When you have little kids it can be tough.
There is not a lot of me time, you can feel frustrated by the dependency and sometimes they may make you crazy through tantrums, sleep deprivation and lack of appreciation for what you do for them.
You may wish they were older already.
You may wish them out of that “phase” they are in.
You may wish that they wouldn’t come into your bed every night.
Stop. Don’t get caught up in the illusion that joy and happiness are in the future. They are right here now.
That little hand in yours. Those sweet kisses they give you on the lips. The way they cling to you because only you make them feel safe.
That is love. That is joy. That is happiness.
Don’t wish that away.
What will happen is that you will look back on these days with wonder. You will be able to appreciate the magic and miracle that is motherhood and you will wish you smiled more and complained less. Held them closer instead of pushing them back to bed. Kissed their tears away instead of telling them to stop it and get a grip.
Last night I was tired. Elijah and Leo had been in our bed the night before. I was squashed between them like a tin soldier and they were only sharing my side of the bed. I had to get up for yoga at 5:15 so that I had time to feed the baby before class.
Bleary-eyed I wandered through the day. My husband had to go out and so that left the bedtime routine to me. I showered them and got them all in bed then visited each of them three times – no one wants to be second last when getting goodnight kisses in my household.
I went downstairs and was cataloging this in my head to complain to my husband later, when I read this:
I used to spend a lot of my days wishing for the next season to arrive.
I wish he’d sleep through the night.
I wish he was out of diapers.
I wish I had more time for myself.
I wish I didn’t have to spend half my night getting them to sleep.
In a blink, my babies became big boys. They are out of my bed, out of my room, and long out of diapers. They don’t need me to lie down with them anymore. I have lots more time for myself.
Some nights, I kiss them goodnight and go to my room to read, and I think “Ah, this is nice.”
But then there are other nights…
Nights when silent tears hit my pillow as I remember the days when they used to need me.
They need me less now.
Once again, I find myself doing a lot of wishing.
I wish I could hold him all night like I used to.
I wish they were back in diapers.
I wish I could still rock them.
I wish I could go back and do it all again, savoring those moments instead of wishing them away.
The seasons pass quickly, gentle parents. I know some days are crazy hard. I know you’re exhausted. I know you long for a little time to yourself again. It will come.
Today is a miracle. Today is a blessing. This season will be missed when it is gone.
Have a love-filled day. heart emoticon
© Rebecca Eanes 2015
Thank God Rebecca Eanes wrote this and I read it. Thank God I still get to tuck my children in and lie with them at night. Thank God I am smiling right now because I haven’t missed it. I am living the joy that is small children and I am very very grateful.
But how do you get out of that mindset? How do you stop letting the bad cloud over the good?
!. Gratitude – Even in the bad moments be grateful they are healthy, be grateful for their awesome set of lungs and be grateful for those little working legs that get them out of bed again and again.
2. Contentment – Unfortunately the less content we are with our lives the unhappier we become. The more we stop wishing for the future, wanting things we don’t have and constantly complaining about our lot the clearer it becomes that we are so, freaking lucky it is unbelievable.
3. Respond with love – Say you are in the kitchen doing something…..you can snap at them for asking for food again or you can lift them up, pop them onto the kitchen bench and say, “just a minute.” You could let them help. You could kiss them and gently remind them to ask nicely.
4. Empathy – Remembering that they are new to the world helps. Remembering that if no one tells them that the walls are not for drawing on they don’t know. Remember that there is a reason for behaviour, it may be attention-seeking, tiredness, thirst or hunger means you won’t always be so quick to snap. Remember tat everyone needs a second chance, and a third and a fourth. We all make mistakes, especially when we are learning.
5. Be Present. Remember Rebecca Eanes words and remember this post. This is where happiness is. Right now. Don’t miss it.
As I cleaned up Leo’s vomit last night I congratulated myself on not kicking him out of bed the night before. I didn’t know he was feeling poorly and a year ago I would have seen him climbing in as a pattern that may contrinue in the future and put a stop to it. I would have taken him back to bed, despite his complaints. I am trying so hard to parent with pure love and these successes are a testament to the theory.
Today as I sit beside him, his little head resting on my shoulder as I write this, I don’t care about the plans cancelled, the bath I need to give him to get the vomit out of his hair or the stains in the carpet, all I care about is him.