My kids are reaching this stage where they’re sleeping a decent amount during their afternoon nap (most days). We’re talking like, 2-2 1/2 hours people! Rather than being excited and happy about my new found alone time, I’m sort of unnerved. After two and a half years of short nap breaks and zero night sleep it’s a bit creepy having enough time to get things accomplished. This past Sunday, I watched an entire episode of Gray’s on my phone and had time after to lay in bed and watch the trees sway in the breeze outside my window. I savored the blissful quiet… for about 10 minutes. Then I slowly got an antsy feeling like I needed to be doing something, changing someone, cleaning something sticky. It got me thinking, what the heck did I do before kids??? I can vaguely recall watching movies, one after the other, and eating whatever I wanted, right out in the open, without fear of it being hijacked by a toddler. I cleaned periodically, as needed, but not every 5 minutes as I do now. I just lounged about on the evenings and weekends. I slept whenever I felt like it. It just seems so distant. I don’t even feel like I was that girl, and it was only 2 1/2 years ago!
It’s crazy scary to think of ever having to return to that silence. I remember on that tragic day at Sandy Hook, my husband and I talked about the quiet that many of those poor parents would go home to. No loud, little voices or banging toys. No screams of frustration between siblings. No joyous giggling laughter bellowing down the hall. What a desperately devastating nightmare! After only a couple of years, my life has been altered so dramatically that I wouldn’t know how to live as I did before. What’s more, I wouldn’t want to! There’s something wonderful about the beautiful balance that is motherhood. The give and take of it. We give, they take, but they also give without knowing. When they say something adorable just as you’re about to scream and it melts all of the stress away. The adorable sound of their laughter as you dig your fingers into their armpits. The first time they say “please” or “thank you” in the right context and every time there after. They give us so much without ever knowing, just by existing!
My daughter has been fighting bedtime recently. She will come up with excuses, usually a clean diaper, to try and get us to keep entering her room. Like she just wants a few extra minutes to have some company. I had been getting very frustrated by this. When I put the kids down and shut those doors it becomes “my time” or so I tell myself. I like to try and sneak in a bath and some work before bed. So when she started this new behavior up, I was bothered. Then, one night as I tucked her in for the 7th time, she did something that changed everything. When I reached down to kiss her forehead, she wrapped her arms around my neck and said, “hug”. Then as we released each other she put both her hands gently on my cheeks and said, “I love you mama.”. I starred into her big dark eyes and pictured her at 7, 10, 12, 18. I wondered how many more moments I would have like this. I pushed her over and crawled into bed with her. My bath, my work, my time could wait. We do this a couple times a week now. Just snuggle, stroke each others faces, tickle eyelashes and give kisses. I always leave before she falls asleep but it’s become “our time” and I love it!
So let’s not be in such a hurry to get our time back to ourselves. Give a moment to think about all you did (or rather, didn’t do) before you had kids. Was it really that great anyway? Sleep will return, and time will be regained and before we know it we’ll be wishing we had this time back. Wishing we had stopped to snuggle and gaze at them. Wishing we’d taken a few extra moments to hold them tight and enjoy the amazing little people they are!
I know I can get all deep and emotional sometimes, but seriously!! Look at these faces! Can you blame me??