It's 8 a.m. on a Monday morning and I just got my kids off to school. It always amazes me how fast time goes. I know it doesn't feel like that in the midst of changing diapers and middle of the night feedings, but it goes fast. Before you know it, your little ones will be turning 7 and 8 like mine and you'll miss the moments you had when they were still completely dependent on you. If I'm feeling that way now, I can't imagine what it will be like when they're going off to college.
One of the biggest things I've been able to see over this past year is how all of our work is paying off. When they're young and you're working hard to establish good morals and discipline in your children, you think they'll never get it. And sometimes you'll feel like it's all for nothing. You'll feel exhausted, wondering if they are retaining anything or if they're just doing what you say to avoid punishment. But it's in the moments when they don't know you're watching and they do something amazing, without you telling them to, you breathe a sigh of relief and realize, "They get it! My work is paying off! It's not for nothing!"
I have two daughters. Emma, who will be turning 8 in June. And Avery, who will turn 7 in August. (Yes, 14 months apart. That was God's idea, not mine.) It's been a blessing to see them grow into these little girls who are thoughtful, caring, and generous... most of the time. Sometimes they act like aliens have invaded their bodies, but mostly, they are great girls. Emma is a sweet, emotional girl who is observant and takes everything in. Avery is my creative, live in the moment, let's get things messy, girl. Night and day. But I love that about them. They are so unique and bring so much color to my life. However, it didn't always feel like that. As you may know, those creative types keep you on your toes. The quiet, observant ones always keep you guessing because you don't always know what they're thinking. There have been times when I wanted to cry out in frustration, feeling like I was failing as a mom. But then one of them comes in at 6 a.m. and says, "Mama, can I snuggle?" and I know that they know they are loved and find comfort in their Mama's arms. I don't always get it right, and that's ok. My girls know they are loved and we have a good, solid family.
If you're at home with babies or toddlers and most days just getting them fed and changed is all you can do, that's ok! Don't feel like it's not good enough. We can be our own worst enemies when it comes to judging ourselves. Three things that helped me make it through those younger days were: 1. My Faith 2. My friends and 3. Making sure I had a shower every day. If I was clean, I felt I could conquer the world :) Oh yeah, and taking time for myself. Don't feel bad for needing some time to yourself, even if it is to grab a cup of coffee, read a book, or shower without a child in the bouncy seat next to the tub. Don't stay secluded in your house. Make friends if you don't have any, and spend time with the ones you do have. Stay connected.
Remember that what you're doing is making a lasting impression, even if you don't see the fruits of your labor right now. Someday you will.
Live in the moment... they pass quickly.