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Theresa Meacham’s column appears Wednesdays in The News-Gazette. She can be reached at theresammeacham@gmail.com.

I wonder if I’ll always feel like a first-time mom.

My 5-year-olds will have turned 6 by the time you read these words. And despite having kept them alive and relatively well for the summation of six years, I still question how it will be to do it all again.

In October, we’ll welcome baby boy No. 4. And the uncertainties of what that season will bring can have me feeling like a first-timer all over again.

I guess in many ways, I am. Another child means learning a brand-new dynamic to the family as a whole and learning a brand-new person in that individual. We will be a first-time family of six, and everything about that will be new.

I’m finding that veteran or rookie, we’re always navigating uncharted waters in a sense.

Sure, we may have mothered before, but never this unique dynamic. Or this unique stage. Or this unique situation.

We may have run a business before, but we’ve never brought one through peculiar times like these. We’ve never navigated this particular season.

We may have played the game a thousand times. But never against this opponent. Or on this stage. Or while feeling this way.

That’s why all the books containing all the knowledge and all the facts in all the world will never make up for wisdom and deep thought in the moment — because every situation calls for discernment to deal with it according to its uniqueness.

When will this get easier?

Exasperated, I asked my husband those words. I was tired of the nonsense scuffles, the having to repeat myself, the uptick in whining and the decline in patience that happens when three little kids and their mom are all a little short of sleep and not feeling 100 percent.

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I felt helpless as to how to make it magically better because I had tried all the things that had worked in the past. Nothing hit the mark. No amount of experience at having gone through a day like that before mattered in that tired moment.

I didn’t want to feel like a first-time mom. I wanted to feel competent and in control. I wanted to know the right words and have the right actions.

I didn’t want to have to slog through feeling incompetent again.

I think what I really wanted was to be comfortable, confident and, if I’m honest, able to operate on auto-pilot.

I think our approach to being a first-timer — all the time — might actually be an indication of the wisdom we have within.

While so much of me craves comfort and mindlessness, the better part of me wants to grow into something new. Something better. Someone improved.

Motherhood or business or athletics or school. They are all just the vehicles. We can choose cruise control and comfort. Or we can embrace navigating each new situation, project, test, game, relationship or scenario with fresh eyes and a willingness to grow through it.

For the record, I do hope that raising three little ones will make raising the fourth just a tiny bit more manageable.

But I don’t wonder so much anymore if I’ll always feel like a first-time mom.

Mostly, I hope I do.

Theresa Meacham’s column appears Wednesdays in The News-Gazette. She can be reached at theresammeacham@gmail.com.

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