I love babies. I love how they look, and the cuddling. How they smell, the closeness of them. I love the looseness. The chubby legs and little hands and feet.
I did not really care for children when I was a teenager. I actually didn't think I would have kids because I didn't really like children. I was talking to my mom about how some of my young relatives are very good with children, and others are... not so much. Kind of lost, really, on what to do with little kids. I was totally that way, and really, I still am. I'm not as comfortable parenting a preschooler as I am parenting a baby. I think there was a reason I gravitated towards the jr. high and high school age groups in youth ministry, and not so much the elementary school set.
I'll work through it, though. I don't think it's required that I love every stage of parenting. I think it's okay to say that I find certain ages more challenging than others.
I think it's honest to say I'm a work in progress, as a mother. I struggle with not being the ideal parent I had hoped I would be. I don't wear my baby in a baby carrier much, unless I'm out running errands. I don't engage my older children very well at all, and ignore them too much. I'm afraid that I'm damaging my kids in ways that I see and could prevent (but don't) and in ways that I don't see and therefore can't change. I yell too much, and I throw things, too. I see both behaviors in my children, and if I expect them to stop, then I must stop, as well.
Even though I'm a mom to 3 kids, ranging from almost 5-years-old to 2 months old, I don't feel very experienced. I mean, I know what works for my kids, but that doesn't make me an expert at other people's kids. On the upside, with baby #3, I already knew the routines and expectations of dealing with a newborn, and so it was more about learning the particular habits and preferences of the new baby than it is about learning skills with no prior experience.
I'm more laid back as a parent of 3. Life dictates that it happens that way. With one child, I could immediately attend to a crying baby. I could delay my own meals indefinitely, and mold my schedule to the baby's schedule. Less so with 2, and with 3, the reality is that all three children have equally pressing needs. Sometimes the baby just has to cry, because I have to feed the older kids. Sometimes the older kids have to wait because the baby is upset and needs to nurse. Sometimes I ignore them all so I can just get some water, or go to the bathroom.
Perhaps it's not about being more laid back. Maybe it's more about recognizing that there needs to be a balance of everyone's needs, including my own.
I love being a mama - mother, mommy, mom, whatever. In no way would I give it up. If anyone ever asks me, all I can say is that it's totally worth it.