I'm (not) just a teenage dirtbag, baby.

Well. This has been on my mind for a while. Here it is:

I am starting to feel a little more grown up. Ever since I had Jack I've felt a little behind, like I was too young to be a mother, or at least I found it hard to wrap my brain around it. I, Me, Natalie, was someone's mom. I remember when we'd visit my parents I find it surprising that my new son preferred to be held by me than my mom. She was the real mom. I was just the kid who was suddenly lactating and sleepless, fumbling my way through each day but loving it. Laundry became the enemy. Dinner the great daily puzzle. Who was I to think myself equal to all these new responsibilities. Natalie the homemaker? Was this some kind of sick joke?

This mindset continued to a lesser degree with each additional child. Natalie the mother, the mother of 2, then 3, then 4! I was 21 when I married and by age 25 I had 4 kids? You can see how my life didn't leave me much time to get used to each transition. I was just making things up as I went along, trying my darndest to get my feet into the footsteps of the women before me, but falling far short. The only time I felt sure about my parenting or homemaking was when I was was confident it was just what Jane would do. As the third child and oldest daughter of eleven children, I had always thought I would be way ahead of the game when it came to childcare and homemaking. I had some knowledge, I had some experience, but when it came right down to it I didn't really have a clue. I just sort of be-bopped along. Lots of trials, lots of errors.

My mom gave great advice and better pep talks. Kevin was ever the supportive husband to his floundering little wife and I came to feel at peace with my shortcomings. And now, little by little (but not as gradually as I would have thought), I am gaining a confidence that allows me to feel less like a bewildered child and more like a mother, a homemaker, an adult. Before it felt like an act, now it's beginning to feel natural. I stress less and enjoy more. I know what I can take on, and it's more than I could have before. And if it's something that frightens me, my new-found confidence compels me to try it anyway.

Just last week a friend bravely taught me how to make applesauce. And now I can make applesauce every fall if I want to. The idea of hosting Sunday dinner used to terrify me, but now my sisters come almost every week with various friends and I love it. I made my first successful pie crust just within the last month. I piled all of my children in the van and drove 45 minutes to see a friend and back, without Kevin. This would not have happened in the past, I just wasn't brave enough. And it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Okay, the drive home was pretty bad. But I did it and I would do it again.

These are not major accomplishments, of course. But to me they are proof that I'm growing up. That's the point. I'm no longer terribly intimidated by adulthood. I'm embracing it, for the most part. I know, it's about time, right? In what ways have you grown up recently? Or am I the only one who feels this way? It's okay if I am. As an adult, I no longer need constant validation. another bonus.


  1. Great post! You are a great mom. I think everyone needs validation in their mid-twenties...I know that I struggle with that.

  2. Great post. I felt pretty clueless a lot of the time during E's first year or so, especially because he was pretty sickly and we went through the whole thing of him having severe eczema and food allergies. It was quite overwhelming at times.

    But now I feel a lot more confident. I think part of it is that I realized that my occasional mistakes aren't going to scar him for life (well, badly anyway!)

  3. Natalie, I know this post is older, but I still wanted to respond to it. I'm in my late twenties, just got married, and definitely still feel like a child. Gradually, I'm learning to embrace more responsibility and look forward to scary but exciting changes. It may be possible we will always feel this way as we continue to move through transitions and overcome new challenges. But especially, I think, in new marriage and new motherhood stages.


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