The little kid days are so long. And one day, the years will be gone.
Scroll to the bottom of this post to watch a Facebook Live where I share how tough those years were for me, and some nuggets of encouragement I know you need.
Dear Moms of Littles,
This won’t last forever. The chapter will end. The fat lady will sing. It will be over. Forever.
The diapers, the blowouts, the messes, the spit up.
Yeah, I totally might have just written that last line so I could share this photo that I texted my best friend, but other than that, has never seen the light of day since 2014.
This demoralizing, frustrating, exhausting, disgusting moment was 7 years ago.
This child is now 8.
He used to need me for every single thing.
Today, I said good morning and goodbye to him before school and he did everything else himself. I won’t see him again for 6 hours. He will probably be in a bad mood when he gets home. He doesn’t need me.
Mama, this season of babies and toddler will end.
I wanted to write this letter to you for two reasons.
First, to give you hope.
The baby days are not forever.
It feels like they are. They are not.
This time will end. Right now, you’re in the thick of it, and you can’t even wish for it or entertain the thought.
But time rolls on. And this time will be over.
I see you.
Strangers tell you ‘you’ll miss this’ and ‘the days are long but the years are short.’ And you internally roll your eyes as you hoist your screaming baby on your hip and chase your toddler into the women’s swimsuit section at Target.
Yeah, but I bet you slept a solid 6 last night and didn’t clean up 3 types of feces in your house before 7am, you’ll muse.
I’ve written whole posts on this annoying phenomenon. How people who don’t have little kids anymore somehow have amnesia about how much work it is.
And how soul-crushing it can feel sometimes.
I get it.
You may believe there will never be a day that you won’t have carseats in your car, and that you will never not own a stroller (or 5). It’s hard to imagine ever getting onto an airplane again, let alone enjoying a quiet car ride.
Or a quiet morning anywhere.
Even in your own living room.
Basic trips out of the house are stressful and loud and chaotic. There is no order. The kids are little maniacs, even in their best moments. They are unpredictable and destructive. They are tired and hungry all the time.
I get it.
Here’s the truth.
The days are long, but one day, the years will be gone.
The kids grow up.
It sounds blissful and freeing, and oh girl, it really is.
But you’ll miss the baby cuddles. You’ll miss the warmth and weight of their sweet bodies after their afternoon nap. You miss the ‘Mommy, come play with me’s’ and the ‘Mommy, I’m scared; come lay with me’s.’
When you have little children you are the most loved you will ever be in your life.
You, Mom of Littles, YOU ARE IT.
You can do no wrong. You are everything to them. You are a place of security that satisfies their every need. You are valuable and powerful.
You are wholly and fully LOVED.
Then, they will grow up.
They will realize you do make mistakes. That you aren’t perfect anymore. They will talk back. They will challenge you. They will not come to you with every need. They can do things themselves now. They can tie their shoes and make their breakfast and fix the chain on their bikes.
And it’s so beautiful.
That’s the second part.
When the baby years are gone, the exciting, freeing, rested chapter of your life begins.
First and foremost, you will actually get sleep!
For 8 years, we were the house that was up at 4:50am. Daily. Every single day. I don’t understand why, and never will. This past summer, one morning, they all slept until 8:30am. When they woke up, they got themselves breakfast and turned on the TV by themselves.
Mama, you will sleep again. It will happen.
You also get to give your kids more freedom, and it feels so rewarding. You don’t have to watch their every move at every second.
A couple months ago, I let my oldest 2 boys bike to the park on their own for the first time ever. Yes, I let my children out of my sight for 45 minutes and they were loose in the neighborhood with zero parental supervision.
It was such a big day for them. It was such a big day for me. The whole house felt lighter that day. It was exciting and freeing. My kids felt the proud weight of the privilege they had been granted, and for the rest of that day, their behavior and attitudes were noticeably elevated.
They rose to the occasion.
They felt special to be entrusted with such a freedom.
The next week, they did a lemonade stand around the corner with their friend.
I am letting them grow. I am giving them freedom. They are loving it.
And so am I.
And so, my sweet Mom of Littles, I know the work right now is back-breaking, soul-sucking and downright exhausting.
No one thanks you but everyone loves you.
You are the most cherished person in the entire world.
It will end. They will grow up. They will become very very good people (even if it doesn’t feel like it right now).
The work you are doing matters.
And one day, I promise, you will get to sleep again.
A Mom of Olders
I hope this encouraged you! Every stage of raising kids is hard and amazing in its own way, but if you’re not loving the little kid years, you’re not crazy. The next step is so fun. Just hang on. You’ll make it.