There is seriously nothing cuter than a squishy lovey newborn. That newborn smell is the best scent in the world. Or a chunky baby wobbling as they learn to sit up for the first time. Or that first big belly laugh and gummy smile! Oh my goodness I love it!
. . . But, let’s be honest, cute can only take you so far.
My youngest nursed trough the night every 1-2 hours until the month of his second birthday, when I put bandaids over my nipples and told him they were broken because I could. not. take. it. anymore. His sister up all night until he was born. Two in diapers for a year. Three five point harness car seats every time I got in and out of the car. Despite what people tell you – I didn’t enjoy every moment of those younger years – not even close – ESPECIALLY when I added the “two under two” dynamic. I was tired and stressed out and hormonal and stretched way too thin to enjoy it. That odd space of paralyzing loneliness coupled with a desire to lock myself alone in a dark closet for a week to recharge. Honestly, it was horrible many days. I was depressed, touched out and drowning with anxiety. Survival mode at its best. And I do not feel the least bit bad for not soaking it in. Was there room for improvement? Boy was there ever. But there wasn’t energy.
The baby of my crew is three now. We all sleep through the night and it. is. glorious! Like literally life changing.
Now? This phase? This phase I enjoy. Certainly not every moment – but most of them. My kids are fun, we have a two way relationship. I am remembering and relearning who I am. I am finding joy in the Pinterest-y crafts again. We can leave the house with relative ease. We can go to the beach and not worry that toddler #1 is drifting off to sea while I chase nonswimming toddler #2 (spoiler alert – I still worry about sharks/rip currents – but it’s waaaaay different). We can go to the springs, the pool, camping – and not just survive it – but ENJOY it! We play monopoly and games that actually hold my interest. When I go to their soccer games there is relative coordination and it’s fun. When my kids were little I regretted having three kids- but now that they are older I absolutely love it. Picking my daughter up from school to hear all about the “Rollie pollie patrol” drama makes me giggle in the most wonderfully nostalgic way. I really do love this season of parenting. Watching her peddle off on her bike with her neighborhood buds, oh my heart is full.
So many people tell you to enjoy it all. Tell you it just gets harder as they get older. Big kids, big problems. They would trade their big kid in for a newborn any day. I hear these things and all I can think is “oh God no!” Give me my sleep, and my independent and spirited kids with all their attitude and whining over a newborn any day of the week. That newborn phase is beautiful, do not get me wrong. It teaches you how powerful and capable you are. Cracks you wide open. But man, being cracked wide open is exhausting.
I kind of feel like I’m waking back up from a coma. Or sobering up after being continually drunk for years. You get to a point when you’re in the thick of it all that it doesn’t seem so bad, it’s just your normal and you just get it done. But then one day I realized I was doing less, needed less. I wasn’t worried about anyone chocking on a lego or not comprehending basic English. The haze lifted and I made it out alive. I will enjoy this sweet phase for however long it lasts. I know teenage years are coming down the pipe and if my kids are anything like pretty much anyone in my family I am in for one heck of a ride, and thats putting it lightly. But for now, we’re in a great place.
To the moms out there still in the thick of it grasping for air and sobbing under their bed sheets: IT GETS BETTER. There is a great big bright light at the end of the tunnel and there’s no shame in running towards the light.