(Want to listen instead of read? Head to the podcast version of this memoir)
Having a toddler is strange.
It's even stranger that my baby has turned into a toddler within the past three weeks. I mean, really. Just three weeks ago I had a baby. She wasn't quite walking yet, and she really did stay in one place much better than the toddler she has now morphed into so quickly.
New moms- beware. This will happen to you, too. And you'll wonder what in the world has happened to your life you once thought had some kind of normalcy, consistency, or routine.
So now, it's true. I have a toddler. And today I also had banana guts rubbed into the fabric of my pants for the second day in a row. Don't know what banana guts are? You must not have a toddler- let me explain. Banana guts are what a piece of banana becomes when it is smashed in the hands of a toddler that refuses to sit still and eat. And though you've tried to keep her in her chair, you've given in, and now she's walking around with banana guts in hand, rubbing them on anything she feels so inclined to touch (i.e. everything).
I guess what I'm trying to say is that in the past two days, I have experienced a new season of motherhood. I've gone from a season where things felt almost routine for a few months. I was getting used to the routine, too. Feeling pretty darn attached to it.
I saw this coming, though. I even said to Nick, "I think she's about to get a little more difficult" just the other day. And when I said it, I already thought she was difficult. I also saw a nap transition coming, and now we're in the thick of it.
Here's the thing about this new season of motherhood: I can already tell it's a hard one. It's the kind of season where I don't even know what's hit me. Where I'm dead tired at the end of the day. Where I spent 30 minutes staring into space and reminding myself I needed to repeatedly check on the toddler that is wobbling back and forth around my house picking things up, putting them back down, and hopefully not eating them.
It's a season where I feel guilty when not all of my attention is on her all of the time, because she wants attention and she wants validation. And the guilt, it makes me feel like a bad mom. And feeling like a bad mom gets me wondering if I should be staying at home with her in the first place, or if she'd be better off somewhere else and I'd be better off at work.
Here's what I do in these moments- the moments of doubt and confusion and monotony and bananas rubbed into my pants and a whole lot of crazy. I take the baby girl and cuddle her. I know I've talked on here before about how baby kisses heal. Friends, even today, with the banana pants, they healed. They were even extra slobbery- and isn't it funny how slobbery babies can kind of disgust us all of our lives, but our own slobbery baby just melts us?
Because the conclusion I come to at the end of the day is this- I am not perfect. And this season is already proving difficult. But I am the best mom for Gemma- no matter how difficult, slobbery, sweet, ornery, or perfect angel she decides to be in the moment, she's mine. And I'm hers. To me, that means God created us for each other, and He's entrusted this sweet little girl to me.
This, I remember, is the greatest privilege. This, I remember, is enough.
So I march on, I put on gratefulness, and I wear bananas on my pants with pride- a badge of honor that matches the messy but sweet season we're in.