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Mom's Time Out

Stages of life

Mary Angel

(May, 2012) The other day my husband and I were discussing something that really didn’t even matter and realized how differently we felt about it than we had in the past. It wasn’t so much the topic we were discussing as the stage of life we were in that had affected our viewpoint on the matter. That led me to think about all of the stages of life a woman goes through and further contemplate how my kids stages of life so greatly affected my husband and I and the decisions we would make in our lives

When I was little girls there was nothing I couldn’t do. If I wanted to be girly I could, if I wanted to climb a tree and play baseball with the boys, I could. For me, as I got older, I was expected to be more feminine. I was expected to show a little more of that girly side. Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed playing dress-up, it was just a more mature form of dress-up. I was no longer sneaking into moms closet to walk around in her heals; I was buying my own for my first grown up job. I experienced puppy love and teenage crushes and went to college and had a whole separate set of hills and valleys, but this is all what made up my youth.

Then I moved on to my mid-twenties and graduated from college and was now in the "real" world. I had my first real job in the social work field and thought I would change the world. I was interested in dating but really had no prospects. Then along came my husband (or would-be husband). We met at work and started dating…it was great. We went out to dinner all the time, eventually became engaged and then finally married. We didn’t have a care in the world and were completely content (keep in mind that I was terrified of babies). We traveled, not as much as we should have, but as much as we had the time and money for. This was the early years of marriage and this was the stage when there weren’t too many cares in life. The biggest worries in this stage of life, for my husband and I, was simply getting used to living with another.

This was the point when everything changed! I decided I wanted to try the biggest fear of my life and have a baby (preferably one without a wobbly head). My husband took a little longer to get on the baby train but eventually it happened. We became parents for the first time when I was 28 and I can honestly say that nothing has ever been the same. Our days of travelling whenever we wanted were gone. We traded travel for diapers, a stroller and sleepless nights. Our quiet evenings were exchanged for taking turns holding the baby or changing diapers and I most definitely became the mom who lived up to the saying, "early to bed, early to rise". Only it turned out that with a new baby you were rising frequently throughout the night. Compound the lack of sleep with the nerve damage I had from giving birth and there were times when the new parents thought they were crazy for deciding to have a baby. This is the first baby stage of life, and some women stop here and find that as their only child gets older thing become much easier. Then there are those of us who jump into the next stage all too willingly.

The next stage in my life was the multiple children stage. I word it this way because at this point there isn’t much difference between two or four. Actually, my husband and I both agree that two to three and three to four were very similar. It was moving from one to two that was more of a culture shock. The only shock from three to four was that we were suddenly outnumbered and when I went out alone with the kids I didn’t have enough hands to keep them in tow. Having four kids actually comes with its own set of stages but with regards to my husband and me it affects what our worries and concerns are depending on the ages of the kids. With little babies I really didn’t worry much except maybe about basic health issues like ear infections, colds, and with my kids’ croup. But as they get older, yes teenagers, it is way more worrisome. Whether it is school issues or emotional issues or, I can’t even say it…issues of the opposite sex, the issues are just bigger and way more serious. Even the less serious issues are way more serious to a teenager. Add to the teenage drama all of the extracurricular activities involved in having four kids, all the homework, four different schools, and lions and tigers and bears…oh my!! So far this stage in my life is by far the hardest and most emotionally draining.

Some evenings when the kids are in bed and we have a few moments to talk uninterrupted, before I pass out from exhaustion, we smile at the joys we are experiencing in this stage of our lives. Every once in a while we will imagine what it will be like when the kids are grown and out of the house. This is the stage we don’t usually totally agree on. My husband sees a couple of condos in different locations and us travelling more than we ever have in our lives. I see us in the same house, because there is room for the kids and grandkids to come visit, paying off the second mortgage we had to take out to pay for college. Truth be told I hope we find a happy medium between our two visions and I hope we have a blast enjoying all the stage between now and then. Life is a stage…enjoy the show!

Read other articles by Mary Angel