Being a mom is a funny thing. One day you are young and have so many plans for your life — a career, marriage, babies — and in the blink of an eye, it starts. Maybe you settle down with your Mr. and Mrs. mugs and your embroidered throw pillows and patiently wait for baby fever to hit. Maybe you get a surprise positive on a pregnancy test without planning for a baby. Either way, motherhood is coming for you. Then there are the monthly belly pictures, ultrasound photos, and gender reveal parties, followed by the main event. Voilà! You pop out the perfect little bundle (likely followed by a few more in a few years) and you have chubby cheeks to photograph and share the heck out of the beautiful little babies that you and “Daddy” created. The pictures are swoon-inducing. Everywhere you go, people ask about your baby or your toddler, laugh at their antics, and tell you that your hands must be full.
And then ever so quietly, your children grow into tweens and teens.
It never really hits you all at once, but eventually you realize that your mom identity is disappearing right along with their baby fat. People don’t ask about when your 12-year-old walked or where she got those eyelashes. Strangers stop engaging you to say how well behaved your kids are in a restaurant. (You start having to actually buy real meals for the whole family too. Ouch!) Pretty soon, your kids have their own lives that you only see glimpses of now and then at dinner, or when you’re driving them to a friend’s house.
You end up with more and more time alone, while the kids are off doing their own things. Do you know what else you end up with? Lots of parenting experience that has served you well for over a decade. So you think, surely the new moms out there that are having sleepless nights or dealing with colic, or biting toddlers would LOVE to hear the wisdom that you fought so hard in the mom trenches to gain, right? Well, all too often, they don’t. You see, they have read the books and the articles about raising babies. They have seen the mistakes made by other moms and vowed not to make those mistakes with their own babies. They don’t want advice from moms of older kids, who clearly don’t really remember what it was ACTUALLY like to have a baby and toddler at once. And having you tell them otherwise and offer advice is just not what they want to hear.
But the truth is, maybe you still need to tell them.
You need to scream from the rooftops that YOU are STILL a MOM too! And look at the proof: amazing almost-grown children that you have raised. You have done a fine job and there’s just no amount of Instagram photos of your child during the awkward rapidly-growing-body and teeth-too-big-for-their-mouth stage that seems to share that. Everyone is so busy cooing over pregnant bellies and chubby babies that they seem to forget that older kids even exist. The truth is, we moms still want to talk about our kids too, only no one is asking us anymore.
So hey, moms with cute preggo bellies and toddlers dragging around their favorite blankies…maybe indulge us a little when we offer some advice? Just smile at us and say thanks. Then go home and do whatever you planned to anyway.