As the holiday season approaches, I always feel a little bit more thankful for what I have and the blessings that have come into my life in tiny human form.
While my firstborn made me a mother, my second child made me realize just how fast the time passes, how to slow down, and, especially, how to savor.
Need less. Love more.
When we had our second child, we were living in the upstairs of my parent’s house. There wasn’t room for all of the baby swings, bouncers, rockers…even the crib was in storage. And as you might imagine, we didn’t miss a thing. A Rock ‘n Play and a Dock-A-Tot were really the only large items we use for baby number two for the first few months of her life. It is overwhelming seeing registry checklists and always wanting to score the next best children’s accessory, but in all honesty, you will need less than you think.
Be flexible and know things come in seasons.
This continues to be a constant struggle for me because I am a planner, organized, and extremely rigid. I’m a constant work-in-progress on this one because with kids you have no other choice. They get sick on vacations, they blow out their diapers in their carseats, they have accidents, they have epic meltdowns, they are beautifully and positively human. One of my best friends reminded me one day that, “Even when no one sees what you’re doing, God sees you.” So I keep this one close to my heart and I am constantly reminded to be flexible in those days that feel like they’re never going to end. That it’s a selfless job most days and that we are brave and strong and ready for anything.
Take time for things you enjoy.
Get out of the house. Leave. Enjoy something that for even an hour makes you feel like the best version of yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup and you certainly will get burned out, exhausted, annoyed, and many other human emotions that come along with the job. If you have to sweat once a day, go for a run, a yoga class, or jump around in the living room during nap time. If you need pampering, grab a massage or mani/pedi because you can zen out for an hour with no kids, no laundry, no work. If you need a date, which I think so many of us are in need of more date nights, get a sitter and go!
Wear the special outfits.
I have bins upon bins of “my favorite outfits.” Little polo shirts, suspenders, a grey Janie and Jack Easter suit he wore once sit upon a shelf in his closet. I remember not having him wear certain things because I didn’t want to get them dirty or I was saving it up for a certain day. Here’s my advice: Wear the special outfits. Wear the heck out of them because babies don’t keep.
Be loud, be messy, be wild.
By 3 and a half, eating isn’t too messy anymore. Sitting in my kitchen, scrubbing yogurt off the base boards, I would be asking myself how in the world did this gloppy goo end up here? Let them be little, let them dive right in (hopefully before bath time). Have picnics in the living room, make a complete mess, do something that you’ll never forget because of how fleeting those years pass.
Let things fall into place.
There’s not an answer for everything and that’s OK. With my firstborn, I remember scouring the Internet for any and all things I could find on sleep regressions, baby rashes, colors of baby poop, and more. You realize after hours of Google searches, you’re pretty much right where you started, holding a sleepy, perhaps grumpy, baby with a mild rash that will go away in due time. When you stop searching for the answers, everything seems to fall into place. The second time around I also had an A-HA moment realizing that not every bump in the road needed an answer. We only need intuition, guided by instincts and love, and a significant amount of snuggles.
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