I am so very, very thankful that I am past the stage of early parenthood. All in all, those years were pretty wonderful at our house. But society has such intense reactions to new motherhood and I don't miss those at all.
I don't miss the parenting magazines and books. (Though I never read many.) I don't miss the impassioned advice about everything from breast feeding to picking preschools. (Though I never listened to much of it.) I really don't miss the intense and often forced or strained relationships with fellow stay-at-home moms.
I especially don't miss all the judgement. The intense judgement.
So many new mothers are so fearful of messing up that they develop these strongly held beliefs and anyone who doesn't jive with those beliefs is harshly judged, mostly so the insecure new mother can look and say, "See! I am such a better mother than her!"
What? We've all done it.
People look at a stay-at-home mom with babies and toddlers and they want to share with her. They want to teach her and give her advice and lure her over to their ways of thinking so that they can feel right and vindicated!
People look at a stay-at-home mother with school-age kids or preteens and they think...
Well, I don't know what they think.
And I don't care!
Woo hoo! Freedom! It is so freeing not to care.
For the first time in my life I am feeling a bit old. But that's okay. I feel like I have gotten to a place where I know so much. I am seeing the results of my sacrifice and decisions. And I feel good about them all.
I am one of the few stay-at-home mothers left in the car pool line. And I am the only one without a doctor or entrepreneur for a husband. And I am happy. You know what? We were smart. And lucky. And good planners.
I know without a doubt that we have done the right things, made the right choices, not just for our kids, but for our marriage and ourselves too.
It feels so good to be on the other side of the playground. I know this may be the lull before the storm of parenting a teenager but I have faith in the foundations we built. And as always, I am enjoying the present and looking forward to the future.
A future that in a few years will not include deployments.
That's the most freeing thing of all.