I know. I know your baby kept you up half the night. I know she wanted either a snack or a snuggle every two hours. I know your toddlers fought all day. I know it seems that you are constantly disciplining and not only do you constantly doubt that you are disciplining the "right way" but it seems that nothing you do or say seems to impact them anyways. I know the munchkins destroyed the house and you picked it up 9 times. I know they cried when they didn't get their way. I know you did 5 loads of laundry, cleaned the toilet, and made dinner all while your children were ungrateful and wanted you to do more (like play with them...who has time for that?!). I know you have either been home alone all day with them and feel like you may go insane for lack of adult interaction or you have worked at a stressful job all day only to come home to more work on the home front. I know it seems like you are constantly wiping either a bottom or a nose. I know your children decide to fight and scream and desperately "NEED" you every time you are on the phone. I know your baby wants you to hold her just when you are trying to get something done. I know you always have to be watching to make sure she doesn't play in the dog food or put a Lego in her mouth. You are always on guard. I know sometimes your sweet little ones won't nap and don't allow you to get anything done. I know sometimes you feel like you live in a tiny little kingdom controlled by an army that you made yourself! I know. I've been there. I'm there.
These days are tiring, but I am choosing not to let the difficulty of these days take away from their sweetness. Babies are only little for a while.
I remember when we brought our first child home and I felt like I could get nothing done. I was always looking for ways to get him to sleep longer or play on his own longer. Now, four years later, I look at him and wonder where time went? I thought those sleepless nights and busy days would last forever. And yet somehow he's so independent, so grown up. He sleeps soundlessly through the night and plays on his own during the day. He doesn't need me as much as he used to.
Tired Mama, let them be little. Because they're only that way for a while. In the blink of an eye they grow up. My oldest is only four and I know he has SOOO much more growing up to do. But I can already look back and realize that these years FLY by.
With my second I held her a little more. I cherished her sweet "babyness" a little more. I tried not to let the days slip by so fast. I rocked her a little longer at bed time. I told her I loved her a little more often.
With my third, now 5 months old, I admit that I let her sleep with me often at night. Sometimes, I just can't bare to put her back in her bed. I take pictures of her sweet face sleeping on my chest. I trace her face with my finger, trying to memorize it's baby softness. I start to cry if I think about her big siblings and how fast they have grown up, knowing she is doing the same thing.
Try and enjoy these days, Tired Mama. They will be gone before you know it. Kiss those sweet babies more often. Hold them a little longer at bed time. Don't yell when they get out of bed for "a drink of water" and then "they have to go pee pee" and then "they need a snack." They just love you so much they can't bare to part with you at bed time. When your baby wants you to hold her constantly, strap on a baby carrier and go about your day. There will come a day when your "baby" doesn't even want you to drop them off closer than one block away from school, let alone hold her all day! When she wakes up at night, of course there is nothing wrong with sleep training, but remember also to cherish those sweet times with just the two of you. Your baby will eventually sleep through the night.
There is scarcely anything more important in your life right now than raising your children. Your job IS incredible. You ARE making a difference in the lives of your children and impacting future generations to come. Be encouraged. Take heart. These days are long and tiring now but they won't be forever. Make the most of your time with your children now because you can never ever EVER get these days back.
Some day you will look back on your life and evaluate it. I don't know about you, but I don't think I'm going to say, "I wish I had held my children less, made them grow up faster, and spent more time wishing away their childhood so that life could get easier."
Go kiss your babies right now. Love on them. Enjoy them. Try not to stress so much over the little things. Try not to blow up when the days don't go like you had planned. This is a season of life that will soon pass. Enjoy it while you can.
A Tired Mama
"So let them be little 'cause they're only that way for a while
Give them hope, give them praise, give them love every day
Let them cry, let them giggle, let them sleep in the middle
Oh just let them be little"
-Let Them be Little by Billy Dean (redone by Lonestar)