As a mother of three children I have made somewhat of an awful observation about my mothering skills and how they have declined from child number one until child number three.
My oldest, Mikayla, is now 14 and when I look back on the early years with her, I was one impressive little momma. I had an entire collection of books and magazine articles telling me how to take care of her and I read them all and followed the instructions to a tee. Then with Macie who is now 11, I would refer to them when I was unsure of something, like if she was sick or she had a rash I didn’t recognize. By the time 6-year-old Mylee came along, I couldn’t even tell you where the books were. It’s quite possible Dr. Benjamin Spock is still helping to balance an old dresser or something somewhere in the house.
When Mikayla was a baby, nothing but brand name, top-shelf diapers ever touched her bottom. With Macie I realized store-brand diapers worked the same way and with Mylee…well, in a pinch, a kitchen towel and duct tape can do the job!
During Mikayla’s toddler years, I would get her out of bed, put a perfectly coordinated outfit on her, do her hair with just the right accessory to match her outfit and would never think about taking her out in public dressed any other way. With Macie the matching didn’t matter so much, just so her outfit was clean and fit. Then there was Mylee, “Sure, Mylee you can go to the store in your Cinderella dress and snow boots in April. Oh, we haven’t brushed your hair today? No problem, let’s go.”
Then there is the subject of pictures. I have professional pictures of Mikayla at birth, 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 18 months, 2 years and every year after. Macie had pictures taken at birth, 6 months, 12 months, and every year after. For Mylee we did them at birth, 12 months, tried at 2, and she hated it. I decided not to fight that fight again. But I have tons of candid pictures of her…on a disk…somewhere.
Many moms can relate to this decline in mothering skills over multiple children. It is an epidemic often discussed among my friends. But why does it occur? Is it that we get lazy, that we don’t care anymore, that we have given up? Actually, no, I have discovered the root cause; it is that we become more confident in our own mothering skills and we learn what is really important and that it is not the brand of diapers we use, how they’re dressed or the number of photo shoots they have attended. What is really most important is simply that our children know they are loved and as long we find ways to remind them of that every chance we get our mothering skills never decline.
As the mother of three girls who spend much of their time upside-down as gymnasts and cheerleaders, Kerri Rochelle often feels upside-down herself from the chaos. She blogs about the wow, and some of the not-so-wow, experiences of being a busy mom to Mikayla, 14, Macie, 11, and Mylee, 6, at theupsidedownmom.wordpress.com.