Two things happened recently that made me ask myself that question as a mother. Am I there yet? Have I evolved into the kind of mother I have wanted to be since I got that plus sign? Am I the kind of mother I had hoped to be when I was mothering Cabbage Patch Dolls? Am I the kind of mother who takes pride in her work? Perhaps...
A few weeks ago, I went out to lunch with my dad and my girls. While we were eating, there was a table near us of two pregnant moms with two adorable toddler girls. And it was a typical lunch of two moms trying to have a conversation and eat, while two toddlers tried to interrupt and not eat. The moms were cool and borderline calm as they tried to wrangle girls with bows and mac and cheese. The toddlers were adorable as they laughed and sang and played musical chairs with no music. I admired both teams from where I sat, because both had obviously brought their "A" games.
As my group wrapped up our lunch (which was far from uneventful, including Mac stuffing all her ham into her cheeks like a chipmunk and then spitting it out on the table), the moms and toddlers were wrapping up theirs. At the drink refill station, I casually asked one of the moms how old the girls were, she replied two, going on three. And I remarked that I remembered those days, and that my youngest had turned two in April. I figured that would be it, until she said, "Tell me the second one is easier".
True to form, I stumbled my answer. Yes, NO, absolutely! Because the second child is easier. Possibly because we are more relaxed. It's also harder having a second child, because you have a first child who still needs their momma. And absolutely because we are so ready for our do-over. Our second chance to make the changes we want, or to do the things we "should" have with the first. I gave her my honest opinion on all of this. The second child is easier because we are more ready to be ourselves. Our "new" selves we discovered somewhere around 2 in the morning, three months in to this gig.
How do I know this? How do I have the confidence to even state this? I'm not sure. After talking to those moms, I was like "WHO AM I?". I don't know enough on mothering to answer those questions. I don't even read the books that teach you those things. Sure I have Happiest Toddler on the Block, but I seriously skimmed it. I get my motherhood advice from blogs or my Facebook friends. Seriously, when did I get here?
My second thing was that I'm having a hard time with Mac being my last baby. Chalk it up to her being two. Or finally looking like a toddler, with her new hair do. Maybe it's because I know my health is a major factor, and pregnancy isn't a smart thing for me to do. Also I'll be 35, which I swore (at 25) was last call for my uterus. I'm not really sure. I know, I'm such a hypocrite because I came on her months ago, stating that my uterus was closed for business. That some how changes when it's time to get rid of the high chair, the bottles, and the tiniest onesies that could not have possibly fit your giant of a toddler.
So again, how did I get here? When did the transformation happen that I'm actually a confident mother? Like confident and capable at the same time? Not a lot has changed. My kids still eat "questionable" breakfast choices. They currently do not have a bed time this summer. I'm still a yeller when my house looks and sounds like a government coup.
However, one thing has changed, my attitude. The attitude that I can do this. That I could add another monster to the mix and life would be just as exhausting, just as chaotic, yet undoubtedly blessed.
Last week I confessed that I was sad that Mac was my last baby to my BF, and she wasn't surprised. She didn't judge me either, thankfully, since I made her pinky promise that if I started to talk "third baby" she would tie my tubes for me. She actually said something that surprised me. She said that she thought that I was the type of mother that just gets better with every child. I become a better/happier version each time. That I find more joy with more faith each time. It has to be the best compliment I have received as a mother.
I'm no expert. I'm not perfect. I still fumble through my job as a mommy. Now, the imperfections don't bother me as much. I can usually still get through the fumbles and the set backs without to many people noticing.
But there is something to be said about about being here. In this little pocket of motherhood. Where I am confident about the choices I make. Where I find joy in the exhaustion and chaos. This place where I finally feel like a mom, on solid ground.
"Mommy, are we there yet?"
Yes, girls. We're here.