Whether I’m around my Mom group friends or in the “Mom blogger space” online, lately I’ve felt a little out of sorts. Most of my mom friends have babies or toddlers, while mine are 10 and 5 and fairly independent. Recently someone said to me, “I’ll be coming to you for advice when mine is that age” and I can assure you, that comment unsettled me as I have no idea what I’m doing either, But I do have something to I’d like to share with Mothers of babies and little ones.
This past Fall my youngest started Kindergarten. And very suddenly I felt empty nested. I realized I wasn’t needed as much as before and at some point, I won’t be needed much at all. I became very aware that we are only needed for this for a short time in their life and that’s it. These little humans are off to a world of possibilities and you, who once were their all, are now just a supporter and there when needed. I know for some of you this may seem dramatic. After all they come home after school and parenting is just as hand on as ever and are still really young. I’m not completely empty nested yet, But it made me realize how short this time is we have.
My oldest is 10. Yes, 10. A whole decade. Honestly, a part of me can hardly remember a time without him. This could be because I am a very young mother and there wasn’t much time before him. (More on that in a different post) but in some ways, it feels like he has always been around. His baby days flew by and my youngest child Bristol’s baby days were even faster.
Having a baby is hard. Whether it’s the sleepless nights, or the terrible 2’s or the countless ways we have to teach them how to behave and learn to function as little humans. Some of the hardest parts for me was with my youngest when she was a baby. Breastfeeding was rough. She always has been very temperamental and more emotional then my oldest was and being a full time SAHM was hard.
As my children grew from baby… to toddler… to child, I, like most mothers, looked forward to every milestone, every accomplishment and seeing their growth. Not only because it makes me so happy to watch them accomplish these things but also because with that growth came a little more ease in my life.
Looking forward to the time when they began eating solid foods so I could have my breasts back.
When they were able to sleep through the night so I could get a full night’s rest.
When they were walking so I could have my arms back.
When they were able to sit and play independently so I could do what I needed.
When they could get themselves dressed… Or tie their own shoes.
What I didn’t realize until recently is how as they reached these accomplishments it meant they didn’t need me as much, which is normal but that also meant that, that period of my life was gone. It was so short.
As I looked forward to their independence I wasn’t as focused on the present. I unknowingly let so much time slip by.
Allow yourself to consciously enjoy these moments with your little one.
I know that is SO hard in the moment when they are colicky or throwing a tantrum in the store. It doesn’t get easier. Even with my “older” children, I have just as many harrowing times. The troubles of parenting will stay no matter the age and you’ll take them on and learn so much from your little one. But you can’t go back. When you are looking at the future you forget to be present, now.
Being a Mother will always be hard but take a moment each day to remember right then… and be present…knowing you will never have this moment again with your baby.
So to the mom of the baby, take it in.
All the little moments of happy first giggles and sweet baby kisses.
Try to enjoy those moments when they finally fell asleep and even when you feel like you may just fall asleep yourself, hold them for one second longer.
How I wish I could snuggle that little baby one more time. I wish I could turn back time for so many little things I miss from my babies. I wish I could have been more intentional in those baby years, taking it all in.
I know I have years left of parenting and this message is to myself as well. As I am going through this realization, I too am making more of an effort to enjoy these little moments with my kids before they are fully grown and gone.