an understatement, but my husband and I prepared to welcome our little guy into the world as best we could at the ripe old age of 24.
Our first child was difficult. He cried A LOT. He was borderline colic and spit up almost as much as he ate. He woke up every two hours for the first six months of his life. Don’t even get me started on when he started teething.
By the time he was one, I thought we had made it. We could be done having kids and it would only get easier, right? My husband was an only child, I had somehow survived and kept a baby alive, and we were perfectly happy with our small family of three.
Then we got pregnant again.
We welcomed our second child – another boy – earlier this year. During my pregnancy, I was terrified. I don’t have the calm temperament of my husband and I was afraid I couldn’t do this whole baby thing again.
Whether luck or divine blessing, our second has been the easiest baby I could have ever imagined so far. He’s calm and observant. He only cries when he’s hungry. And, at only two months old, we’ve already had multiple nights of him sleeping five to six hours at a time.
But I still look forward to that one-year mark.
I know everyone says to enjoy the baby stage. They’ll never be this dependent on you or this small again. Two kids later and I’m still not a “baby person”. Even though I desperately love our new baby, I prefer my now 4-year-old’s goofy personality and the fact that he can use the restroom unsupervised.
The truth is, I still get nervous holding my own baby. I still wonder if I’m doing this whole mom thing right. Did he get enough tummy time today? Did I feed him too much? Not enough? How do I tell if he’s happy? Why can’t babies just come out talking?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned, and what has made a world of difference this time around, is to give myself some grace. I’ve accepted that I’m not a baby person and I probably never will be. I’m never going to gush over babies when I see them and I don’t like how they smell. And that’s totally OK.
The good news is my husband is calm and collected on the tough days. My mom absolutely adores this stage and is willing to help more than humanly imaginable. My mother-in-law is only a phone call away if I need a break. And I have friends who are extremely patient and understanding when I have to cancel plans with them because I’m overwhelmed and exhausted.
I have to force myself to remember that it might be true that I’m not a baby person, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a good mom.
Tracie is a working mom of two boys, ages 4 years and 3 months. With two boys and a husband who is a baseball and softball coach, she spends most of her time at a field.
When not at a game or working, she enjoys reading, volunteering, refurbishing furniture and shopping. She and her family live in her husband’s hometown of Moore.