Motherhood Right Now: On Raising Big Kids

Quite often, I recieve a question asking if I’d ever entertain the idea of having another baby. My first thought about that usually runs off into some land of, “Thinking of a baby isn’t a one avenue question!” and “I have two already!” and “The emotional and financial reality of multiple children, teens, and future-adults is just too much for me to think about.”

I understand why the question of this kind of desire is an ongoing one. Every so often, when late at night and feeling my body, I grow nostalgic about pregnancy and birth (I really loved my labor with Oak). And I think it is made worse by the reality that I could essentially, “do it all over again” with someone new. But there is a part of me that overwhelmingly enjoys (and enjoyed) River and Oak and my time with them. And as they get older, I realize how selfish I want and need to be with them and this time as they grow. I don’t think that pang of a new and possibly different experience ever goes away. I won’t kid myself. I think if anything, I have settled with the hands I’ve dealt myself. I am the orchestrator of this reality.

With that said, I also feel the need to shout from the rooftops how amazing it is to no longer have babies or toddlers. Babyhood is magical and a equally idealized state of parenthood. But nearly-nine and newly-five, is quite something. It is just as magical, but so very different. It is full of a different set of emotions, growth, conversations (the real stuff), personal (and family) time. I am so in love with River and Oak right now, as they are. As I am. Truly. I’m not sure how else to describe this particular stage, even with its difficulties. It is a stage that doesn’t feel on the cusp of something larger (though I can feel teenage years and puberty biting at my heels on occasion). There’s no tap, tap, waiting for a juicy and milky burp. It just is.

I am hesistant to write anything in stone. There have been one too many late night conversations with friends and acquaintances that have left me throwing the hammer on this subject and on my contentment. As if a walk on one road or the next means I am a lesser version of joy. Rather, right now, this is how I see my life. Just them, full of mornings of quiet play as I still lay-in, yogurt grabbed from the fridge on their own if they’ve grown hungry early, books devoured within minutes, deep conversations about things I have yet to map out and some I have, and magic. Just a big kid kind of magic. You just have to wait to get there.

Do you have big kids (or teenagers)? I’d love to get some more perspectives on this.

(photos taken a simple morning when River decided she would poor them both cereal and milk for breakfast.

10 thoughts on “Motherhood Right Now: On Raising Big Kids

  • Reply Jocelyn November 11, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    This is beautiful 🙂 I’m about to have my second baby. My first is 2.5. While I won’t wish away these years, as they are truly magical, I am longing for a time when I don’t have to give up so much of myself. While I’m sure there are still struggles, I imagine their older childhood to be time when I can grow and thrive as much as I nurture and give!

    • Reply latonya November 12, 2019 at 9:35 am

      Hi Jocelyn! Congrats on baby #2, that’s amazing! R and O are three years apart and I really loved the gap. I totally understand what y ou mean. Those sweet newborn times are of their own kind of magic. And yes, the growing, naturing, and thriving with older kids is it’s own as well. it all happens so fast. xoxo

  • Reply Claude Monique November 11, 2019 at 9:01 pm

    LaTonya, I love this! My kids are 3 and 6. Still little but I prayed for the day where we’d have no more diapers, no more stroller and today we skipped my son’s nap and spent the whole day in the city! So much fun! I’m loving my not quite big kids, but not so little kids too!

    • Reply latonya November 12, 2019 at 9:38 am

      Hey Monique!

      Yes! Our kids have the same age gap. I feel like 4 and 7 was where it all sort of went off. Lights, camera,action, big kids, the works. Something just shifts. The naps, and the maturity of the older kid etc. You will love it!!!

  • Reply Jess November 11, 2019 at 9:20 pm

    I have three girls 12, 8, and 4, and honestly, I feel exactly the same way. I’m so happy to be out of the baby and toddler stage! We always planned to have four kids and would have loved to have had a son, but I can’t even imagine starting over again. The older my kids get the more I can just enjoy being around them as humans and not people I am responsible for feeding, burping, and bathing.

    • Reply latonya November 12, 2019 at 9:40 am

      Hey Jess, totally! Exactly. The road after Oak (he’s 5) feels so so far. I couldn’t imagine. And of course, you never know. But I think this is the sweet spot for me right now. Enjoy your kiddos!!!

  • Reply Jenna November 11, 2019 at 10:44 pm

    Y E S. All of this. My kid just turned 15. I was 24 when he was born and I’ll be 40 in a couple of weeks.

    He’s an only child, an unexpected child. He’s THE BEST. We remain very close. When he was 4ish and I was single he said “You’re white, dad’s brown, I’m beige.”

    I partnered again. I met my “new” person when my kid was just over 3. My kid definitely considers my partner his “dad,” but we’re white parents to a mixed brown kid and we don’t have all the answers. Thankfully, he has questions, as he should. We do our best, but there’s a lot of listening and a lot of learning to do. We’re happy to do that work.

    I’m partnered, but can’t imagine more kids. This is my family. Families all come in different shapes, and those are shapes one has to define for oneself  There’s time to define those things. No rush.

    You’ve got this.

  • Reply latonya November 12, 2019 at 9:43 am

    Thank you so much for sharing Jenna! I will have a similar age gap with River when she’s a teen. She should be graduating highschool right when I’mabout to turn 40. It’s wild! I am so interested in how to stay close in those teenage years, so thank you. And if you have anything else to share on that subject, please do.

    Also, listening as white parents to a brown kid is so so so important. AND admitting, you don’t have all the answers (how could you?) and are willing to continue to learn along the way. Kudos.

    Happy birthday, and happy teens!

    xo

  • Reply Kathleen November 20, 2019 at 3:09 pm

    I am a mama to two small boys living in Johannesburg, South Africa. My eldest son is almost 4 and my other is 7 months. I am thoroughly enjoying dipping into your blog. Motherhood is incredible and life changing and I so enjoy following other creative interesting mothers on their journeys. I am really looking forward to the time just after toddler years. I can only imagine it takes on its own magic. Thank you for sharing. So much to remember to enjoy now but also just so much to look forward to.

  • Reply Sylvia Patton November 26, 2019 at 8:39 pm

    LaTonyq, I am so grateful for you. I was just sharing with Angel how blessed I am to be connected to you and women like you that share the same joys. As a Mommy of Only One, I can say sure I’ve had the thoughts of wanting more. My husband and I agreed to 3 while dating-But it played out differently. Doctor’s told me she was impossible but again I never had a desire for children or marriage and here I am. I’ve taken care of children for over 15years, opened a school, sought a few adoption agencies and even had a tubal reversal. BUT sitting now as I am with my “Only One,” can’t help but believe and be thankful that it is just her because “she is enough!” I can’t wait to finish exploring God, Womanhood, education, trials, celebrations, and life with her.

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