When I take my little one out in public I often hear the ‘Oh I miss that stage’ or ‘Enjoy them while they’re this age.’ It makes me stop and ponder. Is a child getting older that bad?
So I asked. What do you miss? They said they missed the cuddling and quiet. Babies grow so quickly as everyone likes to point out to me. I see it even now as my little boy sleeps in his crib and I think about his birth and first month, which seem like so long ago and it’s only been a few months. All those intense feelings and experiences all seem so distant and it’s hard to recapture those beautiful moments. I suppose that’s what the rest of parenthood is going to be like. Maybe all these people feel like they need to impart wisdom to new parents: appreciate what you have now because I didn’t realize what I’d miss.
It’s easy to look forward to new milestones like your baby’s first word, first steps, first day or school, etc. These are special moments to share with your family but also mark the end of one stage and the beginning of another. When he goes to school you’ll have more me-time. Definitely, but you’ll also have less little one time.
Instead of getting frustrated and wishing for a phase to end, think of each stage as having its own pros and cons. I’d love to have my little one talk to me and interact more with me but I also know that with that stage comes ‘I have to go pee’ when there’s no bathroom in site. I’ll have less free time too because they’re wandering everywhere and I can’t just sit and talk to my friend while the baby naps.
It’s all about perspective: If you think about all you’re lacking you’ll miss out on the good you have right now and not really be fully content. Then you may realize later that you didn’t have it all that bad and you’ll miss that part of your life. By then it’s too late.
So appreciate the positives in the stage your child is in and do your best to find strategies to deal with the down sides of the stage (like a good support network of people who’ve been there and understand).
What do you do to soak up and appreciate all the wonderful moments in your child(ren)’s life/lives?
May you find joy and contentment in the now of parenthood.