As all parents know, your children's milestones are an amazing and exciting thing. But if you've experienced
certain milestones, you'll know that there are some milestones your kid is ready for, but you definitely aren't. Milestones such as moving to a big-kid bed, getting rid of diapers (the accidents, oh, the accidents), and more can be a little fraught with anxiety. For some parents, it's the adorable little quirks that we miss the most — like how they mispronounce words or when they no longer need you to come fight the monsters hiding in their closets at night.
Hopefully, all kids hit these milestones and more one day, but when it happens when you least expect it, it can be quite shocking and throw you for a loop. Thankfully, my child will be sleeping in his crib until he goes to college, so I won't have to worry about him escaping his room and destroying the house. Obviously that's going to happen. Right?
Just remember, as stressful as these milestones can be for you, they mean the world to your kid. And almost all neurotypical children go through the same ones before they head off to elementary school. You're not alone. But it's totally OK to shed a tear when your child decides they no longer want snuggles or to be rocked at night — no matter how much sleep you're getting now — or if they suddenly start pronouncing words correctly. It can even be an emotional moment the first time they poop on the floor sans diaper — though you may be shedding a tear for a different reason.
1 Overnight Visits
"For us, it was overnight visits," says Jennifer K. "
was the one having separation anxiety and worrying over everything. My son practically pushed us out the door and has even asked us to leave when he goes to visit his grandparents!" I
This freedom can be so, so, sweet, but also extremely anxiety-inducing. We can't win, y'all.
2 Dropping A Nap
When people would tell me to sleep when the baby slept, I always scoffed and laughed internally. Yeah, so should I clean my house when the baby cleans the house and do laundry when the baby does laundry, too? Nap time is my time to get stuff done, including house chores and my career work. Mom Caroline tells Romper, "Personally I wasn’t ready for my daughter to drop to one nap. I needed my two breaks a day! But she was just sitting in her crib talking to herself in the dark so I knew it had to happen. I shudder to think of the day she drops naps completely."
Me, too, Caroline. Me, too.
3 Transitioning From Bed Sharing
Mom Tiffany bed shared with her daughter for several years, and she just wasn't ready to give it up. "When we moved into our new house, we got her a bunk bed. She was so excited to sleep in her own room — but I wasn’t," Tiffany says. "She was on the second floor on the other side of the house and my mom anxiety just knew something bad was going to happen. FYI, nothing bad happened. I sleep so much better now."
4 Ownership & Responsibility With Chores
While this milestone definitely has its own perks, it can also be daunting.
"I taught my child how to make eggs and waffles and cook general stuff just recently," Natalia tells Romper. "And now she makes my husband and I breakfast in bed on weekends."
I mean, this sounds like a win, but Natalia adds, "She is 9 and an only child and I’m just not ready. Is it weird that I miss her waking us up so we can help her with breakfast? But some weekends I’m like, girl, thank you for these waffles and eggs. I just wasn’t ready."
5 Transitioning From Bassinet to Crib
Hannah wasn't ready for her daughter to transition from her bassinet to her crib. "Even though my daughter was ready and old enough, I definitely wasn't ready for her to move to her own crib in her own room," she tells Romper. "I still miss rolling over every night and having her right there."
"All of my kids went into their crib at 6 weeks old and slept much better without me than in my room in the bassinet," says mom Jennie. "I most certainly was not ready for that transition, but they were so restless all night, I knew it was time."
6 Dressing Themselves, Style Autonomy, & Growing Out Of Clothing
This can be a little too much of a good thing, y'all. "My little one at 2 started dressing herself and picking her own outfits out," says DeAri. "Low and behold, she is almost 5 now and if I lay her out something to wear, she will come out wearing something else. I'm like wow, I only had really one year of dressing her and its over."
Wendy agrees, adding that she wasn't ready for her child's style autonomy. "An odd thing I know, because of course I’m very encouraging of this and advocate for it constantly, but that also means ponytail holders come right out of careful styling and old T-shirts with clashing leggings are of the moment with no questions allowed. Sometimes it works, and I think she’s a genius in fashion, other times I chase after her with a comb."
And then there's the whole "growing" thing kids love to do. "Every time my oldest grew out of some size of clothing for the first few years of her life, I'd choke back tears while weeding out her old clothes thinking of how time was just slipping by," Laura tells Romper.
7 Sending Them Off To Day Care/Preschool
"This hasn’t happened yet because of COVID, me being pregnant, and other factors, but I’m not ready for my daughter to go to school without me," says Kathryn. "As a preschool teacher, I was able to bring her in class with me last year and that was lovely. Next fall, we are planning to enroll her in school without me for the first time. I know she’ll love it, but I am so not ready to spend less time with her and to miss out on so many moments I know her teachers and classmates will share with her."
8 Leaving An Older Child Home Alone For Short Periods Of Time
"We have started leaving my oldest home alone for short periods of time. I have let him stay home when I take his little brother to tennis lessons, and taking his other brother to or from a friend's house, or so I can go for a walk," mom Lisa says. "I’ve never left the neighborhood or for more than 20 minutes, but it’s a big deal to him. He feels so grown and independent. It’s terrifying to me, but it’s part of letting them grow."
9 Weaning From Nursing
"Something that I can’t wait to end, but want to last forever, is nursing. I feel immense joy when I nurse, but I’m also constantly exhausted and am not able to accept as much help as I would if we switched to formula," says mom Frankie.
And Mary wasn't ready to stop nursing her oldest child so abruptly. "I didn't really try to wean her; my supply dried up when she was 11 months because I was pregnant with our second. I was giving her bottles during the day, but at night I'd let her nurse for comfort if she still wanted. One night, I don't think she got any milk at all. That was the last night she woke up regularly. She would wake on occasion from a nightmare, but she never asked for milk again. I wasn't ready."
10 Their Language Development
"I miss the toddler language sprinkled with incorrect grammar, Ws for Rs, and all verbs — irregular or not — conjugated with 'ed' at the end. My daughter would say, 'I wunned outside' a lot," Frankie says. "My oldest has started saying phrases that make her sound more like a 13-year-old and make me miss her wide-eyed toddler years. We still have two under the age of 4, but it won’t be long before they outgrow this stage, too."
Rebecca agrees. "It breaks my heart when they start saying words correctly. My son called grasshoppers 'grasspoppers,' and I couldn’t bring myself to correct him. My daughter called my best friend 'Mrs. Embily' forever. Now with speech, she started calling her 'Mrs. Emily.' I know it’s a natural progression, but it’s still a punch in your mama heart when it happens."
11 Loss Of Middle-of-the-Night Comforting
And some moms apparently even miss getting up in the middle of the night with their babies! Well, the intimacy and super-hero feelings at least. Mary tells Romper, "Towards the end of my pregnancy with my son, my husband took over getting up when my daughter cried at night, and I missed going to get her when she cried. I missed those intimate moments where I could vanquish all the monsters and make her feel safe to go back to sleep. As she's stopped waking in the middle of the night, I really miss that time when I could just hold her in the night."
12 Transitioning To A Big-Kid Bed
For me, personally, I'm so not ready for this. Though my 2.5-year-old has started trying to escape, I know the end is near for his crib. We follow Montessori for the most part — which requires children to use a floor bed at 18 months old — but that floor bed is the one thing we just won't compromise on.
Our son was and still kind of is a bad sleeper, and I know once he can have free rein of the house at all times, he will never sleep again, and our house will be destroyed.
13 No Longer Using Bottles
Though during the time, it can seem daunting and time consuming, some moms definitely miss this stage and they weren't prepared for it to be over. "My little one is now 2.5, but I miss the bottle phase so much," says Katie. "I thought that I would be celebrating being done with washing all of those parts, but nothing compares to the intimate silence of a baby with a bottle. Those silent moments are very rare in toddlerhood."
"My last son walked at 9 months old and I most certainly was not ready to have him mobile —especially as the third child," says Jennie. "But once he got the hang of it, there was no stopping him."
15 Losing The Pacifier/Thumb
"For me, it hit me so randomly. My daughter had her pacifier longer than they recommend, but she is my last baby, and to me it just signified her not being a baby anymore," says Rebecca.
16 Potty Training
And while diapers can be gross and expensive, there is just something daunting about your baby's transition to using an actual toilet. It seems like freedom — no more changing table! — but it also means constantly asking a toddler, "Do you have to pee? Do you
now? What about now?" and prepping for the inevitable accidents. Even when they're ready to ditch the diapers, it's a little, "Please, not right now" for parents.