A do-over parent is one with a significant age gap between ‘sets’ of children. There is a seventeen year age gap between (what used to be) my youngest child and the new baby. With that many years of hindsight, I almost can’t help being a better parent. I’m not saying I won’t make mistakes with little E, but it won’t be the same mistakes I made with the girls.
I am a different parent than I was twenty one years ago. I’ve matured, mellowed, and come to fully understand how fast children grow up. Just yesterday my oldest daughter was over visiting and it struck me that she really is All Grown Up. It’s hard to imagine in the midst of diapers, scraped knees and school projects that you’ll ever be on the other side, and missing the chaos. But let me assure you, no matter how much you never want to hear the words “wipe my butt” hollered from the bathroom ever again…you will miss it later.
It’s easy to want the frustrating stages to be over. Teething, potty training, terrible two’s, those years of ridiculous science projects (that every teacher MUST know the parents actually do), puberty, and teen angst. Looking back, I enjoyed the good times, but just wanted the ‘bad’ times to be over quick.
As a do-over parent, I savor the good stages as well as the bad ones. When little E decides to scream his head off in the middle of Target, that’s ok. He’s a baby. Baby’s cry. The sidelong looks from others in the store don’t even phase me. They would have 20 years ago. Back then I would have left the store, and my cart, so I could get the screaming baby out of there (don’t pretend you’ve never done that). I’m going to enjoy every diaper blow out, every spit-up covered shoulder and every sleepless night. Because before I know it, he’ll be All Grown Up.
For all you parents out there slogging through the trenches of exhaustion and carpool hell, take heart. As I’m sure many old grannies told you, enjoy it, time goes so fast. Capture those moments and file them away under the heading “things I’ll miss when they’re older”. And if you happen to be an older mom who has made the choice to have a do-over, you’ll be amazed at how much fun you’ll have the second time around.