I am a young mother who accumulated children biennially when I was young.
Each addition would bring me more advice from older ladies.
“The hardest transition is from two to three,” one told me, “because that’s when you run out of hands.”
When I was discouraged being a full-time homemaker with three, my dearest mentor told me, “I suspect the reason you don’t feel ‘fulfilled’ is because you are just too busy. It will come.”
And, of course, they would share the near-universal observation that I should, “Cherish these times, because they go so fast.”
Of course, I’d roll my eyes like all the exhausted mothers in my generation.
But now, I am old.
Here’s a tip for young mothers: Don’t roll your eyes at the mentor mothers in your life. They were being truthful.
I was looking for a card that I kept in an old planner last week and found an old photograph.
It’s a picture of our relatively young family — when there were only five children. It was taken thirty years ago and featured the Middlebrooke grandparents.
I found myself sighing.
Those were the good days of motherhood.
The children were 8-6, 3, 2, 2 and less.
It is so simple.
I could easily get them all up, dressed and fed in the van, so they could make it to church on their own.
I could homeschool two children, manage preschoolers, and also nurse the baby.
I could grocery shop with all of them — one on my back, two in the cart, and two obedient and helpful big brothers to bend for low items and entertain the others.
They could be taken to a big and crowded fair without losing any.
Four of the five people in the photo have been married over the past three decades and have since added nine more to their family tree. One of the singles is writing music, scanning CT scans and doing other things that I couldn’t have imagined.
We had six more children during that time (one of them added two grandchildren), Dad Middlebrooke was also born, and my brown roots disappeared.
It all happened in just 30 years.
Keep your babies close to you, young mothers.
Teach them. Take the time to love them.
You can trust me. They will grow up and be gone.