The other night, I was holding one of my twin girls in my arms and rocking her back and forth…she thinks it’s funny when I pretend she’s a baby (she’s almost 2 and a half). And as I held her, it hit me how big she is.
It made me think about holding her as a tiny baby in the NICU when she was barely over 3 pounds. As this memory washed over me, I started to get a little misty-eyed.
But maybe not for the reasons you’d think.
I wasn’t longing for her to be little again. I was simply amazed that we had gotten this far, that we survived beyond the first year.
I was remembering what it felt like to be buried deep in the newborn stage, feeling like it would never end, that it would always be that hard, that sleep and rest would never come.
And I felt so grateful to be past that stage.
We made it. We survived.
We’re now in the land of full nights of sleep and kids that can play on their own, at least for a little while. Yes, they are still in that extremely needy and dependent stage in a lot of ways, but they have personalities and they talk and understand what I say to them. We laugh and play together and they are happy to see me. They get excited when I pick them up after work, yelling “Mommy!” with excitement and running to hug me.
Some people LOVE the newborn stage. We were not those people (and we had TWO of them!). So if you’re in the newborn stage and you’re secretly wishing it would just hurry up and be DONE already, that’s ok.
You don’t have to cherish every moment; sometimes, the best you can do is simply survive.
By all means, cherish SOME of the moments. Pay attention to the little things that bring joy and make it all worth it. Notice how warm and snuggly your baby feels in your arms. Enjoy the fact that they lay still in one place without you having to chase them…that’s one thing that you will for SURE miss as they get older.
But it’s ok if you don’t cherish the sleepless nights, or the endless feedings, or the baby who seems to cry for no reason at all.
There are PLENTY of amazing things about the baby stage, but overall, it’s just plain hard, especially if you’re not really a baby person.
It’s normal to feel weary and exhausted most of the time. It’s normal to think that maybe you’re not cut out for this. You’ll have moments where you’ll ask yourselves: what did we get ourselves into, and what were we THINKING?
They say the days are long, but the years are short. This such a good, true, and profound statement.
But sometimes the days are just REALLY long. And it’s ok to want those to move a little faster.
You can do this. Give yourself SO much grace. You’re doing just fine. And this too shall pass. It gets better, it truly does. Don’t listen to anyone who tries to tell you anything different.
Just do the next thing and then the next, and one day you’ll be holding your big two-year-old kid, feeling so grateful that you made it.
This season with toddlers isn’t easy either, but I’ve loved each stage with our girls more than the last. It just keeps getting better, even though it’s still hard. Parenting will always stretch us to our limits and show us how much we need Jesus.
There is hope, and there is grace to get you through another day. And it’s ok to admit that this is hard, and you’re not alone if you’re feeling weary.
But keep moving forward, because what you’re doing is so important. Even the small, mundane moments that make up taking care of an infant are so significant and honoring to God. This is important work, even though it doesn’t always feel that way.
You can do this. You’re not alone. Lean on God, and learn to ask for help when you need it, and hold on to hope that there is so much joy to come.