Being a mom is wonderful.
And exhausting. And hard. And testing. And wonderful.
A lot of the power of motherhood, of raising kind and stable children, comes from repeatedly doing the mundane things with love. It’s a lot of diaper changes, bedtime routines, and laundry. It’s never ending explanations, goodnight kisses, and stray cheerios.
And sometimes I get caught up in wishing for the next stage (like those teenage years – because at this point it is still beyond me how you could complain about your child SLEEPING TOO MUCH?? #clearlystillanewmom). And while I love watching these babies grow with each new stage, I miss too much of the quiet beauty of motherhood if I’m always focused on tomorrow, next week, or next month.
So, in honor of Mother’s Day, I’ve partnered with HALO Sleep to share some quiet moments to cherish as a young mom – the times I am sometimes tempted to rush through, or overlook for the sake of getting onto the next thing – but the moments that if I take the time to appreciate, sum up the quiet and messy beauty of young motherhood (in this house at least).
Quiet moments to cherish as a young mom:
The quiet sleepy moments before bed.
I’m so often tempted to get going on my to-do list, to embrace the freedom of a sleeping baby and rush through the final steps of bedtime. But, sometimes it is just what I need to sit in the nursery a moment longer, snuggling a sleepy babe. Even in the toddler stage those sleepy moments remind me of the baby they once were and have me wondering at what age I’ll have to give it up.
Our rocker doesn’t quite do it for Adelaide anymore; She prefers to fall asleep alone in her crib. Sometimes though, after I’ve zipper her up in her HALO SleepSack I’ll pick her up and bounce on the exercise ball in her room for a few quiet moments. I’ll recite a favorite poem in the darkness and think back to my early memories of falling asleep to my father’s voice, reciting his favorite sonnets. Sometimes I’m too tired to appreciate more than her not-so-small body close to mine but others I’ll let my mind wander back through the months and realize how far we’ve already come in ten months.
Conversations in the car.
Starting at about age two, short car rides with Lincoln have become some of my favorite. He’s strapped in with little to do but look outside and talk to me. Without all the distractions of toys and snacks (him) or phones and to-do lists (me), I have a few minutes to try and see the world through his eyes. I’ll ask him about whatever we just did, or simply about what he sees outside. I try to use open ended questions and just let him talk (and sometimes I really wish I had a recording of the ridiculous things that come out of his mouth).
Sometimes I just put on music or a podcast and take a few minutes to reset myself but I really love some of those quiet chats with just me and my toddler.
The cheerful moments when they first wakeup.
In a perfect world I would never have anything scheduled for the first 30 minutes after my babies wake up (for the day and from each nap). It is when they are so giggly and talkative (or so snuggly and quiet). I love to leave them in their cribs while I chat with them, singing as I open the curtains and turn off the noise machines.
I’ll unzip Adelaide from her HALO SleepSack and she’s happy to just roll around on the floor and babble. It’s always a series of happy and unremarkable moments that remind me why I love being her mother so much.
When your baby wants only mom.
What a wonderful thing to have a perfect tiny human love you and need you so completely. There was a night when Adelaide, my child who would prefer to fall asleep alone and be standing instead of cuddling, was very sick. She wanted nothing but to be held and would sleep only in my arms. I spent many hours that night bouncing on an exercise ball in her dark nursery. I reminded myself that “this too shall pass” and that soon enough she would be better and just as soon she’d be back to squirming and straining instead of snuggling in.
Soak up the moments when your baby wants only you. Sometimes its hard (because those moments often come accompanied by fussiness in a developmental leap or less sleep with a sickness) but remember that the hardship will pass, and so will your ability to be such a complete source of comfort.
And when your baby wants someone else.
Lincoln, now two and a half, went through a phase for a few months where he only wanted Dad. It peaked before Adelaide was born when he was about 15 months old and in some moments it was so frustrating! I remember feeling something that resembled embarrassment when my baby would writhe away from me in tears as his dad left the room and something close to rejection when his first question when I got him up each morning was “see dada?”
It would have been easy to be a little bitter but I tried to remind myself that I was grateful for a husband who was so loving and involved. I reminded myself that Lincoln still loved me. And when I was done with all that reminding I relished the freedom and embraced the little extra “me time” each night when Ben got home. What a blessing it was to have a baby who wanted someone else! I miss those guilt free months of a little extra alone time 😉
(It’s worth noting that this stage passed 🙂
Watching your baby sleep.
It’s not creepy – you GREW this tiny human. Soak up the wonder and awe (unless the baby is a newborn, than go get some sleep you crazy woman).
One of my favorite things to do is to check on each child before I climb into bed at night. When Ben’s home we’ll often go in together and just watch them quietly for a moment or two.
Excitement of giving them a gift.
When you have babies, you learn the real meaning of “giving is better than receiving.” It is so rewarding to see the wonder and excitement in your little one’s eyes as they open a gift. Whether it’s a holiday, a birthday, or a “just because” surprise, remember to take in the magic of being little.
**It’s worth noting this wonder didn’t start ’till Lincoln was at least 18 months. His first Christmas he was far more interested in the wrapping paper than any of the gifts we gave him 😛
Learning a new skill
Whether it’s something I helped my kids learn or not, watching them accomplish something new is so happy. When you can see the satisfaction and pride on their tiny faces and the wonder of accomplishment, there’s little better. Just this morning Adelaide crawled from one room to another for the first time. I had left her on the floor with a toy to go grab Lincoln out of his crib and she had started to make her way to us. The glee and satisfaction on her face as she rounded the corner through the doorway to spot us was so darling.
Whether it’s learning to crawl, clap, walk, or use a toy, soak up these little moments, or just pause for an extra second to take them in.
A lot of these are single moments to be on the look out for and treasure – they’re only runner ups because they don’t happen again and again.
The first time they say “I love you.”
The first time they say “mama” (or anytime, really).
When you introduce them to your childhood traditions or favorites (Disney classics? ice cream? Christmas cookie decorating?)
What would you add? What are your very favorite moments as a mom?