I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I love to see what people are up to and connect with long lost friends (and creep on the ones I am curious about but not ready to commit to a “friend” status). These ‘time hops’ that pop up to remind me of memories from my past are fun but one in particular got me. A video I posted seven years ago came up of my three boys, at that time ages 6, 3 and 2, chasing each other and laughing. One was wearing his footie pajamas, one was wearing a lion costume and the other a Spider Man outfit, they were just babies. I watched this video about 10 times…and cried.
If I had watched this video 5 years ago I would have judged how messy the house was in the background, or why their faces were messy but now I don’t see any of it, all I see are their smiles and all I hear is the laughter. I remember that season of my life and I remember how tired I was, how absolutely unstable I felt because my youngest two were only 11 1/2 months apart and made it their job to drive me crazy.
I remember how I wished they would get older faster so they wouldn’t:
- have a melt down in the store or
- run in the street or
- put things in their nose or
- write on my walls or
- dump nail polish on my couch or
- leave their toys all over the floors or
- need me to wipe their butt or
- cry when the wrong food was given to them or
- stay awake for what seemed like days on end. Why won’t they just take a NAP?
Then they did grow up. Too fast. Now they don’t want to be held or rocked anymore. Now they want to go to their friend’s house. Now they can read their own books and bathe themselves. Now they get themselves dressed and no longer pretend to be a super hero, saving mommy from the bad guys. Now I know what people mean when they say, “my arms ache”.
I have become the crazy lady in the store who will longingly stare at a baby, or talk to a toddler while they wait in a cart. I will instinctively sway when a mom is trying to comfort their child and I will reassure an embarrassed mom that it’s ok their child is crying in public. I will laugh when a toddler does “toddler things” that will horrify their parent or create a rage that only another parent understands. I get it. I’ve been there. I wished away time that I can’t get back now.
To all the moms who have an infant or a toddler or maybe you have both. To the mom who is so tired she day dreams of a vacation where she will just nap…the whole time. To the mom who cries because she doesn’t want to scream at their child. To the mom who stays up late sewing together a baby blanket. To the mom who feels like she is failing in every way possible and wishes their child would grow up faster, may I gently remind you;
- This season does end.
- They do sleep through the night.
- They do wipe their own butts.
- They do pick up after themselves.
- They do stop crying over the wrong cup.
- They do go to school.
- You do get to sleep again.
- You will get a moment when they aren’t asking you for a snack.
- …And you will, one day, miss this season you are in right now.
I know you feel three shades of crazy, but they are only small enough to rock and hold for a short amount of time. The dishes CAN wait, read them the book. The laundry CAN wait, listen to their story. Everyone has an opinion, let them go into public dressed like Spider Man. Yes, you have things to do, but enjoy holding that baby as you watch them sleep. They don’t care that you can’t carry a tune, sing them the song. As hard as it may seem, enjoy this season you are in. The things that make you angry now, you will laugh about in the future. The things you care about now (like matching socks and what outfit they are wearing that they will just end up pooping on anyway) won’t matter in the future. Pause, and laugh, enjoy this time, soak it all in, take all of the pictures and videos and unapologetically love your babies.
And when you see someone like me who desperately misses that season, please let them hold your baby.