Guest Post by Betsy Tollefson
“Cherish the time you have with your little ones, they don’t stay that size for long.”
I have lost count on how many times I have heard this statement as the mother of two children under three years old. There certainly is some truth to that statement. You only get to experience each phase of life with each of your children once. And of course, you cherish that time, right?
You know, those cherish-able times like when you are changing your baby’s diaper while your husband is in the shower, and your toddler finds himself under your bed and proudly runs out to show you a Christmas gift (that you thought you had hidden) that he had been asking for and you don’t know what to do but take it from him and set off the longest snot-sob he has had to date….
Or when your baby is teething and wakes up crying, inevitably waking your toddler up at 3 a.m. and neither will go back to bed and you have to work at 8?
CHERISH IT! CHERISH IT ALL!
Parenting is hard.
Parenting is hard to do yourself. It is hard to do with a partner. It is hard to do with a village. It is hard to watch how others do it. We all have different parenting styles. And this is ok. In fact it is imperative because every situation is different and every kid is different. But with each child and each situation I have a choice: I can drown in a culture of toxic positivity, burning myself out trying to make every second a cherish-able moment or I can be intentional and focus on the only thing we really can control and that is my mindset.
For example, newborn sleepless nights.
After being told you need to cherish every moment with your baby, the next most repeated phrase you hear is: “Hope you enjoyed your sleep while you could!” Wait a second! What exactly are you supposed to cherish about never sleeping again?! Science says most newborns babies need to eat every few hours and they sleep in spurts, so what exactly in this situation do you have any control over? For me, it was my intention and my mindset. I decided it just wasn’t going to be a fight. It wasn’t going to be a fight between me and my husband and who was going to get up with her. I’d do it. I could either bemoan that moment every time I heard my baby calling out for me. Or I could accept the situation for what it was and take my baby snuggles in stride. That doesn’t mean I had to cherish every moment. Because there are times it is hard. Of course it has been! We are keeping a small person alive after all! But it is also not worth resenting my child for something she couldn’t control! Once I changed my mindset about getting up late at night, it changed my relationship with my child as a parent. I chose to be intentional and control what I could. Not only has it made me a more positive parent but a more positive person, and opened more opportunities to cherish those fleeting moments. Fingers crossed this works for potty training too!