This is my third trip into the throes of newborn life, and I can’t lie. I spend half of the time wondering why I started over again when my youngest was about to be in kindergarten (my partial freedom milestone) and the other half of the time thanking my lucky stars that I have this sweet little snuggle bunny who doesn’t argue with me about brushing their teeth before bedtime or need me as their personal sibling referee all day. I’ve had countless late-night parties with my newest mini, and thus, lots of time to reflect. The thing that resonates with me most these days? Mama, don’t rush it.
My first was the infamous “wild child.” I felt like every second of the parenting journey was like being baptized by fire. Colicky. Yup, did that. Food allergies while breastfeeding. Did that, too. Broken bones falling out of a tree. Check. Calls from school. That, too. I spent most of my first’s early years wishing to get to the next phase in life where I was silly enough to believe it would get easier. Well, if you can’t tell where I am going with this… it doesn’t. It just becomes a different kind of hard. And now, as I look back at his baby pictures, I regret not loving those moments a little more. I regret being hard on myself. (I am STILL working on this one!) I regret worrying about if I would ever be enough. I regret worrying whether we would be “normal” enough.
If you are a first-time mom, let me run it down for you…
Don’t rush to the crawling stage, because once they are mobile, life is never the same. You worry that they will walk on time, and then you look up and suddenly they are running away, FROM YOU, laughing in toddler terror pitch because they are living their best life whilst not listening to you. You rush the breastfeeding stage, only to realize that you now must feed them… every day… multiple times a day… for-e-ver. And these suckers are picky. You worry that their speech is not developing fast enough, and then they are asking you the millionth question of the day by 6:56 a.m. You want them to read, and then you can no longer spell out things to the other adult to keep them from understanding. My oldest is only 7, and I can only imagine what the next iteration of this journey will look like.
I get it. It is hard not to want to get to the next phase, especially if your current one has been full of parenting storms. I used to look at people crazy when they would pass by, and remind me to savor these moments. I just imagined that they had it easier than me. I assumed they could never understand what I was going through. I now realize that it just wasn’t communicated to me in a way that would resonate. I have a “shoot it straight” personality, and if I could whisper in your ear as I passed you by, the advice would be: I know it is hard, but you can’t wish away the hard. You can’t grow away the hardships. Parenting will continue to be your most challenging blessing. When you can, just breathe in the little moments and let them settle deep in your soul. Let the laughter and baby toes fill your cup. Enjoy the innocence. Time is ever passing, and believe it or not, you are killing it. Long days. Short years, Mama.