As I get ready for our second baby, I’ve been thinking back to some of the advice I was given as a first time mom.
If you are a mom, you know how it goes. We all want to help each other out so we give advice about clothing, feeding, diapering …. you name it, somebody’s got advice to give!
As I heard all of this advice from veteran moms, I knew that some of it would be applicable, but most all of it I would have to figure out on my own.
However there were two pieces of advice that I tucked in my memory.
The first was given to me by a co-worker and friend. She said, “Enjoy each stage your child is in rather than wishing for the next stage to come.”
I’ve remembered that simple but important advice over the past 3 years. Although some times I do a better job at this than others.
Let’s face it, some seasons are really, really difficult. I remember almost going in sane when my son was a newborn, and I was in tremendous pain from nursing and living off only a few hours of sleep.
Now that he is a toddler, there are other discouraging things about his current stage.
So how do you enjoy each stage when it is hard and frustrating?
You focus on the good.
Sometimes it is easier and other times it is harder. But there is always something good in every stage. Some stages require extra digging for the good, but it is there if you purposefully seek it!
This leads me to the next best mom advice that I was given right after I became a mom.
After I delivered my son, there was a whirlwind of activity. I was not prepared for it, especially as an introvert who needs her space to think and breath. Ha!
After all of the commotion, my nurse got me settled into my hospital room and helped me start skin-to-skin with my newborn (something I really wanted to do), when family came to help us welcome our new little one.
I was excited to share our son with them, but I also wanted to soak up those first few moments with my newborn. I thought about passing him along to be held by others, when my nurse said, “You won’t ever get this time back.”
Her words hit me, and I decided that was absolutely true! So I chose to hold on to our two hours old baby, and I’m so thankful I did. I have remembered this advice throughout the last three years.
Instead of rushing and looking forward to what’s next, I try my best to enjoy the time with my son that I will never get again.
We moms are trained to constantly be looking for the next milestone our children should be reaching.
When I am out in public or meet someone new, the first question I get is, “How old is your son?”
Followed by, “Has he started ___________?” (rolling, walking, talking, potty training, ect.)
Usually my son hasn’t reached whatever milestone is in question. So the next question I get is, “Well have you tried this or that?”
The truth is I haven’t pushed my son to reach certain milestones in his three short years. There’s no rush to get to “the next big thing.”
I think mothers often think they are doing a good job if they push their child to the next milestone early. But in all that time spent reaching the next phase, are they missing out on the little moments in the present?
I hope not.
I don’t want to look back on my time as a mom and regret the time I spent preparing for the future that I miss the every day moments.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it is important to teach our children. There are certain habits and things that I teach my son everyday, but I’ve decided that I’m not going to worry about him not picking up things right away. Nor am I going to wish for next year to get here too fast.
One book that I just finished reading is Hands Free Life* by Rachel Macy Stafford. She talks about living in the present and soaking up the little moments with your family, kids especially.
It was a real tear jerker for me, but also a great reminder to make the little moments count.
When I look back on my childhood, those simple one-on-one interactions with my parents are what stand out, and I want to make those most of those moments with my kids.
None of us are promised tomorrow.
I don’t want to look back on my life and wish that I could get time back with my son. I want to make the best use of my time now.
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