I've been a mom for a long time. If only I knew then what I know now, I would feel more successful as a parent. As a stay-at-home mom, I've had less-than-perfect moments along the way, but 18 years later I realize how far I've come.
Having our first child at 23 years old, I never knew how clueless I was as a first time mom until recently. Still today, everything she does is a first for me when it comes to parenting. From taking her first steps to staying out late for the first time, I always overreacted. Although I like the idea, I'm still not use to the fact that she no longer needs me the same ways she did growing up. Having her definitely helped me become a better mom to the kids that followed.
Having child No. 2 at 25 was a little easier. I learned to encourage her milestones and enjoy each one without being as nervous. She is completely different than my oldest, so the experience wasn't the same, but I felt more prepared to be a mom at that point. I was a little calmer and felt I was better able to handle having kids. They've both helped me become the mom I always wanted to be by the time our last child came along.
With No. 3, I was 33 years old. By then, I had the whole mom thing down. I was most prepared for him. The girls were as independent as 7- and 9-year-old children could be. They could feed themselves, wipe their own bottoms, and change the channel all by themselves!
Since I had been through so many experiences with the other kids, nothing shocked me anymore. Him swinging from a chandelier or jumping from the top of the stairs didn't make me nervous. I just walked past telling him to knock it off before he hurt himself. Other people get nervous when he's running around, jumping and being a daredevil, but not me. I'm an old pro at this point! Why worry before the need arises?
Here's what I know. I know the third child has the best mom. He'll be just fine. The second child still needs a little guidance, but she has a good mom. The first child? Well, I've apologized time and time again for overreacting and carrying on the way I did whenever she did anything. I can't go back and become a better first time mom, but I promise to pay for the therapy she may need as she gets older. If only I knew then what I know now.