For When You’re Having a Frustrating Day in the Land of Motherhood:
Note to Self (and to all of you reading): Memorize Your Babies
Much to my dismay, babies don’t stay babies forever. In fact, they are babies for an incredibly short amount of time. When I was pregnant, I often heard “It goes by so fast”. I didn’t fully grasp the idea until my son was born. Memorization is key. I remind myself often to memorize everything. Memorize every pitter-patter of baby feet running on the hardwood floor, every inquisitive stare, every toothless grin, every messy face, every moment. Soak it in. Remember this feeling. The feeling of having your babies be little because soon enough, they won’t be little anymore.
I find myself scanning through old pictures of him and being in awe of all of his growth and development. I remember sometimes when he was a newborn I would wish for him to be awake more so that I could play with him. Later around 4 months, I wished he could sit up. All he wanted to do was be upright but got frustrated when he couldn’t. At 9 months he started walking. Now at 10.5 months, he’s cruising all over the place and I’m wishing he was a newborn again. Only so that I could live it all a second time because it has been that good and I don’t want to forget it. I’ve decided to stop wishing and start soaking in every stage, every day.
Choose Joy and Choose Your Baby.
It is easy to get caught up in the hard work of being a mother. You’re five dirty diapers in, and a blow out happens. Yeah… I know the feeling. Then your kid starts running around without his diaper and you’re chasing him down while the dogs knock over the water bowl. Frustration can happen very quickly but what I’ve found is that nothing good comes from letting the frustration grow and manifest into anger.
This applies to everyone, not just mothers. In motherhood, though, I feel like it is especially important to take time for ourselves so that we don’t take our frustration out on our kids. This is by no means a post to put judgment on you or anyone who has let frustration win because I know how it is and I’m no perfect parent. I simply want to remind us all how much better our day can be if we stop for a moment, acknowledge our feelings, then let them go and return to our child or baby who needs us to teach them.
Check-In, Not Out
Negativity breeds negativity. It’s taken me a long time to fully grasp this but it has become so clear to me lately that I can’t help but think I’ve wasted a lot of time in my life focusing on the negative. As I’m typing this, Koa keeps trying to knock down my make-shift baby-proofing situation to look out the window. A little annoyance may have been felt, but I know he just wants to see what’s outside. His little innocence is just trying to experience this world around him and I want him to feel like he is allowed to explore. So, what did I do? Did I continue to say “No” and walk him to a safer play area? I did not. I scooped him up, threw a jacket and hat on him and we went outside for a few minutes. This boy loves the outdoors. He watches every leaf as it blows across the yard. All he wanted to do was get some fresh air and I don’t blame him! I guess I needed it too.
I’ll be honest I haven’t been the best at making sure we do things outside. Not because I don’t want to, it just was a cold, blustery winter. Being a stay at home mom, it has come to my attention that I don’t have a lot of other friends who are also stay-at-home moms. Everyone is busy during the day! So…not to make excuses or anything but I guess I’ve avoided long treks in the snow because I didn’t want to go alone. I, too, love nature and want to nurture that love in my son. If I’m busy and he wants to go outside, well you better believe we are going outside to play! Check-in and be present with your little, they will appreciate it more than you can fathom.
Take Pictures but Make Memories First
In an age of constant photographs, I urge you to first feel and embrace the memory about to be made. I am just as guilty as anyone else at quickly running for my phone to take a picture or video of every single thing my son does. What I am trying to do more of, however, is to pause. Live in the moment of now. Live in it, breathe it in, and memorize it. Of course, take your pictures, you’ll want those too. Just don’t be so busy looking for your camera and making sure that the lighting is perfect that you miss their first step in real time.
We all want time to either speed up or slow down. In the season of raising babies, though, I think we are at just the right speed of time. It’s cozy, it’s sweet, it’s messy. It’s breathtaking, it’s exhausting, it’s joyful. It isn’t happening too slow, that I can tell you for sure. Plan some fun activities, get your baby laughing. Soak it in. Don’t forget it. Remember it all, then take your picture.
I’m No Expert, but I Do Know Something
Look I know I’ve only been a mother for 10.5 months. I know you may be reading this and thinking, “Just you wait until your toddler is screaming at the grocery store!” or, “Yeah, yeah yeah, wait until you have multiple kids!” Hey, I get it, Mama. I am new at this. New to being a mother. I am, however, a seasoned veteran at taking care of kiddos. I started babysitting at the age of 12. Worked at a summer camp for 4 years. Then nannied all through college. I even nannied for a family with two sets of twins under the age of 2. I repeat: I GET IT! Life is hard sometimes and we get frustrated, we get angry and we blow up.
All I’m asking you to do is to find your calm. I don’t believe that parenting has to be a war-zone. Look into your baby’s eyes. All they want from you is your approval and love. Try not to take out adult frustration on your littles. I promise you I’ll do the same. Be the parent you want your kids to remember. & don’t forget to SOAK IT ALL IN.
All the best mama,