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Third Time is a Charm

I was twenty two when I had my first born. I desperately wanted the world to think I was a good mom. Much like other first time mothers I spent months reading pregnancy books, Pinterest articles and blogs on all things baby. If I could go back in time I’d tell my younger, and more eager to impress self, to relax and take a nap. Parenthood can not be summed up in a book. The experience is far too complicated to fit neatly on any page. There is no one definition of a good mom. It takes all kinds. And even the best mothers get criticized. As a new mom I spent too much time trying to be perfect, and not enough time snuggling my newborn (I’m sorry Saylor). I wanted to prove I could do it all, and I did, but in doing so I missed out on some magical moments with my baby girl.

I gave birth to my son at twenty five. Two and a half years into my mothering journey I was now responsible for two little humans. I was still too insecure as an individual to stand up for what I believed in as a mother. Instead of demanding more breaks to pump breastmilk I rushed through the pumping process to meet my impossible fifteen minute deadline. Breastfeeding is an art, and those flood gates do not open unless you are relaxed. It is no wonder my milk dried up after I went back to work full time.

I am now twenty nine. Through trial and error my husband and I have learned so much about parenthood, and in turn we have learned so much about ourselves. We have experienced what is impossible for the books to teach. In many ways parenting is like looking into a mirror. Kids learn best by example. They are a product of their environment. Knowing our kids are watching, and listening, forces us to live up to the morals we preach. For example if your child sees you reading at night, chances are good they will pick up a book instead of turning on the television. Which of course makes all of us parents constantly reevaluate ourselves, our values, our actions, and our goals.

Our oldest, Saylor, is now six, her little brother, Hendrix, is three, and we are pregnant with our third child. I’ve decided to be very selfish this time around. It helps I am no longer working. I am blessed with the opportunity to stay at home with this baby, which is a luxury I did not have the first two times around, and one I do not take for granted. One would think I’d be an expert on motherhood by the third baby, but I don’t believe in parenting experts. I think there is a better chance of Santa being real than one person knowing all there is to know about raising kids. But I do have some life experience in this department, and this time I am going to do things my way.

1. Cloth Diapers

Are you scared yet? Most people cringe when you mention cloth diapers. Hell, I used to do the same. I was scared of the unknown, and to be honest the idea of washing poop out of a diaper did not seem that appealing. I heard horror stories about smelly cloth diapers, and that was all I needed to not look into the idea again (until now). I was content with disposable diapers with my first two kids. We just accepted the cost of disposables because we (thought we) had too.

I was incredibly mistaken. Over a year ago I began watching a little boy who only wears cloth diapers, so I was forced to reckon with my fears. I was pleasantly surprised at how easy they are. Not to mention his little behind is always covered in some adorable print. As soon as we found out we were expecting I knew I wanted to use cloth diapers. We stopped using other paper or disposable products in our house over a year ago, so why would we use throw away diapers? I did not even consider cloth diapering with Saylor or Hendrix, but yet six years later cloth diapers feel like the only option for our family. Isn’t it funny how time changes us?

2. No Shame in my Snuggle Game

This time, I know how fast time goes by. I know how quickly those new born squeaks turn into rambling toddlers. I am only 19 weeks pregnant and I can already imagine that sweet newborn smell again. I know how precious, and numbered, those first days are, so I don’t give a flying fuck dishes. Let them pile up. I’m pretty good at Tetris... bring it on.

I plan to snuggle this baby, and then snuggle her (or him) some more without an ounce of guilt.

3. Breastfeed like a Boss

I breastfed my two oldest, but only for three months. I recently saw a quote circulating on my newsfeed, and it really hit home:

I can’t count the times I’ve struggled trying to balance being a good mother, and also being a good employee. My biggest regret as a working mother is not having the confidence to demand proper pumping breaks after I had my first and second child. Instead, I put feeding my baby second to a large corporations wishes. We had formula to fall back on, so it isn’t that big of a deal, right? Wrong. If you want (or need to) formula feed your child, awesome. The problem was deep down I have always wanted a long term breastfeeding relationship with my children, and I let ‘the man’ take that away from me.

Not this time.

4. Zero Fucks Given

Mothers are judged more than The Voice contestants. Someone, somewhere, always has something to say. As a new mother this can be very overwhelming. As a mom of three, I can assure you I won’t even hear the criticism. The old ladies in the grocery store can whisper all they want. Eye rolls and dirty looks don’t register. My circus. My monkeys.

5. Rookie Mistake

On the flip side of all that confidence is a new stay at home mom who is about to add another monkey to my circus. This ‘stay at home thing’ with a newborn is new to me. Cloth diapers are new to me. Breastfeeding (for an extended amount of time) is new to me. I know I am going to have questions. Hell, I already do have questions! I know I will need the support and advise from my mom friends who have more experience in thsee areas. I now know raising a child really does take a village, and I am not scared to ask for help!

This time around I want to slow time down as much as possible. After two children I have grown into my skin as a mom, and as a woman. I know what is right for our family. I know what is right for my baby and I. My favorite part about being a mother of two is watching their relationship grow. I can already imagine how much joy this little one is going to bring his/her big brother and sister. Until then, I am soaking up every minute of this pregnancy (even on my nauseous days). After all, it is my last few months of mothering just two littles.

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