My first baby is turning 5 next month. FIVE.
You guys, he’s basically off to college. Five years of motherhood is one of those monumental milestones that deserves a little more hype.
I have had the tremendous honor and privilege of watching my almost-five-year-old grow, learn, and transform into the boy he has become today. Five years of sleeping far too little and feeling way too many feelings. Motherhood brings a kaleidoscope of bold, vibrant, and intense emotions of all kinds, from helpless and undone, to completely captivated and whole. Five years of watching my heart live and breath outside of my body.
Each year that passes, I find myself learning and understanding more about myself and what this role called motherhood entails.
Every day it looks a little different, whether it’s creative ideas and well-planned playdates, or hurtful words and bathroom tears. I’ve been harder on myself than I ever have. I’ve been tested in ways I never imagined, and responded to those challenges in good, bad and ugly ways. I’ve learned to let go of trivial thoughts, comparisons, and perfection. There is an idea out there that you lose yourself once you become a mother. I think it’s more about finding yourself, whether that is within your children, or by shifting your priorities and world view to something bigger than yourself.
Each year has brought various challenges, adventures, and fluctuating levels of exhaustion. Babyhood brought the full spectrum of all things new and hard, as well as a whole new perspective on life. ONE brought fun, a little more sleep, and a whole lot of park dates and zoo trips. Two brought tantrums, curious questions, and a new kind of independence. Three brought conversations, dark circles like I never imagined, and a brother. And four brought even more excitement, another brother, and a deeper, more mature sort of love. Without a doubt, the fourth year has been my favorite year so far.
Oh sweet FOUR, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
Four-year-olds sleep. Consistently, all night long. And this alone is reason to love them.
Four-year-olds communicate. Okay, so maybe they still need occasional reminders to use their words, but they speak in real sentences. Game changer.
They are funny! After spending three years communicating in babble and half sentences, it is so refreshing to be able to hold a conversation and laugh about similar things!
Four-year-olds can buckle their own car seats. This is a HUGE time saver, and definitely a milestone I was thrilled to reach. That third row is a major pain to climb back into to secure your child’s carseat.
Four-year-olds can clean up after themselves. Maybe not always without prompting, but they can self-sufficiently turn chaos into neatly stacked boxes.
Four-year-olds can travel. Yeah yeah, so can babies and toddlers, and yada yada. But four-year-olds can travel with resilience. They can stay up late, sleep in, and adjust their time clocks, without three months of repercussions.
Four-year-olds don’t ask to be carried ALL THE TIME. My left hip has literally held a baby for the past four years. Needless to say, the child who can stand on their own two feet wins the favorite card right now.
Four-year-olds can entertain themselves. They have imaginations that can save the planet from bad guys, as well as patience and focus to sit and color a picture or finish a puzzle. And better yet, they can entertain their siblings as well. Bonus.
So, parents of babies and toddlers and threenagers, just you wait. It get’s good. And maybe 1 through 4 is all I know, but boy am I pleased with what those years have shown me so far. Motherhood is a wild and crazy ride with new challenges around every corner. But there’s a reason that there is no catchy name for four-year-olds. Because they are fabulous, fun, and full of so much joy.