So, I’ve been looking through my newsfeed at all the sweet babies my friends are having. In pondering those “golden days” of a house filled with babies and littles I can think of a few things that I totally rocked at. While, sadly, this list is short, I also think it’s powerful because if I can do these things, trust me, so can you! And don’t worry mamas of littles, I use the term “golden days” loosely, the exhaustion you are feeling is totally acknowledged. You have been peed on and pooped on and if you have toddlers you probably have wrangled a child into an outfit that they DID NOT WANT TO WEAR today. Duly noted. Now sit back and have a read, because you have the skill set to accomplish everything on this list, no sweat. I promise.
3 Skills I Used To Rock Mothering My Babies (that you can do too)
1. Sitting. This one is no surprise. I am a spectacular sitter and I sat a lot with all my babies. While this might at first glance seem lazy, it is absolutely an essential component of being an excellent parent to babies. Here’s why. When you are sitting still you are your child’s captive audience. Have a baby? Watch it sleep, rock it endlessly, breathe it’s smell, take a drooly nap on it’s soft head (see below). All of these things are awesome ways of memorizing your baby and soaking in this time, that is much too fleeting. And, if you have more kids, they can help you sit. Those now gigantic looking 2-year-olds had plenty of mom time when you sat staring at them (and now when you are running around after them), so let them have some time to learn the fine art of entertaining themselves. Teaching 2-year-old Ellie to work the VCR (yup, a VCR. I may not be young) was one of my most brilliant parenting moves. And, as I had more kids, sitting, holding, loving on and staring at my babies far outweighed the little bit of extra movie time the bigger kids had. As they got older they could do more on their own, so the VCR didn’t have to work quite so hard. And they could also get me stuff so I could sit even more, they even liked to get credit for being helpers. Score!
These are literally the only 2 pictures I could find of just me holding my kids. Good grief, apparently my super sitting powers were not deemed photo worthy. Take my advice, make people take pictures of you holding your kids. I could wallpaper my house with the pictures I found of Todd and our family holding these kiddos, but me? I get these three gems.
2. Talking Again, for me no surprise. But if you aren’t naturally a talker may I recommend trying your hand at becoming one? In those early days of motherhood, suddenly finding myself all alone for hours with this small bit of love that I was in total charge of often meant I was at loose ends. I was lucky to have a support group, but part of that group was a result of actually forcing myself to leave the house and head out into the world (shout out to you playgroup friends).
If you can, find a few of the following types to talk (and listen) to and you will be in business:
Talk to experienced moms who have been there and done that, who will reassure you that this too will pass and that eventually your baby will be 14 and will sleep all the time. They will be the ones to take that child from your lap when you are so over sitting and cuddle it like it is their own, as they wax nostalgic about the days when their kids were little. They have all the tricks for feeding and diapering and teething (they may even rub brandy on your sweet babies gums and you will let them because they are old and you are tired and darn it if it doesn’t work). They will also be the ones to tell you to cherish the moments…bless you both.
Talk to other new moms that will understand why you are weighing your child, feeding it, and then weighing it again to find out how many ounces of breast milk your baby ate so you can write it on their feeding chart (they will encourage rather than scoff at this behavior and for this you are forever in their debt, they will also endlessly help you analyze your baby’s poop color). These moms will also be willing to endlessly compare notes about making baby food or will take a music class with you and your baby. and other littles All your babies sleep through it and your bigs will run around not listening to a thing that is going on, but all of you will still feel like you are totally being cool, great moms.
Talk to working moms and stay-at-home moms, because no matter what end of that equation you are on, if you can see both sides you will learn that the struggle is real for everyone. Those experiencing your same trials and tribulations will give you the “I hear you sister!” and those experiencing the opposite can offer you another perspective that will either bless or inspire you.
Talk to your husband or significant other. Chances are you have FEELINGS and he has FEELINGS and sometimes (shockingly) the feelings are not the same. There is nothing worse than realizing you have been harboring resentment all on your own for having to do all the diaper changing on a given night when he is oblivious and well rested and when you haven’t asked him to do a thing (and no maybe you shouldn’t have to ask, but do it anyway because life is too short to wait for the poor guy to turn into a mind reader). Talking is a must here, even if you are almost too tired to form words. Just muster up the energy to whisper “Help me” and toss him a baby. He’ll put two and two together.
Talk to people that are not moms to remind you that, yup, there is a world still happening that doesn’t revolve around sleep schedules. You can indeed still function in this world with the few brain cells that have survived total sleep deprivation. These people will pull you out and remind you that you still have something to offer the world other than your supreme baby swaddling skills.
No matter how these people are connected to you, you need to find those that you can talk to honestly and who will help you feel less alone. I was and am blessed with good people and it has made all the difference.
This one is counter-intuitive to the idea of sitting, but trust me when I tell you that leaving can offer you a healthy dose of perspective. You may have this built-in as part of your routine of working outside the home, and if you do you may struggle with giving yourself permission to leave any other time. Trust me, you still need to go and be a free grown up every now and then. At first, babies are REALLY hard to leave. I preferred to use my sitting talent and just stare at these little bits of perfection. Or my little bits of perfection were screaming and wouldn’t stop and I felt terrible asking anyone else to deal with the madness. But leaving was important. It helped me to remember that even though I was thrilled with becoming “mommy” I was still more than this title. Leaving also gave this whole club of people that had also fallen in love with my babies some time to be the go to grown up and give them love.
Moms of littles everywhere rejoice, you have all the skills you need at your fingertips, and you too can rock this mothering a baby gig! Please note the disclaimer that nothing on my list will result in a clean house, organized cupboards or a Pinterest perfect playroom. Instead, you have permission to bolt into the Motherhood Hall of Fame while safely trapped under a sleeping baby on the couch. Trust me, the laundry can wait.