Thursday, January 7, 2010


Today I turn 32. I remember a time when that seemed like a really old age. My mom quite unexpectedly became pregnant with my little brother when she was 32. I was 9 years old at the time, and I remember thinking she was quite old as a parent of nearly three with her completely gray hair. Very old, of course, for a pregnant lady. Certainly much older than I feel or look at this moment, right? Well I lucked out in the looking young department thanks to my still blond hair and baby face. But the point is that your future age is never what you think it will be.

This past year, and my thirties in general, have been one of transition into parenthood. It has been an exhilarating transition as nobody could have prepared me for just how fun it really is to watch your own baby develop, learn and grow and become their own little person. But it has also been a tough transition between the sleepless nights, the invasion of endless noise in our house (from crying to giggling), the loss of free time, and the testing of my patience. Jillian is worth it for sure. But I do think that those new moms who only spew forth pronouncements of their utter joy and their complete fulfillment by motherhood are full of it.

I've spent much of the past fifteen months finding myself in this new role as mom. The balance between being a mom, being a wife, being an employee and just being me is never easy. But I would say that I haven't felt as much guilt as I expected or even as much guilt as some others might place on me. I can try my best in all those roles, but I'm never going to be perfect and somehow I just have to accept that not everything is within my control. Not an easy lesson for any type A such as myself to learn. Probably the hardest lesson of all though has been learning that I can't let the "just being me" part of things slide as so many of us are apt to do when we get busy. When I can't spend the time doing things I love, I do a disservice not only to myself but to those around me including my child. I see too many parents these days have children and then become slaves to them. They drop all outside interests, stop seeing old friends and focus solely on their kids. And while Jillian and Hayden are important to me, I think such lavish devotion can ultimately be harmful as kids grow up with the impression that they are the center of their parent's world and therefore the universe.

So yeah, I'm still learning and trying to get a hang of this whole being a mom thing. I'm sure I'll never quite get it right, but if my kids don't grow up to spend endless hours telling a psychiatrist how their mother screwed them up then I'll count myself as successful. I'm sure 32 will bring many new and just as difficult lessons to be learned as we move from having one child to two.

So there you have it. A little bit of rambling introspection from me on my birthday.


Cindy said...

Happy Birthday! I enjoyed your "ramblings."

Katina Bradley said...

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Amanda said...

Happy Birthday!

Amen to your center-of-the-universe theory! You can't give up who you are, for sure.

I hope your 32nd year is a wonderful one full of all the wonderful things life has to offer!

Curt said...

Either way, you're not alone as I know you have Jeramy to help you every step of the way (I know of a lot of mothers who don't have that luxury), and it seems to be working well as I think you're doing something right with Jillian. Have a happy 32nd birthday.

Jennifer said...

Good point about becoming a slave to children...I see myself falling into that rut. That's why my resolution is to find a fun hobby...thanks for your suggestions about knitting...I'm a sewer, so knitting would be a very new thing for me!

HAPPY 32ND...I'm ahead of you...turning 33 this summer. My mom was 32 when she had's interesting how much later us girls are starting our families these days.

I'm rambling...I hope you have a lovely birthday today...may all your dreams come true!!!


Kelly said...

Happy Bday!!

I completely agree with all of that! It would be so easy to be a slave to the little people but I refuse! I do tell Miss M that sometimes it has to be about mommy but she's not real receptive:)

JamieD said...

Happy Birthday, Jen! When I think back to my mother when she was 32, she seemed so old. Much so than me (who is very close to turning 33).

At the end of my maternity leave, I was confident I had learned how to be a Mom. Now that I am going back to work I feel like I am starting from scratch trying to learn how to be a Mom AND be Jamie. It's tough.

Allison (Ali) said...

happy birthday a day late :-)

You're older than me lol, but just by 3 months :-) i will be 32 in April

hope your day was wonderful

Nicky said...

I couldn't agree more. Life away from children is an absolute must for *everybody's* well-being.

Sunny said...

DOH! Sorry I'm a 'tard and missed your birthday. You can already guess my excuse.

I hope it was a very, very happy day. Motherhood *is* a balance, it isn't always chubby cheeks and giggles, and you don't do anyone any favors when you sacrifice everything you are for your family. It doesn't have to be that way! I love that you are honest about it. You are setting an excellent example for your girls, and they are blessed to have you as mama.