Monday, April 28, 2008

Finding Your Way Through the Trenches

If you have a child under 6 months old, you are at a stage in parenting I like to refer to as “the trenches”. You and your baby fill the days on a pretty steady schedule of feeding, napping, and diaper changing. However, as the clock slowly ticks by, and after 3,000 rounds of rattle shaking, board books, and peekaboo, you might find yourself wondering, “Now what?”.

You may be tired, bored, confused as to how to better pass the time, or all of the above. If you are, you are certainly not alone. I remember thinking of reasons to go for another walk, talk on the phone, or find something (anything) for us to do to break up the monotonous routine of the day.

I also remember eagerly looking forward to the next stage of development, one that may include more interaction between mother and child, and more things to experience, learn, and adapt. What I failed to realize (the toddler years were yet to educate me), is that these times are so short, I should just learn to live in the moment.

For that reason, the experience I had with my second child was much different. I appreciate the fact that temper tantrums, constant running and hiding, and downright orneriness are not yet a part of his day. The days now fly, and, ironically, I wish the time
wouldn’t move quite so fast.

And I know there are more than a few grandparents out there who know exactly what I am talking about.

For those of you in the trenches, here are a few things to keep in mind while you spend your days:

5) This child will some day be a teenager, which means not only will they not rely on you so much, they might also pretend not to know, understand, or even like you (the last will only be pretend…I promise).

4) In a few months, they will be running, jumping, hiding, and terrifying / exhausting you to no end. And just wait until they learn how to climb the stairs….

3) Doesn’t it seem like yesterday when your world was consumed by nights out on the town, with worries contained to clothes, friend drama, and work deadlines? It probably seems like it went by quickly (and you may even long for those days). Apply that quick passage of time and longing to revisit it, to your child’ early years, and then multiply it times 100.

2) Live in the moment. Sure, I grew tired of reading Goodnight, Gorilla after the 1,000 time on any given day (it has no words!), but when I go back to it now, I still smile. Try to live in every moment, even if it’s the same one….over and over and over.

1) You have no way of realizing how much you are doing for your child by creating a safe and loving environment. They can’t tell you and though they will not remember all your time and commitment to them at this age, they are already enjoying your care and influence, and, most importantly, they know they are loved.

So, do not feel guilty if you find yourself watching the clock, or giving the baby to your husband the minute he walks through the door….no one ever said parenting was easy (even at this age), but it is the hardest, best job you’ll ever have.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

SPOT ON!!! I am going to try everyday to step back and not do the dishes or sweep the floor. And enjoy the moments.