Sometimes, I Miss Being the Mom of an Only Child

mom of one
Image Source: Heather Neal

Let me set one thing straight from the get-go: I adore being a mom of two. It was by far easier than becoming a mom to just one child the first time around. I love both of my boys and can’t imagine life any other way.

But sometimes, I miss being a mom of just one child.

That’s probably taboo to admit, but we could all use some honesty when it comes to talking about motherhood.

I miss the simplicity, the one-on-one time, and the mother-son bond. I miss making decisions with only one child in mind and I miss the feeling of being an unstoppable duo, my son and I. I know we’re forming a new relationship as older brother and mom, and that we’re in that short phase of life where our day-to-day revolves around naps and early baby bedtimes, but there are moments when I ache for that time back, when it was just me and him against the world.

Last summer was one giant adventure. We actually did nothing, but it felt like we did everything. My then 3-year-old and I were the best of buddies; two peas in a pod. From the moment he woke me up at the unbearable pre-6 AM hour until I lay beside him in bed at night coercing him to close his eyes and sleep (even though I was secretly soaking up the snuggles), we did everything together.

We explored every inch of the backyard hunting for bugs or treasure, depending on the day. We dug in the dirt and splashed in mud puddles. We played in the rain as enthusiastically as we played in the sunshine. We went on mini adventures to the library and the science center, learning new things everywhere we went. Sometimes we stayed up late on Friday, watching fireflies light up the sky or eating popsicles too close to bedtime. We didn’t have any big plans, vacations, or events, but it felt like we packed every inch of summer with something fun, even if “fun” for the day meant actually not doing a thing. We baked pancakes every morning and made cookies whenever we felt like it. We went strawberry picking at the start of summer and turned to blueberries and peaches by the end. Even the things we had to do became a big adventure when it was the two of us doing them together: cleaning dishes, sorting laundry, packing up our house and moving to the next town over.

It was me and my tiny buddy against the world.

In an instant I became a mom of two. And it’s like they say, my heart grew 10 sizes that day. The love in my heart squished over and made room for more in a way that I didn’t know was possible.
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And then suddenly (well not so suddenly, but sometimes it felt like that) it wasn’t just us anymore. We happily and joyously welcomed his baby brother into the world — into our new house, our new town, our new family of four. In an instant I became a mom of two. And it’s like they say, my heart grew 10 sizes that day. The love in my heart squished over and made room for more in a way that I didn’t know was possible.

But that love changed, too. That’s the part they don’t tell you. Everything was different. I still had my little buddy, but my world no longer revolved around just him. Our spontaneous adventures were no more. We couldn’t do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted. At first having another boy in the mix was the adventure, but as life settled and it became our new normal, I realized that while I was completely overtaken with joy and delight at our new family, I was also mourning the loss of our old one.

The one that was just me and my sidekick making every moment an adventure. Now those moments are squeezed in between naps and nursing, two things that don’t sound like much but somehow eat away all of our time. I savor every moment I have with each of them, but in learning to meet each of their very different needs, I’m also missing being a mom to just one.

In those rare moments when the baby’s actually asleep and I’m not falling down in the throes of sleep exhaustion, I try to remember those days and soak up the version of them I have now: our adventures may not be just me and him all day long every day, but I still fight to have them in the midst of all the change.

I know this is just a short season of life and one that I will undoubtedly miss down the road just as much as I’m missing the last one, but that doesn’t make the missing any less. While it’s perfectly fine to miss what was, I can either sit here and keep missing it, or I can find a way to bring some of that old connection and adventure back into our new lives. I think I’ll choose the latter. (After I wipe just one more tear away for the old days.)

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Article Posted 3 years Ago

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