Yesterday, I watched with tears in my eyes as my first born walked proudly across the stage and graduated from kindergarten. She looked so confident, beautiful and independent, and I couldn’t help but think, where has the time gone? I love watching her grow and flourish, but I can’t help but miss my tiny girl who needed her mommy for everything! I know everyone will tell you “It goes so fast”, and believe me, it does, but there are also a few things I want to share with new moms that might hopefully help you savor these precious years.
One: Throw out the books
Before Emmie was born, I read several different books on keeping babies on schedules, how to sleep train them, best ways to feed them, etc. While I thought I was being prepared, these books were actually setting me up to feel like a failure. I felt like if my daughter wasn’t napping two solid naps a day by 3 months I was doing something wrong. Turns out, that is not the case.
Emmie took 30-minute naps like a champ until she was 7 months old, and then one day for no apparent reason, she started napping. It just clicked. But you know what I did the first 7 months? I tried letting her cry, putting her in a swing, walking back in for hours to sooth her, and I was going insane. I wish I would of just accepted it, and worked my day around it and enjoyed it more. Your baby will do this on his or her own time.
Use the books as a reference, but don’t sweat the schedules. Eventually, one will fall into place as they get old but honestly, the first year is chaotic and full of change so just try and survive the ride! The less stressed you are the happier mommy you will be!
Two: Write it all down
I know I have loved her every minute of her life, and have enjoyed both the highs and lows, but it is honestly so hard to remember the details of the early years as we keep creating more and more memories. It is so hard for me to recall not only the main milestones (when she tried food for the first time, when she took her first step, etc.), but also the tiny details of our days that made me smile (dance parties, her laughing at bubbles, etc.). It is so sad to say but the first few years of her life have blurred together for me, and I wish I could remember more exact moments.
My advice: write it down! There are so many tools out there now to help you do it. For the first two years of my kids life, I used a sticker calendar, like this one here. This is great because I could write down a detail or event from each day in a small space, or put a sticker on a date for a milestone. It doesn’t require a lot of time yet I now have a good snapshot of their first life.
When Emmie turned three, I started a journal. They do SO many cute things at this age (its before they know they are cute!) and say the funniest things, so I wanted a way to remember the time she screamed “Panties” at Target really loudly while wearing them on her head. I would start a new page for each month, and then write down the quote or story underneath the month. I kept it at my bedside table and would pull out once a week before I went to bed. Again, little effort but something I hold dear to me now, and still continue to journal in.
For a real simple solution on how to chronicle your kids days, Qeepsake makes is super convenient for you by texting you questions to your phone. You can choose how often you receive questions based on your plan (daily, once a week, etc.), and it also gives you the option to enter in your own stories. You text back your reply and they store them for you. I started using this a year ago and love how easy it is as I can answer anywhere!
Whatever method you choose, just make sure you write down those moments, because sadly enough, it will be hard to remember most of them!
Three: Take all the cuddles you can get
Your babies will soon no longer be babies, so trust me, love on them as much as possible. If you baby falls asleep on you but they dishes are unloaded, forget it! It is DISHES! You will only have this tiny baby for so long – try to enjoy it. What a wouldn’t give for a tiny tree frog nap from my little babies right now 🙂
This also goes for when they are older! A lot of parents don’t like to share their bed, which is totally fine, but I am all for it! At some point, my kids won’t want to sleep or cuddle with me, so I am going to take it now while I can get it! About twice to three times a week, both Easton and Emmie sleep in our bed with us, and I absolutely love and look forward to it! I love knowing they are next to me, and it is the best waking up to their smiles.
However you hold onto them, just make sure you do!
Four: Find your own hobby
My kids are my world, and I spend most of my day making sure theirs is happy and healthy. But, everyone needs a break. Find the thing that lets your mind get a break from thinking about kids and lets you feel like you again. I have two: the gym and my work.
I go to the gym three times a week because one, it has free childcare and two, it is me time where I can focus on myself, listen to my music and watch my shows. It is that little time of day where it is about me, and I love it! Plus, working out gets me motivated and re-energized to come back to my kids a happier mommy. Even if you aren’t hard core at fitness, just go so you can have an hour to yourself where you walk the treadmill and get a break.
When Emmie turned 2 and things started to get easier, I wanted something else to focus my attention on and started my party decor company, Undercover Hostess. While it has sucked up more time than I would have liked over the years, I have enjoyed focusing, developing and growing another passion of mine, as well as using my brain again!
Whatever you enjoy, just make sure you carve our some you time too!
Five: Step away from the phone
I struggle with this one myself, but I make it a personal goal to limit the time I am on the phone everyday. Don’t get me wrong, I am human, so I am of course on it several times a day either checking email, updating social media, Snap-chatting with the kids or talking to family, but I try and make it a reasonable amount of time for two main reasons:
One: Enjoy the moment. As every parent will tell you till your sick of hearing it, “It goes by so fast”…. but it truly does! I want to be there for the everyday moments, to enjoy their faces, energy and laughter, rather than picking up my phone every 5 minutes for a reason that isn’t important. I am not that far away from having all the time during the day when both my kids are at school, so right now, I want to focus on my time with them before it is gone.
Two: I know it might be crazy but the last thing I want is my kids to remember me looking at a phone, versus looking at them. I absolutely look at my phone during the day, but what I mean by this is I limit my time and also, I try and be clever when I am on it. I normally do my screen time while they are preoccupied during their TV show time, during nap/rest time or waiting for a dance class to be over. There are times I am on it while they are playing, but I try to let that not be the norm.
I love my phone, and am not sure how I would manage without it, but I just readjusted how much I am on it during the day when I refocused on what really is important in my life.
Bottom line to this whole post – just try to enjoy your kids! Don’t stress over books, what other moms do, what you think you should do, and just be you! Days will be hard but they get easier as they get older. Try to hold onto these early years full of innocence, laughter and cuddles, because you will blink, and your baby will be graduating kindergarten.