Friday, May 22, 2015

To All the Moms of Babies and Toddlers...

To all the moms of babies and toddlers,

I know what your days look like in between celebrating milestones and blissful baby kisses.  I recognize the foggy brain and how easy it is to misplace your keys.  I know you can’t make a complete sentence some days, and your windows are sticky.  The laundry is piled high and the constant watch over tiny people eating carpet fibers is exhausting.  I know there is no privacy and how badly you want just one freaking minute to relax.

I also know how much you love those tiny monsters wrecking havoc on your figure and your furniture.

I get it.  Not too long ago, I was there too.

I had four babies in eight years.  The nights I slept without being disturbed were like five star vacations.  I remember all those times I felt like I couldn’t get up one more time.  I thought I might keel over and die.  I needed sleep so badly I would steal moments every chance I could get.

And then I would drag my ass off the couch because the sippy cups needed washing and a baby crapped her pants. 

I remember all of this.

And I miss it.

My baby is now almost six, and this is a wonderful age.  But as she grows into new stages I'm closing doors. When she outgrew sippy cups and diapers I knew that was it.  That was all she wrote.  I would not be buying sippy cups anymore and I would not be smelling the scent of a fresh diaper straight from the box.  That preschool graduation was my last, and these days when I pick up her sleeping body it’s almost too heavy to bring to her bed.  Another ten pounds and only her dad will be able to carry her to her room when she falls asleep on the couch.

I miss sleepy faces and wet, slobbery kisses.  I miss crunchy diaper butts and tiny arms reaching out from the crib to be picked up after a nap.  My kids reach for me much more subtly now, and unless I’m paying very close attention I miss it.  I have to know when to talk, when to listen and when to just hug.  It’s a daily roller coaster.

Parenting tweens and teens involves much more than nap schedules and picking up Legos.  There is so much guesswork it’s enough to make one day the best ever and the next a complete nightmare.  You pray constantly you are giving good advice and making good judgements of character. 

Undesirable friends are not obvious anymore.  They don’t throw sand and pull hair.  They are much harder to navigate, and teaching your kids they aren’t worth the trouble is near impossible.  There are nights I pray that my kids know how special they are, because I see so many that are struggling. 

As your children grow, the magnitude of their troubles does as well.  But your relationship deepens and you discover more about them and yourself on a daily basis.

Yesterday I was walking into the Dollar General and the car next to mine was running with a man in the driver’s seat.  I wondered why he was just sitting in the car, windows up on a gorgeous day with the car running. 

And then I saw the sleeping toddler in the carseat, and I realized mom must be inside shopping.  I instantly felt a pang in my heart, because my kids don’t fall asleep in carseats anymore.   I don’t even have carseats in my van.  I have one booster seat and baseball bags.  I have a basketball that rolls around the floor and old juice pouches and water bottles. 

Moms of little ones, I know you’re tired.  I know you want to scream. 

Don’t.

Enjoy it, because in a few short years, you won’t be wiping sticky faces and finding bags for poopy diapers.  You’ll be monitoring phones and buying dress clothes for the school dance.  You’ll be sleeping full nights and loving those rare occurrences when a child wakes you up because of a bad dream. 

I pull my kids right into bed even though they kick and roll and grind their teeth.  Hubby wants to move them but I don’t let him.  I need any moment I can get, because the years are rolling by.

Keep your kids young as long as possible.  Keep them off phones and electronics, because the toys are quickly forgotten when a screen is available.  Social media is not for young minds, and I have seen more arguments and hurt feelings from it than anything else.  Let your kids be kids, and remind them not every event and feeling is meant for sharing.

The less they do online the less heartache they will have.  I promise.  One of the best decisions I have made is keeping my tween daughter off of Instagram, Facebook and whatever else is out there.  Her armor isn’t quite strong enough, and we have dodged many social media bullets.

Most importantly, if nothing else I say sticks with you, never stop hugging your kids.  Ever.  Make those hugs mandatory, because you never know when your son or daughter will hang on a little longer.  That’s when you know they need you most.

I'm not trying to scare you, because there is magic in the elementary, pre-teen and teen years.  The accomplishments are big, the baseball games get exciting and you can actually have real conversations.  You start to see who your kids will become, and all of it is beyond rewarding.  

It's magic.  It really is.


Today, precious mamas, stock up on the wet ones and enjoy the ride.  You’re doing very important work, and even thought the days are long, the years are very, very short.

Hug those babies,

Jodie

1 comment:

  1. I bawled reading this. You took the words right out of my mouth. <3

    ReplyDelete

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