Motherhood can be the most challenging experience of your life. On any given day, it's pretty normal to feel like it takes everything not to run the other way. We are sleep deprived, spit-up and drooled on, yelled at, and touched out thanks to our beloved offspring. It’s no wonder there are so many memes showing moms wanting to flee to the closest bottle of wine (or in certain states, weed). Still, those early years are precious and there are so many things that moms take for granted that we should totally cherish, instead.
Of course, when you first become a parent it’s hard to even realize that you're taking certain things (or anything) for granted. One minute you’re crying happy tears because you'er so completely in love you with your baby, and the next you are planning your escape to a distant country most people can't find on a map because teething is the worst. In the end, the old cliche is true: they really do grow up fast. Of course, this doesn't mean you need to love every single moment as a mom (because not every moment as a mom is enjoyable) but, every once in a while, it really is worth stopping and appreciating what you have, and why you made the life choice to have it.
Once your kid turns one, and then two and then thirteen, you begin to realize that you wish you could just hold that little bundle of joy again. So, in case you need a reminder about all those things you should be taking the time to appreciate (especially about the babies because can we please talk about babies?!), read this list:
The Absurd Softness Of Newborn Skin...
You might have enjoyed caressing your newborn’s skin, but chances are you will never appreciate it more than once they’ve grown out of that phase. So, if you have another baby, you may end up snuggling them just a little bit more. Newborn babies are seriously the softest ever.
...And The Highly Intoxicating Newborn Smell
Teensy babies smell delicious (and there’s scientific reasons behind it). I still smell my toddler’s head and, while it's still the best smell ever, I realize that it’s not the same and I know I totally took that for granted.
The Sound Of Baby Coos
Sure, sometimes moms just want a bit of silence. Of course, in those early months, you don’t always realize they’re going to be talking before you know it. When those toddler words start flying, you'll yearn for the days they made those cute little sounds.
The Way Babies Are So Easily Entertained
This spans a few years (though their attention span decreases with age), but little ones are fascinated as hell by the smallest of things. I remember when a toilet paper roll was seriously exciting for my son, and when he was in love with empty water bottles for quite some time (he couldn’t care less now). Enjoy those moments because they don’t last (and that’s why everyone eventually gives in to iPads).
The Way Their Tiny Hands Grip Your Finger
It’s one of those memories you really need to emblazon into your brain. Babies have this super-human grip and they always end up finding one of your fingers to latch on to. It’s the most comforting feeling.
Peek-a-boo is fun the first few times. Of course, there are the days when you definitely won’t be feeling it. Hell, you might even blow up and ask your kid to simply leave you alone, instead of asking you to play another peek-a-boo game for the fifteenth time in the span of ten freakin' minutes. Try not to, though, because this phase doesn't last that long. When it eventually ends, you’ll never have someone so into such a simple game (and want to play such a simple game with you) again.
Cuddly Naps With Your Kid
Alright, so co-sleeping can be a pain in the butt sometimes, but holding your little one as you fall into a deep (and definitely well-earned) slumber is one of the greatest feelings in the world. Even if you don’t regularly co-sleep, chances are you’ve at least napped with your kid a few times. Do this more often because you will certainly miss it later on.
Bathing Your Little One
Sure, it becomes kind of a regular thing in the household. Put the kid in the tub, or bring them into your shower, and get clean as quickly as possible and with without making a gigantic mess. Cleaning your kid isn't really that "special," past the first few times you do it, when they’re newborns. Still, don’t take these fun memories of bubbles and rubber duckies for granted. It’s the most (clean) fun you’ll ever have in your bathroom.
Watching Cartoons With Someone Who Loves Them More Than You Do
No matter what your policy is on screen time for kids, at some point you will watch cartoons together. Sure, you’ll enjoy it at first, and then you'll inevitably get sick of the sound of Caillou or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and you’ll curse the day you ever decided to become a parent. Don’t gloss over this time, though, because eventually your kid will be older and watching those weird Disney shows where the tweens are all rich and there are no parents and you’ll regret having taken all those kid shows for granted.
Bedtime Routines Filled With Books And Singing Lullabies
Yes, you can technically read children’s books and listen to kid songs as an adult without kids around, but there’s something magical about narrating Goodnight Moon or singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Sometimes you might not be in the mood and you’ll speed through this process just to get them into bed, but try not to make that a regular thing. Relish this bit of quiet time as your child’s imagination grows with every story, and as they slumber away at the end of those songs. Save for giving a TED Talk, you’ll never have a more captive audience.
Trips To The Playground And Other Kid-Only Spaces
Swings. Slides. Sand. Who doesn’t love hitting the playground? While it was OK to do it when you were a kid (and maybe occasionally when no kids were around as a young adult), once you hit a certain age, folks will eye you strangely if they see you there. But having kids allows you the freedom to be a kid again. Some folks hate taking their kids to the playground (or other kid spaces) but don’t let laziness or bad moods cloud these special moments, cause eventually you’ll go back to being blacklisted.
Being Able To Solve Your Child’s Minor Problems Easily
In a short amount of time, all parents become expert problem solvers, at least for their kids. Save for serious medical problems, most of your child’s problems can be fixed with a Ninja Turtles band-aid or a silly song or a kiss on the booboo or a new toy distraction. As they get older, and encounter things like bullies and broken hearts, helping your child gets to be much more difficult.
Kind And Willing Babysitters
Some of us are fortunate enough to have sitters that are loving and trusting family members or friends; people that would watch our kids willingly, and often for free. Hell, some of us even live with a parent who will babysit at the drop of a hat. Don’t take that for granted because some folks would kill for a few hours off of parenting and "adulting," (and eventually your kids hit the age where no one wants to watch them).
Those Pre-Toddler Months When Your Child Can Sit Quietly In Public Places
Had I known how loud and wild my toddler would become, I would have taken him out in public way more often when he was younger. Babies (while requiring diapers, bibs, toys, and other accessories on outings) are so easy to take on trips. They lay happily in their cribs. They sleep through anything in their strollers. They can’t really walk yet so they won’t wander far. Toddlers, though? Well, it’s not a walk in the park taking them anywhere. Maybe I’m taking this time for granted, but I’m trying not to. I’m still taking him on trips, because I know eventually he might rather go hang out with friends than go to the beach with mommy.
All The Unconditional Love
Young children have so much love to give. They have yet to hit the age of teen angst and rebellion, so instead they simply blow kisses and giggle at bubbles and let you kiss their little hands and feet. We all get overwhelmed as parents, and sometimes we don’t pause to pay attention to just how lucky we are. Just like you’ll never love anyone the way you love your child, you’ll never have someone love you the way your child does, and you’ll never feel it more than you do during those first few years.