“It’s been a day.” If you’re a parent, then you know exactly what I mean. We ALL have those days that seem to never end. Those days where you find yourself counting down the seconds until story/bedtime. Those days that make you tense up and question if you can do it all over again the next day.
These are the days as a parent that can either make you or break you – mentally, physically and emotionally. I’m going to share a little story with you all, because frankly, I needed a new mindset. I needed to take a moment to slow down and be grateful – something that takes lots of practice when we’ve had one of “those days” as a parent.
It had been a day
I was in the third and final trimester of my second pregnancy – flat out tired by 9pm, ready to kick my puffy feet up from the day, crack open my favorite orange flavored La Croix and just mindlessly scroll through social media or dive into a Netflix episode.
One night my almost four-year-old son Brooks was coughing in his room shortly after we put him to bed. He was clearly uncomfortable while trying to fall asleep. If you’re a parent you’re probably far too familiar with this particular situation. He called down to me saying, “Mommy…I have a cough. Will you please rub me…that will make it feel better.”
9 times out of 10 I would have looked over at my husband and said, “Your turn,” with that feeling of frustration that he wasn’t asleep already. But that night was different and I had to make a conscious decision for it to be. I put my phone down, rolled myself off the sofa (that baby belly was getting REAL!) and made my way upstairs to his room.
Making a conscious decision
Most nights I would have pushed the door open and said, “Brooks, it’s night-night time. Drink a little water, and go back to bed,” then shut the door and returned to my nightly decompression. Because after 8pm, I’m guilty of feeling inconvenienced and my parenting patience is running on empty.
But that night I opened his bedroom door, sat next to him on his bed, found his favorite spot on his forehead to rub and did so without setting a time limit or negotiating how long I was going to sit and do this for.
That night I rubbed his forehead until he fell asleep and even after he fell asleep I didn’t rush to get up. In fact, I sat in his dark room and allowed my mind and heart to feel all the emotions.
I thought about how one day, I would look back and wish I had more time. I would wish I had stayed in his room just a little bit longer and rubbed his forehead more often until he fell asleep. That I would think back to this little boy laying in his toddler bed and wonder if I was too distracted by #allthethings and noise, when all he wanted was his momma to read just one more story or to stay in his room just a little bit longer.
I think a part of me as a mother has avoided these out-of-routine moments because that’s exactly when I become vulnerable and when the emotional parenting thoughts and feelings on “life” tend to set in. I felt the tears streaming down my face as I thought about how fast time was moving and that my little crew was about to grow by one more just a few months later.
I was suddenly sad for us….an odd feeling when you’ve spent so much of your pregnancy being excited. I think it was me not wanting to let go of my first baby and these special moments with him. Wanting him to know his momma was always going to be there for him when he needed me – not “just a second” or “the baby needs mommy first.”
I think these feelings are completely normal when you’re expecting baby #2. After all, your first born has taken every single ounce of your heart and you just can’t imagine sharing that (or understanding how that love could double) with having another child.
After a few final coughs, Brooks’s eyes and breathing became heavy and he was fast asleep. I wiped away the tears, sat for just a little longer and reminded myself that I was exactly where I needed to be that night. In the moment. Not rushed. Not feeling “interrupted” from my selfish intentions of wanting to relax. I didn’t get frustrated or impatient.
Instead, I found a momma who was intentional, allowed herself to become emotional, and in that moment I decided to just let go. Because there was nothing more important than sitting next to my first born and letting him know that I was there for just him and as long as he needed me to be.
Choosing to be present
If you’ve ever felt this way as a momma, I dare you to drop whatever you’re doing and just go sit with your baby – old or young. Have an intentional conversation, rock them just a little bit longer, sing one more song, read one more book, ask them for another hug, or have a bowl of ice cream together at the kitchen table.
So often, we rush through life missing these moments of vulnerability and the opportunity to be more present and to really feel all the emotions of what it is to love someone so unconditionally. I think we’ll all look back and agree that all we ever wanted was “more time.”