Long Days, Short Years

Oh, Dear Moms of the Littles.

These are long days.

I remember the unending diapers, pacifiers in the couch cushions along with the cheerios, all the noise making toys, the teething, the vomit, the blowouts, the walking out of the grocery to find it pouring rain {!}, eleventy forty sick days in a row, and then being thrilled to get a shower and go to church for the sweet little granny-figure to say, “Enjoy these days. They don’t last long. Enjoy ’em. This is the easiest time.”

I swear to Cher, I could’ve spontaneously combusted on holy ground.

It’s so paradoxical, this mom gig. On one hand, you instinctively know that time will seem to fly by, but nap time seems an eternity away – and you just need a little peace, a shower, or a nap yourself. The Little Years are so physically exhausting – bathing, carrying, feeding, playing, reading, lifting to the sink to wash hands with the constant reminders “don’t touch anything” on the way out…you know. The Little Years’ mental exhaustion is excruciating, too, no doubt. Mom’s on high-alert on all fronts :: proactively reading about all things parenting, learning the benefits of KinderMusic and baby swimming. Analyzing the cries, sanitizing everything, preparing your ‘elevator speech’ for the family to explain in one-minute or less why you are choosing to adopt a certain parenting/nutrition/education philosophy and training yourself to be a broken record when you need rebuttal. It’s like everything else, the highs are high and the lows are low.

Mommas, we are in this thing for the long haul. I want to encourage you that so much of this does get easier. So much. At the time of this publishing, my girls are eleven and thirteen. Their physical needs are less exhausting to us. They can prepare basic meals and clean up after themselves, dress themselves, take the trash out and floss their own teeth for the love of orthodontia! Even verbal development changes the game so much, right? They can tell you what hurts, what they need, physically and emotionally. And, the big one…the day I could leave my girls at home and go to Target!

I felt like Mel Gibson in Braveheart.

No joke.

But, there’s a rub, as always. As they get older, the stakes are high in different ways. As I said, we are in it for the long haul. Daily guidance. World view matters. Media matters. Relationship matters. Spiritual matters. Teachable moments abound. Now, my girls’ hows and whys are deeply insightful. They are seriously watching how we live. They comment on the type of marriage I have. They are subconsciously noting our inconsistencies. We are deciphering the push away/pull you in of teenagerdom. It’s a special kind of precious, let me tell ya.

They sleep longer, but require more of you when awake. They don’t admit it though. Unlike the Littles, they have words but don’t always know how to use them effectively. Yes, it’s still exhausting, but more mentally. We are in crunch time over here. Intentionally pouring in to these girls to prepare them to change the world. We talk a lot. We listen a lot.

Don’t burn yourself out on the kinder classes and dance and mommy and me at two and three years old, Momma. They don’t remember, honestly. It’s so cute and they learn, but you don’t have to do all that if you don’t want to.

A marathon, not a sprint.

In this marathon, you WILL be able to get a bath with out a bouncy seat in the bathroom. Eventually.

It won’t be long.

These are short years.

Long Days, Short Years

2 Responses to Long Days, Short Years

  1. Lori V April 12, 2014 at 8:56 pm #

    What a powerful message. I can’t thank you enough. I read this with tears streaming down my face. My little Evelyn just turned two and Andrew will be one next month. We just moved from Louisiana and my husband started a new job which involves traveling for days at a time. It’s a lot of adjustment lately. So, thank you for this.

    • Melissa April 14, 2014 at 11:48 am #

      Lori, Thank you for reading. We are not native to Houston and as much as Houston has loved us and welcomed us, moving is HARD! Moving with little ones is even harder! I so hope you find some sweet community to live life with. 🙂

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