I see you, new Moms and Dads. I see you with your first precious baby all wrapped in coordinated outfits and blankets. I see your brand new carseat and stroller, your perfectly decorated nursery. I watch when you take your three-month-old to the park and put all the work into “playing” while your baby barely acknowledges the different location. I hear you talk about what the books and experts say and how you will “never” do this or that and how your kids will never do this or that…and I smile, maybe laugh a little too.
Let me be clear; I’m not laughing AT you, I’m laughing because I WAS you.
Long ago, before multiple kids and years wore me down, I too was the fresh-faced mom with a perfectly dressed baby. I bought cute holiday outfits and kept my baby book up to date. I had so many good intentions, just like you do. You are enjoying being a new parent, and it is such a joy to witness. Watching you reminds me of my fresh mom days and how exciting life becomes when you start a family. Everything is new and your future so open and unpredictable. Snuggling a baby is one of those things you will miss the second it’s gone.
And I see your future. I know that in just a few years, you are more likely to snap at your spouse. You are more likely to question your sanity. Because life gets pretty sticky in those multiple-kids-in-diapers-and-no-sleep days. I know parents work so hard during that life stage to “enjoy it because it goes so fast,” but it’s really easy to say that when you are already on the other side where sleep isn’t something you have to dream about and your kids aren’t experiencing every new emotion in vivid detail in the middle of the grocery aisle. It’s a little harder to consciously put it into practice everyday. But the kicker is that I DO miss my emotional toddlers. Those were not easy days, but my gosh were they lovely anyway.
Then, as your kid starts school (and starts sleeping and making their own snacks) and makes friends, blossoming into a person who can articulate thoughts and dreams, you start to realize just how fast time really IS going and has gone.
Pretty soon you have a teenager. Yes, they can be a bit scary sometimes. They are experiencing so many changes — it’s really not their fault. I read a comment by Whitney Fleming (from Playdates on Fridays) that said, “Parenting teenager feels like starting the last chapter in a book you love. You want to see how the story turns out, but yet you don’t want it to end.” And as the mother of two teenagers, I can promise you that she is 100% correct. It is SO bittersweet to watch these humans I created nearing adulthood. The more I watch them mature, the more I keep watching you, New Parents. The more I giggle at your plans for the future because it’s going to be here way before you’re ready and it’s going to be different than you expected. It’s going to be MAGICAL, don’t worry.