This blog is called The Adventures of Jack but truly the adventure began 21 years ago yesterday. I was 17 w/ 17 days until my 18th birthday and had just given birth to the most beautiful 9lb baby boy, KJ.
I had absolutely no idea what I was doing if I want to be honest. I knew nothing about breast feeding… I wasn’t even comfortable yet in my own skin. I knew nothing about how to feed him period. I overfed him too many times to count. I knew nothing about colic which he had. In 1997 they (doctors because I had no clue there were other resources) recommended babies slept in a crib or bassinet on their side. He hated it. It took about 2 weeks for my maternal instincts to kick in. We began (safely) bed-sharing, he napped on his tummy, and we gently bounced instead of rocked to sleep.
I have to say the first year was rough. I loved him beyond measure but had no idea that I could follow his lead and develop his own schedule. I was getting so much advice but one reached me more than the others. He’s your baby and no babies are the same so you find out what works best for the both of you. That help me not feel like a complete failure.
After the first year things began to fall into place. He was my everything. Truly. My grandmother once told me (several times actually) that I was put on this planet to be a mom. I am not perfect by any means and she of course is biased but I think she saw in me what no one else could. And even though I was young that couldn’t diminish the bond we had and the love I had for being a mom. His Mom!
I had Jack at 34 – quite an age difference and I see how different of a mom I am now. Some of it makes me happy and some of it makes me sad. For instance: I was ashamed of being a young and single mom. I was so caught up in what others thought. My house was always perfect (I’m kinda OCD anyway) but it took away from time with KJ. He always had to be dressed perfect. When he began school I lied about my age so the seasoned moms would take me more seriously. I mean what woman in the world actually pretends to be older? ✋🏻 I got very involved in his school and the PTA because I wanted to be the mom I didn’t have.
*Let me pause for a second. I had/have a mother. When I was growing up though she wasn’t the PTA kind of mom. That’s as far as I’ll go into her besides saying that she did the best she could. AND doesn’t every person want the opposite of what they have to a certain degree?Along with my mother ⬆ I had very strong women in my life; my great grandmother was instrumental and I see many of my life choices now come from her, my grandma who was/is very much a mom to me and the epitome of unconditional love and strength, and my aunt that was the best mom I think I’ve ever witnessed in motion.*
Back to my KJ after my short detour. We were and are extremely close but looking back I never got on the floor really to play cars or let him jump in mud puddles, or allow him to clean his own room because I had to have things perfect. We had amazing adventures, had so much quality time together, talked about any and everything and for that I’m grateful. We hugged and kissed all of the time and “I love you” was said multiple times a day but I was controlling and never realized it until Jack and for that I’m sad.
No one is the same person they are at 17, 21, 28 and 34. There is a lot of growth both emotionally and intellectually that takes place. With Jack, he gets to wear rain boots, a cape, and shorts in public 😳 and jump in mud puddles and dishes can wait while I play on the floor with him. I’m more aware now of what we put into and on our bodies, I’m more patient and gentle. (I was never a spanker because I wasn’t as a child and it just was unnatural to me to discipline in that way so meaning gentle in the sense of calm voice, eye level, etc. vs no and stop).
Did KJ get the short end of the stick? Sometimes I worry he did. BUT then I think of all of the things I did with him that I’m not doing with Jack. I went to ALL of KJ’s talent shows, school plays, classroom parties, etc. whereas Jack is homeschooled and might possibly not have those experiences with me. I could go on. And on. And on.
There are similarities too though. Neither were vaccinated past a certain point, both bed shared, etc. I honed into my momma gut as I became older. Breastfeeding was immediate with Jack and continued into toddlerhood. Schedules are life. I followed Jacks though and that made life easier. But the real truth is that I stopped caring what people thought of me as a parent. Both of my babes know they were and are loved. And both babes had different needs.
Mommin’ ain’t easy. And I give props to all parents just doing their best for their families…. no matter their age, experience, bank account balance, etc. And momma guilt is a bitch. So the next time I see a young mom or an experienced mom I’ll be yelling Do You Boo – silently though because I don’t want people to think I’m crazy! 🤣