Saturday, January 21, 2017

A Mama Flashback

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”
Ecclesiastes 3:1 NIV

On Wednesday I had lunch with some gals from Bible study. The entire group consisted of all new mamas of kids 1.5 years old and younger. I was the only one there without a baby or toddler in tow. Here are some thoughts I wrote down after our lunch:

Today was like being in a flashback. It felt so familiar and foreign at the same time.

I vividly remember the days of high chairs, bibs, finger foods and having to leave because of nap time meltdowns. It seems like yesterday. And yet, here I am, years later with two big kids in school. It feels like I blinked.

Although I love this season of my life and my kids’ lives, I felt really nostalgic today.

I remembered all the times people said, “Enjoy it now, it goes by so fast.” It felt so true and false at the same time. The months and years with babies seemed to fly by, but the days were so very very long and lonely at times. They were hard in ways I hadn’t known before that made me sometimes doubt that I could do this mothering thing. (Actually, I still sometimes have those days, it’s just a different set of challenges with big kids.)

Here’s what my heart wanted to tell my new mama friends today:

It’s so true, girls. The days with your babies are long, but the years are short. Don’t be so busy looking ahead to the next milestone that you miss today. Your babies won’t always be babies. Trust me, you will miss these sweet days.

You will eventually stop nursing and worrying about pumping and feeding times. Your baby will eventually sleep through the night and you will feel like a new woman! It might not seem possible now, but it’s coming.

But just when you feel like you’re getting the hang of things, things will change. This will continue throughout your motherhood journey. Before you know it, your baby will be walking, talking and running.

That toddler you’re chasing will eventually learn to use her words and use the toilet. I can’t guarantee when that will happen, but all kids eventually come around. While today you long for intellectual conversation at home all day with only your kids to talk to, someday you'll be having such conversations with them.

Before you know it, those toddlers will go to preschool. That year or two will be fun, but will usher in lots of new changes for them and for you.

You’ll cry your eyes out when you take your baby to kindergarten. (And you’ll probably do a happy dance too.)

Trust me, you will miss these days.

You might be wondering how because you’re barely surviving sometimes, but I promise you the day will come when you see moms where you are now and wish you could rewind the clock.

In the meantime, keep mothering together. Ask each other for help. You need each other! We were made for community and it truly does take a village to raise a child. Watch each other’s kids so you can take a breather. Learn to celebrate your unique differences in how you raise your families. There’s no one-size fits all recipe to parenting, so support and celebrate each other in your similarities and your differences.

Take lots of pictures so you can document these fleeting days. (And then, actually do something with your pictures. It’s so easy to get behind if you don’t create a system. I know from experience!)

Once in a while, make sure you throw out your to-do list, stay in your jammies, snuggle up with those babies and play with them on the floor. Take a nap together. Let them determine the agenda for the day. Enjoy playing with them. Try to make sure you do this occasionally even as your kids get older. Make sure they have memories to tuck away when you spent time having fun with them. The dishes and laundry will always be there, but babies grow up.

Although you will miss these days, good times are ahead. (It’s fun to do things with big kids that babies can’t do.) Each season is special in its own way. So cherish every one while you’re in it because things are changing all the time.

I bet you’ll look back with fondness on this sweet yet challenging season of your journey just like I did today. Thanks for taking me down memory lane and reminding me about the special days I shared with my babies.

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