Mindfulness of the important moments of motherhood.
If you are a new or young mother who is trying to balance it all, let me tell you to calm your mind and remember that these days are for cuddling. Leave the to-do lists for a moment and drink up the important moments of motherhood that you have with your children. As a mommy of 3 who are outgrowing their cuddle stage far too quickly, I wish someone would have told me the only things that were important in these moments.
THESE MOMENTS ARE FEW
Long ago I made the decision to work outside the home. Sure, the extra income is great, but the moments of mental challenge, the separation from my home, and even the coworkers are all things that make me a better mommy when I come home.
Sadly, however, the reality of the situation is that I miss lots of little moments. I miss lots of tiny celebrations, firsts, and even lasts.
As I missed yet another bedtime due to late night meetings, I crept into my sons’ room for a goodnight kiss. As a mother does, I stared into that precious sleeping face, and like the mother from “Love You Forever,” I scooped that little boy up and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.
As every mother knows, I could stare into that face all night long and not grow bored. Nevertheless, at the same moment, I was thinking about the lunches that needed packed, the dishes that needed washed, and the laundry that still wasn’t put away.
In those same small moments I saw my oldest son, also sleeping in his bed.
Now school age, I remembered the days when I could still scoop him up and rock him while he remained sound asleep. When was the very last time he let me do that? I didn’t even know that it was happening.
With the wisdom of that realization, I knew that these moments were not for dishes, were not for laundry, were not even for worrying about the wrinkles forming on my work clothes…these moments, these precious few minutes that I get to stare into my child’s face as he sleeps…these moments…are for all the special things that children only do for a short while.
THESE ARE THE DAYS WHEN HE NEEDS HIS MOMMY
I have heard it said that when a child is a baby, he needs his mommy. When a boy is older, he needs his daddy. And, when a man is an adult, then, he needs his wife. I have also heard it said that every good mother must ultimately fail so that her child won’t need her anymore. Therefore, these are the important moments of motherhood.
Your baby won’t remember the laundry, the cooking, the cleaning, or even your perfect mom outfit. Instead, she will remember the precious cuddles, love, and protection you provided. In these moments, he needs you.
THESE MOMENTS ARE FOR CUDDLING
There will come a day when my older children no longer want to sit on my lap while they watch a Friday night movie. In fact, my oldest no longer even wants to snuggle up when we read bedtime stories.
Hard as it may be to believe, one of these days, that little lump of snuggles is not going to want to be held anymore. He won’t need you to snuggle him until he falls asleep. She won’t want you to hug her until her tears stop. And, he might not even want to rock.
Sometimes those days of being constantly needed feel long and unending. And, I am no stranger to those over-touched hyper-needy days. However, I am guilty of being unmindful in those days of the fact that they will soon end. At that point no one will need my boo-boo kisses or that special place between my neck and my shoulder where baby heads seem to fit perfectly.
Yes, the constant need to be held… served… snuggled… can feel overwhelming, but you will look back and long for more.
THESE MOMENTS ARE FOR GIGGLING
You will long for more precious moments filled with baby giggles. Mommies (and probably dads too!) learn the distinct cries of their children. The scared cries, the hungry cries, the I-want-attention cries; we know them all.
Similarly, we know the laughs of our children. The real belly laughs, the high-pitched squeals of delight, and the devious laughs of disobedience!
I always know when my kids are splashing in the tub. The kind of splashing that looks like a tidal wave went through the bathroom soaking the walls, the floor, and even the doors. I know because I hear their laughing.
They know that they have been told not to splash, but it is just so fun; they can’t resist.
I hear the guttural laughs of glee mixed with a sinister laugh that tells me that they think they are getting away with something. Sometimes I even pretend not to notice just so I can soak up the laughter.
I love the sounds of their laughter. I love the sounds of my kids playing some silly game that they made up. And, I love the sound of their resounding laughter in summer sunshine as it fills our neighborhood.
One of these days their laughter won’t flow so freely. They might learn that the world sometimes hurts; they might even worry that others will hear them. One of these days, they might not have nearly so light a heart. For now, laugh.
Mommy, these days are for giggling –for laughter—for snickers—for potty jokes and wild-eyed shrieks. Forget about work and the house for a moment, and don’t forget to let the laughter consume you too.
THESE MOMENTS ARE FOR TICKLING
Don’t forget the laughter and fun that also comes with tickling. At what age does tickling suddenly become painful torture?
If someone tries to tickle me, I collapse onto the floor in agony, and arise with anger at my torturer. But, when I tickle one of my children, maybe a playful poke to the arm or side, they lose all self-control and collapse into uncontrollable spasms of laughter.
It doesn’t seem to matter whether we are doing mundane tasks like getting dressed or trimming toenails, my littles find everything ticklish. Their innocence is so clear in those moments. They have complete trust in me, yet…who am I. How did I become so blessed?
These days of innocence, of finding everything funny, of being vulnerable enough to collapse to the floor in sheer delight as someone tickles their toes will soon end.
One day they won’t even want to be kissed or hugged in front of their friends. One day they will make the distinctive choice to refer to you as “mom” rather than “mommy.” One day they will turn to a friend or significant other to share their hurts, fears, and pains. Someday, they will look at you in pain when you try to tickle them.
For now, let them be small, vulnerable, and ticklish with you. Take the time to appreciate it and marvel in it.
THESE MIGHT NOT BE THE MOMENTS FOR QUIET
If it’s the time for snuggles, for cuddles, for laughter, and tickle fights, then it may not be the moment for quiet. You may have to sacrifice quiet nights on the couch with your hubby. Leisurely dinners are a thing to look forward to, and reading a book for hours may again be in your future someday.
You will likely again have quiet in your home someday when the laughter stops, when the fighting ceases, and when the cries subside.
I know it can be difficult when you can’t hear your thoughts or maybe even that coworker on the phone. Talking to clients while you are barring the office door is quite a challenge especially on video calls.
And, that karaoke machine that the grandparents bought just doesn’t provide for a moment of peace.
But, you will have quiet again. You just might not have those baby giggles again. Soak it up while you can.
THESE MIGHT NOT BE THE MOMENTS FOR CLEAN
Likewise, if you are playing chase, splash, tickle fight, and bakery, then it might also not be the time for clean. The dishwasher might remain full, the laundry will never be done, and you will certainly never get ahead of the toys.
At least… not until the toys are put away and never reclaimed. One day those little tiny tshirts and jeans will be packed up for the last time, and you will never wash them again. You might even one day return to a manageable laundry schedule!
However, don’t let the spot at the back of the tub that you just can’t quite reach or the dust under the couch distract you from this moment…this moment right here when you stare unceasingly into that precious face.
One of these days you will look to an empty rocking chair, an outgrown bed, a sleeping child you can no longer lift, and maybe even an empty nest. In those days, you might remember with relief that you no longer have to listen to 548 versions of “Baby Shark.” But, you will likely not remember the dirty dishes, the fingerprints on the windows, or the sleepiness.
THE MEMORY OF LOVE, LAUGHTER, AND SNUGGLES ARE FAR STRONGER THAN THE MEMORY OF QUIET AND CLEAN.
Instead, you will wonder when your last late night rock was. You will remember having a home full of love and laughter. And, your children will remember how you cared for them even in the brief moments of chaos between school and bed.
Don’t lose these moments, momma. They are precious; they are fleeting.
As I missed yet another evening with my children, I am mindful that in the moments that we do have together that I must remember to snuggle, cuddle, laugh, be vulnerable, to trust, and to support.
Sure, those other things have to get done at some point too. But, they might have to wait until I am done staring at my children.
When I think about my own life, I rarely remember the decor or the volume. Instead I remember the moments of love and closeness.
These moments, momma. These are the moments for cuddling.