Happy blogoversary to me!
Last year, I wrote a post that went and looked back at where I was at with this blog at each blogoversary, so I won’t repeat myself. But it is crazy to think that I’ve been rabbiting away here for five years now. Not a huge number of posts. This one will be number 355 when I hit publish, which averages out to being 71 posts per year, or a post every five days or so. My blog has never been that consistent, of course. I tend to have longish silences and then a flurry of posts. This was especially true in the days of ttcing when I would post obsessively while cycling and then vanish to lick my wounds and recuperate and try (and fail) to not think about ttcing and not being pregnant yet again when we were between visits to the clinic.
In that post from last year I wrote about how the focus of this blog had changed, from ttcing to pregnancy to parenting. I feel it’s probably changed a little bit again over the past year. It took months for me to become entirely comfortable in my new skin- E’s Mummy- but it took even longer before I started to believe that I was actually doing more than just ok with this whole parenting gig. E. becoming a toddler was a revelation to me. You hear so many negative things about toddlers and life with toddlers and none of it, none of it, was true for us. I have loved parenting E. and being his mother so much more in his second year than I did in his first. How much I love E. hasn’t changed, and never can. He is written into my skin and my heart. But how I felt about the actual process of being a mother, how easy or difficult I found it, how much I enjoyed, or didn’t enjoy, it, all of that has changed enormously since my last blogoversary.
What made all the difference for me was a combination of factors. The first came at twelve months when we realized E. really had outgrown the MSPI. The second was when we weaned E. from the night feeds (effectively weaning him entirely since he wouldn’t nurse during the day and I was pumping) at thirteen months. I had wanted to nurse for longer, but I couldn’t keep going the way we were. Weaning E. from the night feeds brought about the third big change: he started sleeping through the night! At fourteen months he switched completely to taking one nap rather than two, which meant we suddenly had the entire morning to go out and do things. And the day after he turned fifteen months he started walking.
Overall it was a fairly gradual process, dragged out by the fact that when E. was thirteen and a half months we went overseas for a month to see Q’s family and E. never really settled while we were away. His night sleep was quite bad. So it wasn’t until E. was sixteen and a half months that I suddenly realized how much fun I was having. And by seventeen and a half months, I felt like I had never been happier.
That, I think, is the difference I see in my blog from this past year. The appearance of confidence in my parenting. The absence of continual panic over what E. should/should not be doing. The ability to just really sit back, drink it all in, and marvel at this wondrous little person who is my son.
I have always, always, loved my son. But I didn’t always love my new life. And I certainly haven’t always felt comfortable with it or fully able to embrace the changes that motherhood and parenting demand. I wasn’t a bad mum when E. was a newborn, or an infant, or even an older baby. E. has always been loved, always cherished. We’ve followed his lead even when we desperately, desperately wanted/needed him to be doing something else (especially when it came to sleep). But now that he’s a toddler I feel so much more sure of myself. I think I’ve been saying “This is a great age” every month since E. hit the six month mark. And it’s always been true.
But these last six months or so have been golden. Watching him grow up is an incredible privilege.
And although there was a point where I thought we’d never get here, both Q. and I are so happy, so settled, so confident, that we’re ready to do it again.
And that’s my hope for the next year on this blog: that it will become a pregnancy+parenting blog, and I’ll find myself at my sixth blogoversary wondering how on earth E. can be two months out from turning three even as I feel the kicks from E’s yet-to-be-born sibling.
May it be so.
There’s one other big change, of course, between where I was at this point last year and where I am now. At the start of March last year I hadn’t yet started writing the dissertation. I was terrified to start. I didn’t know where to begin. I thought E. had eaten my brain. And then, right about this time, I forced myself to sit down and I started writing.
A year ago I didn’t have a single word of my dissertation written. And now I have over 70,000.
This, too, I think has helped me reconcile my different worlds. It is easier (and harder) to parent E. when I am also writing the dissertation. It is easier to cherish the time I have with him, because there are days that I spend in the library. It is easier to stay patient, because I get a break when it is my day for research. But it’s harder too- harder to find a balance between everything that needs doing. Harder to leave E. because he is just so much fun these days. Harder to find any time for myself because I feel like I should always be either writing or with E. Harder to believe that I am doing anything well when I always feel like I’m not devoting enough time to anything, that I’m always distracted, that there is always something more I should be doing.
The last six months have been really difficult from that perspective. But we’re taking it one day at a time. And I hope that my next blogoversary will find that E. is thriving at his nursery school, Q. is less stressed, I’ve submitted my dissertation to my committee and am waiting to defend, and we actually have some time to do things together as a family.
May it be so.