More than six years ago, I dropped my son off in his infant classroom for his very first day. As a first time mom and an employee of his school, I was adamant on not being that mom. You know, one of those moms that stresses everyone out with too many needs, or not enough. The one that complains about things that are totally normal or is too laid back about everything… (Yep, I know, pretty much setting myself up for failure.) And as I left that day, the teacher asked, “If Cooper hits a milestone, do you want us to tell you? Or let you see it for the first time yourself?”
Is that even a thing? It definitely wasn’t in the baby books to consider this. I told the teachers I didn’t know yet. I was too stunned. He couldn’t possibly hit a milestone at school… away from me, right?! Of course I don’t want them to tell me. Or do I? What if I came bouncing in on Monday morning, “Cooper rolled over yesterday!” while the teachers exchange that look that says, “Yeah we already knew he could do that”.
Which was worse :: missing it or not knowing you missed it?
I decided I wanted to know. The whole being truthful thing outweighed my need to be the first to witness everything. As Cooper began to hit milestones, some for the first time at school and some for the first time at home, I felt his fan club grow. Slowly, the excitement spread as we watched this sweet baby grow and move and change. Together.
On the eve of his first day in his big boy classroom, his teacher came bounding into my classroom with a gift so I would be excited about his “crossover” and to ease the worry that I would be missing some of his big boy firsts. But also to remind me that it was okay to feel sad, too. (Angie, If you are reading, THANK YOU, I will never forget this day!)
Fast forward to baby #3 who is just shy of 4 months and rolled over for the first time this weekend. This time, I wasn’t happy that I saw it for the first time (although the older brothers definitely were), it was that her teachers were as excited as I was. And I realized for me, it’s not about who was there first, it’s about growing the fan club that celebrates the milestones no matter where they happen.
Your village might be strictly family, or friends that are like family, or a preschool teacher or nanny or an au pair, or perhaps a combination of all of these. Our village happens to include preschool teachers. It is the type of support this momma who loves her job needs, but its even more than that. It is about finding where I fit on the that mom scale and owning it. I am the Type A scheduler with a laid back twist, meaning I can be uptight about the big stuff (naps and feedings), but don’t probably stress enough about the rest, like making sure she wears socks. Ever.
So momma, I see you. I see your that mom worry. I hear you stressed out that you are the only one who ever cared about that, whatever that is. But guess what, I am that mom, too. We all are, stressed and worried and too laid back and too uptight.
And you know what I realized? Your village doesn’t care if you have too many needs or not enough. We are just so excited to be a part of your village and to celebrate the milestones. Together.