When I had really little kids, like 2 and 3 year olds, I thought my life was over. I thought I would never see the end of snotty noses, dirty diapers and cutting every meal into tiny pieces. I remember longing for some freedom, even if it were just to take a shower alone without someone screaming “Mommyyyyyyy!” and banging on the door.
I’m not one of those women who always wanted kids. I adore my children and they’re a blessing that defies explanation, but I also have a lot of interests and enjoy time to myself. And you don’t get much of that when you have toddlers.
I remember being right in the thick of toddler parenting with two kids in diapers while working full time. My life was non-stop. I had a horse that I rarely got to ride, much less show. I am heavily into horses and all I wanted back then was to take lessons and go to shows. I had zero extra time for that, not to mention money, so it wasn’t happening. Meanwhile I felt like every single one of my friends was showing every weekend and coming home with buckets full of ribbons, while I cut grapes in half and supervised bubble baths. I had to quit following a lot of my friends on Facebook because I was so depressed about missing out.
For a while, I fought the current of my life situation and tried to keep up lessons, or go to shows without enough lessons. I spent a lot of money to lose, basically.
Finally I came to terms with the fact that the horse show scene wasn’t happening for me any time soon, so I may as well forget about it. I reminded myself that kids do eventually grow up and someday I’d be able to chase my equestrian dreams.
When you’re in the middle of the toddler years, it feels never ending. I’m here to tell you that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Your kids are going to get older and become more independent. You are going to get pieces of your life back, a little at a time. You will be able to chase dreams again. The toddler years are an interlude, and a very short one at that.
It took me a while, but once I quit feeling sorry for myself and embraced the stage of parenting very dependent offspring, I was much happier. Now my kids are 8 and 9 years old and they brush their own teeth and take their own showers. I get plenty of horse time now. I was even able to compete in an 18 mile competitive trail ride that involved camping with my horse for two nights. I went all by my lone and even came home with a ribbon!
In addition to being more independent, my kids are turning into interesting and talented humans as well. My 9 year old daughter is a bad ass climber and she loves to cook. Just the other day she baked homemade bread from scratch and made butter out of heavy cream. She’s into Little House on the Prairie and she found the recipes on a super cool blog about the books. She needed zero help from me, but I got to enjoy the bread and butter. Parenting win!
My son is 8 and into fishing and being on the water. He likes to ride on my kayak and he loves to fish. I was hoping one of my kids would be into horses, but they’re not, and I enjoy fishing enough to accept that as a consolation prize.
I feel like I put the time in with them while they were little and now I’m getting to enjoy them being a little older. We haven’t hit the teenage years yet, so we’re in that sweet spot where they’re somewhat independent but still definitely children.
So if you’re the type of mom that doesn’t get a big emotional rush out of the toddler years and longs to get back to whatever passions you had before the birth of your darling children, take heart. This is just a phase. It’s going to fly by. Embrace it, take it all in, wipe those butts and clean those sticky fingers. I promise it’s not forever.