Parenting in the Trenches: They’ll be Older Tomorrow


My girls at ages 1 and 3. This was taken a year ago, but seems like it was two weeks ago. Photo by Synthia Therese Photography.

My girls at ages 1 and 3. This was taken a year ago, but seems like it was two weeks ago. Photo by Synthia Therese Photography.

I remember strangers approaching me when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, placing their hands on my stomach, asking whether I was having a boy or a girl, when I was due, and whether I had chosen a name.

I remember having all the people closest to me helping me out – finding baby clothes, shopping for strollers, looking into newborn photography Austin, help me paint the nursery, the list goes on and on.

I received all sorts of parenting advice, most of it unsolicited.

Which strollers and car seats were the best.

Breast or bottle.

Pacifiers or loveys.

“There’s nothing wrong with letting your child ‘cry it out.'”

There was one piece of advice I remember most.

When you’re having a hard time, remember your child will be older tomorrow, so try to cherish it.

Man. Those people who said that (there were many) weren’t kidding.

Looking back, I remember the reality of having a newborn baby set in, and so did those proverbial trenches.

When you’re in the middle of those awful trenches, you aren’t thinking “this too shall pass.”

You’re thinking you’re tired.

That your boobs hurt.

That you’re sick of not knowing what day it is and that you haven’t washed your matted hair in so long that it’s sticky from all the dry shampoo.

That your house is a pigsty, but cleaning it feels like being on a hamster wheel.

That you want to go out in public, but only if you have a personal guarantee from God Himself that you won’t see anyone you know because you look like crap and you might burst into tears if someone asks how you’re doing.

That you’ll exchange harsh words with the grocery store cashier if she ID’s you in response to the fifteen bottles of wine on the conveyor belt and smirks as she stares at your photo and says, “Is this really you?”

Yes. The picture was taken right after my honeymoon when I was freshly highlighted, sun tanned, and relaxed, thankyouverymuch.

That you’ve been wearing the same outfit for seventy-two hours straight, and it’s stained with formula and tears.

That you love your baby, you really do, but you wish, for once, she would just stop crying so you could get through one episode of the trashy reality show you’ve been wanting to watch.

You’re thinking you’d love for your stomach to not look like a deflated balloon and that you’re sick of wearing the oversized mesh underwear they give you at the hospital.

Let me tell you something.

When I was home on maternity leave with both girls, the hours seemed like decades. The monotony of folding laundry, unloading the dishwasher, and vacuuming the floor felt like Groundhog Day. The vacuum we had was useless, and I was forever on the lookout on the Vacuumshop and other online retailers for a bargain. The only reason I looked forward to the weekend was because it meant my husband would be home from work all day, and there’d be an extra set of hands to help around the house. I need those extra hands more than ever thanks to our vacuum breaking down. I guess that’s what I get for opting for the cheaper, low-quality model. It’s hoover vs bissell for my next vacuum which means I need to start researching!

I remember people telling me to “sleep when the baby sleeps.”

Yeah, right.

It’s like napping on eggshells.

Now, my girls are two and four and I’ve moved out of those trenches and onto a new, unique set of obstacles. And you know what? There are so many times I was in such a stressed out fog while I was in those trenches that I didn’t stop and appreciate being in the thick of it all.

Because, unless something crazy and unintentional happens, there will be no more newborns in my house. And you know what didn’t really matter? That I was tired. Or that my boobs hurt. That I didn’t know what day it was and hadn’t washed my hair in a long time. Or that my house was a pigsty or I might run into somebody I knew if I went out in public. That a cashier thought I looked ugly or, heaven forbid, I was wearing the same outfit several days in a row. Or that someone knew I was having a hard time transitioning to motherhood. That I was tired of hearing my child cry and wanted to indulge in trashy television.

The kids have gotten older pretty quickly, and they’ll be even older tomorrow.

And since I can’t stop time, all I can do is change my perspective, because I know I’ll look back on the trenches and obstacles when my girls are adults and wish I could do it over again. A hundred times.

So.

I’ll try my best not to rush through dinner and bath time after I’ve arrived home from a crazy day at work because they’ll be older tomorrow.

I won’t care if getting completely into the water at the local swimming pool means I’ll have to wash and blow-dry my hair the next day because they’ll be older tomorrow.

I’ll disregard that building sand castles and making mermaids at the beach will result in painstakingly vacuuming the car because they’ll be older tomorrow.

I’ll try not to stress that fifteen extra minutes splashing around in the tub means a slightly later bedtime because they’ll be older tomorrow.

That reading one more book or watching ten more minutes of Peppa Pig isn’t the end of the world because they’ll be older tomorrow.

That unnecessarily spending twenty more minutes at the office finishing something that can be done later because there’s no real deadline isn’t worth missing precious time with the girls at home because they’ll be older tomorrow.

That declining an after-hours obligation I don’t really want to attend with people I can catch up with another time so I can hang out with my family is still ok because they’ll be older tomorrow.

I’ll embrace my little ladies screaming songs and laughing in the car at the top of their lungs instead of being annoyed because they’ll be older tomorrow.

I’ll play sharks, Marco Polo, and underwater handstand Olympics with them in the swimming pool because they’ll be older tomorrow (and, soon enough, likely won’t want to hang out with me anyway.)

I’ll let them hold my hand and bashfully cling to me when meeting a new friend or going to an unfamiliar place because they’ll be older tomorrow.

I’ll try to be patient and hold my breath and count to ten when they accidentally knock over the bowl of Fruit Loops because they’ll be older tomorrow.

Cheers!

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    11 Comments on Parenting in the Trenches: They’ll be Older Tomorrow

    1. Bobbi
      January 12, 2018 at 10:59 am (3 years ago)

      Love this. Love love love. It’s one of those things you read and think omg these are my thoughts well articulated and complete. This is truly one of the best post I’ve seen online. Thank you for writing it and sharing with us.

      Reply
    2. Alyssa
      September 23, 2017 at 8:19 am (4 years ago)

      I needed this today! I’m lying here next to my 2 day old and was just thinking how am I going to get through learning to feed and being up all night every night- so thank you!!!

      Reply
    3. Kelsey
      January 17, 2017 at 11:52 am (4 years ago)

      This just made me cry all the tears! We are done with babies. No more babies (unless of course my husband’s vasectomy fails) and my youngest kiddo is 3 1/2. The days are flying and I’m trying to savor them but man its hard! Bedtime is such a blessed thing and you are so glad to get some peace at the end of the day but then you go thru the times you lost it that day or the stories that they wanted share with you when you weren’t really paying attention and it kills me! Ugh. Thanks for this perspective!!! Loved it!

      Reply
    4. Heath Welms
      August 8, 2016 at 7:43 pm (5 years ago)

      That unnecessarily spending twenty more minutes at the office finishing something that can be done later because there’s no real deadline isn’t worth missing precious time with the girls at home because they’ll be older tomorrow.

      Reply
    5. Sara Glomski
      July 8, 2016 at 8:28 pm (5 years ago)

      Love the perspective!! Great reminder coming from someone who’s currently holding a newborn and in mesh undies lol!!! Xoxo

      Reply
    6. pam
      July 7, 2016 at 4:08 pm (5 years ago)

      GREAT PERSPECTIVE! It is so easy when people say to “enjoy it” but to actually live it isn’t always easy. All too soon your baby is out babysitting others!!! Glad to have your little ones in my life in an extended way!

      Reply
    7. Brittany Garcia
      July 7, 2016 at 3:36 pm (5 years ago)

      Perfectly written and well said… I think about this all the time and never just stop and take it all in! Thanks for always reminding us to just “chill out” 🙂

      Reply
    8. Rachel Godin
      July 7, 2016 at 10:22 am (5 years ago)

      This brought tears to my eyes- so well written and refreshing!!!

      Reply
    9. chelsea jacobs
      July 7, 2016 at 9:16 am (5 years ago)

      This is so perfect. Needed this perspective today.

      Reply
    10. Aja
      July 7, 2016 at 12:26 am (5 years ago)

      Do it! As a mom a few years ahead of you, I can tell you that the years really start flying by once they’re in “big” school. You send them to kindergarten and you blink and they’re in 3rd grade. Relish the charms of the present. It goes so, so fast.

      Reply
    11. Emily
      July 6, 2016 at 11:24 pm (5 years ago)

      Love this one.

      Reply

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