Dear younger, tired maternal self ~
You rolled your eyes and said, “I know, I know“, when a mother of teenagers said “Enjoy them while they’re small”. You had no idea. You had no idea how fast the time would go and how soon you would be wishing your babies still craved to be under your feet, on your lap or in your arms.
Your days are full of attention seeking antics and answering a four year old’s questions that you forgot you weren’t born knowing. You smell the baby’s butt and sigh in frustration at changing a third poopy diaper before 3pm. You can’t fathom how a little guy that barely eats anything can poop four times in a day. You can’t wait for him to not need you on such a basic level. You can’t imagine a day when your children see you as a person instead of a lifeline.
You’re so tired. Little man’s sporadic sleeping habits lead him to your bed every night. You dream of a night’s sleep that isn’t as broken as your body feels, after being kicked and hit all night by little feet and a precious noggin. You wake up to baby boy screeching “Momma, MOMma, MOMMA!!!” and your full of energy little girl barreling in to your bed, ready to plan out the day with you. You just want coffee and a morning that moves at a slower, quieter pace.
You look at the walls that shelter your young family with discontent. You wish you could figure out a way to afford a home with decor and more space. You’re frustrated with unfinished projects. You dream of a home with enough bed rooms, updated appliances, less creaky floors and maybe, just maybe, one room with a closet.
This letter is to assure you this is temporary. A day much sooner than you think will come and you will get to be you again. You’ll have cocktails with friends. Sleep until 8am, have many uninterrupted conversations and go and come as you please.
That time will come with a change of heart. A heart that will crave the sound of your kids belly laughs. A heart that will want to tell your daughter she can’t sleep over at a friend’s house, because you want to spend time with her. But you’ll let her go anyway, knowing that’s where she would rather be.
Hang in there Momma. Put the broom down. Hands covered in finger paint are more valuable than clean feet. Put technology down. Connect with the little bodies and minds blooming right in front of you. Your influence will only be absorbed for a short time, and that time is now. Accept the challenges of “I spy with my little eye” and lead singer in a mixing bowl rock band. Such antics will be seen as lame before you know it.
Ten years from now I see earthy color schemed walls surrounding you and furniture that isn’t covered in questionable dark spots. I see dark, oak kitchen cabinets and a custom mosaic back splash to matches new tile floors. I see two bathrooms and three bedrooms, all with closets. It comes with bittersweet timing. The lovely furniture won’t be shared as much as the old, hand me down couch. The cabinets will not house musical instruments but plates that will rarely all be used together, because every one is so busy. The kids new bedrooms will become caves you’ll beg them to come out of once in a while.
You’re doing your best you can to help your children navigate life, on every level. They need you now and they will appreciate you later. Until then, inhale the moments when you’re being beckoned to watch high jumps in the living room. You have a small window of time that soon enough will shut out a need to be needed, that you never knew you had.
Youth is precious. Both yours and your beautiful, innocent and incredibly in love with you babies. Own this time. It’s fleeting.
Older, wiser and still pretty tired self