Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Teens, Toddlers and Two Year Olds Part 2

My alternative title for this post is "Letter to a Young Mom".  The things I wish I knew and understood the last time I parented little ones.

Dear Jen,

Enjoy the moment.  This will pass quicker than you can imagine.  I know you hate buckling three car seats every time you need to go out but soon you will be talking about getting their licenses. Car seats are safer.  Tomorrow you will take them to kindergarten and in a blink you will be planning for college.  Cherish this time.

One day they won't want to watch cartoons in your bed and you will miss it.  One day they won't want to sit on your lap when you are trying to read the newspaper, and you will miss it.  You are going to miss those endless minutes of reading the same bedtime story over and over again.  You will still be able to recite the words and he will laugh and remind you he isn't a baby anymore.

One day, very soon, you will look up to your little boy.  He will be stronger than you, taller than you and he will want to protect you.  This will change you as a mother and as a woman.  Treasure the times he wants to tell you about his day because soon you will know nothing. 

RELAX. You are home with your kids, not home with your house.  You will still be doing endless loads of laundry in 10 years and even more in 15.   It's OK to leave it for an hour to finger paint.  Your boys are going to track in mud.  Over and over and over again.  Breathe.  One day you will wish they were there to do it.  There are many, many years for a clean house and those years will come. 

Dance more.  Yell Less.  Forgive yourself for not. There are no perfect mothers.  Those other women you think are perfect are not.  They are as scared as you are.  And if they are not today, they will be one day soon.   Be satisfied with being human and let your kids be human too.  Be satisfied if your kids are not perfect.  Their imperfections are not a reflection on your failures as a mother. You will forget how worried you were about spelling tests. 

You are doing your best and that has to be good enough.   You will yell, you will cry, you will make mistakes.  You will spank when you should hug, and hug when you should have spanked.  Today's crisis will be tomorrow's lesson and it will mean nothing to you in a year because it will be replaced by some new crisis that feels bigger but really isn't.   Your kids will still love you even when they hate you.  You will still love your kids even when you don't like them much at all.  This is the mystery of motherhood. 

Get over yourself.  There is much in life left to learn and you know but a minuscule fraction.  All those things in life you are "sure of" you will one day question.  Judge less.  Listen more.  Some people are experts for a reason so hear what they say.  And then forget what doesn't apply to you or your family.  Remember, you are the expert on your kids but even you can be wrong.  

Take care of yourself because your world can change in a blink.  Life is going to get hard and you are going to crack under the pressure if you don't.  Taking care of YOU will make you a better wife and mother.  You are going to wish for a rewind button so you could know this before 35, but you don't now young Jen, but I wish you did. 

Life with little kids is tedious amidst the wonderful.  I know you feel like these days will never end and you may never again be able to sleep through the night or go through the day without wiping someone else's bum but these are precious moments.  Hug your little ones just a little bit tighter today Jen.  Savor the sound of their little boy voices that will change soon and be lost forever to the recess of your memory.  Dig in the dirt.  Take a silly picture.  Pause.

Mostly my dear young self, remember these are the moments of your life.  You will cling to these memories, even as they fade, so celebrate the moments.   You are blessed beyond measure. 


Your old self.


SustainableFamilies said...

This is so very sweet and moving Jen.

Patty said...

LOVE!!!!!!!! IT!!!!!!!!!
Thank you! :)

mumma boo said...

Thank you for this! How I wish you could have written to young Jen and to me so many years ago!!

Danae Hudson said...

When I was in high school, even when I could drive, my friends (my now husband included, who was older than I was) would ask my dad to come with us to haunted houses and drive us. He would say, 'Why do you want me around?' And my mom would always say, 'Don't ask that question. Be happy they still want to include you.'

Sunnie said...

I love love love this post---it all rings soooo true as I watch my almost 17 yr old daughter making her way in this world. Hey, wasn't she three just the other day---unable to say always came out a very proud "lellow"
Ohhh I will cherish those days!!
Thanks for this post Jen...and you young mothers please soak it all in!! It goes wayyyy tooo fast!!
Sunnie in NC

Andy said...


Di said...

Blessed we are indeed! Thanks for the 'good tears' in the midst of some hard ones. Loved this.

Kate said...

I'm an older mum on my first go-round. And she's already 4 months old and I see it racing by, but I do have moments where I think "I cannot wait until she can talk", or "omg, when will this child not need to nap anymore so I won't need to battle naptime anymore".

Thanks for the reminder to enjoy the silly routines and struggles of naptime. Beautiful pictures too.

PWNort64 said...

Wow, this post spoke to me more than you can know. I love all of your observations and they are all so true. I really try to enjoy the moment, but this was an awesome reminder. You should consider submitting this to be published in some parent magazine or book. It should be required reading on a monthly basis!

Cooking Up Faith said...

I stumbled upon your blog, and I'm so glad I did. I am a mother of 4 under the age of 6. I needed to hear what you wrote, and think I might just copy and paste it somewhere so I can read it again and again! Thanks so much!
Big Fat Mama