The Veteran Mom

Having young kids, I’ve always looked up to those who are a step or two ahead of me in parenthood.

I feel comforted (or terrified) knowing what stages are next for our kids; I guess I’m a planner.

In the infancy stage, I eagerly watched friends’ older babies eat solids, walk, and begin to talk and couldn’t wait for my own baby to do the same. I’d also watch the tantrums and the food-throwing, and while those didn’t look fun, at all, it did mentally prepare me for what was to come.

In toddlerhood, I’d watch older kids get their own shoes on, saying please and thank-you without being prompted, and playing on their own. And I also watched the attitudes and defiance, but again, it was strangely comforting, especially once my own hit that stage.

And now, with my eldest two being somewhat older kids I am looking at the moms with teenagers who are spending their Friday nights cheering their kids on under the spotlight, traveling with ease and whose kids do chores like mowing the lawn. I also watch the kids spending more time with friends, becoming hurt by a crush and wanting to be in solitude.

And right now, I am also watching a friend a few steps ahead of me prepare her son for college…

The majority of my friends back home have younger children than we do, but where we live and with the friends I have now, I’ve always been the mom with young kids, picking the brains of those ahead of me.

Until, I was at the park the other day with my crew when two other moms rolled up pushing their kids in strollers. Their kids ranged in age from nine months to three-year-old, and from the moment they arrived it was nonstop.

Our park experiences were similar in some ways and very different in others. While we all chased our toddlers around the play equipment ensuring their safety, my older two ate the lunches packed for them on their own, played on the equipment without me following them, filled their own water bottles up and even helped the other toddlers around the area.

image1 copy 2

Those mamas watched in amazement; not only at the self-sufficiency of my own older children but how they were able to help out with the littes.  They helped them walk over the scary wobbling bridge, pushed them on the swings, lifted them up to get a drink of water, made sure they didn’t topple over the side of the equipment, and just held their hand while they walked around.

After asking if they could adopt my older two to help around the house, I agreed as long as they’d be okay with sibling arguing and maybe a stiff-arm here or there (between my own children, not targeted at theirs..ha)  and we then began chatting about how to get babies to sleep through the night. We also talked about what preschools I recommended around the area and what sports my children started first. We talked about ways to get a picky eater to eat anything other than granola bars and fishy crackers and how we potty-trained our older kids.

And suddenly, I realized I was the veteran mom. I was the mom these women were looking to for advice and to just hear what life was like at the next stage.

This was something I had never experienced before.

It all just made realize what stage of life we are in right now, and how quickly it is happening. My older two are pretty much 1/3 of the way DONE being under our roof.

And my BABY is almost two.

And to some,  I am now the veteran mom.

As much as it startled me to realize what position I was now in, it came full circle and was comforting knowing I was able to offer a suggestion here and there, just as was once done for me. Actually, still IS done for me!

image2 copy 2

While I am not one to usually offer up suggestions or recommendations without being asked, as I fully respect each parent’s space and style, it did feel good to be asked and I happily shared whatever I could to answer those ladies’ questions.

So, the next time a fellow mom is doing something you’re curious about or seems to have some knowledge to share, ask! Even if you don’t know them. My guess is they won’t mind sharing and will gladly do so.

 

Comments

  1. Beautiful family. It’s wonderful that you got to share your expertise with those women. I’m sure they’ll be doing the same with other women in the not to distant future. I like when we can learn from each other and share ideas rather than think we need to figure out everything on our own.

  2. Having other mothers around who have already been through it is a huge comfort. That’s why I’ve always relied on my own mother for backup.

  3. I never thought of it that way, but I do the same thing! Now that my daughter is in Kindergarten I feel like I’m all of a sudden one of those “old and experienced” parents lol

  4. It’s such a huge learning curve, everytime I think I have my toddler figured out she switches and transitions to something new. I agree that it’s so important to cultivate a support system with family and other moms.

  5. I LOVE being the Veteran mom. Most of my friends have kids the same age or younger than my youngest which is 5. So having an 11 year old and 7 years old in the mix, they are always asking me for advice or wanting to take my kids home because they’re still in the terrible twos and threes. I think that no matter what stage you’re in it’s a learning curve and they will always be someone out there giving you advice!

  6. I don’t have kids of my own but I have two nieces and a nephew and most of my friends seem to have or be having kids, so it’s great to see how they do things and get information for later. Plus, I’ll have a lot of people to ask for help if I need it in the future. It must be kind of nice to be the veteran mom too though! :) Your kids sound wonderful.

    -Lauren

  7. My daughter is 4 and I am watching friends have second and third kids. All I can think is, “i know what’s coming next and I’m not ready lol.”

Speak Your Mind