Mum confession: 7 things I wish I had done more of when my children were babies
Nothing will make you realise just how fast time is going by as having children does.
Seriously; you can literally see them growing in front of your very eyes at times, when you put on, say, pajama bottoms that only last week looked fine and fit perfectly, but that now seem to be creeping up their legs. It is scary.
It can be hard to realise, though, when you are still knee-deep in the baby trenches, just how quickly it all passes you by, and how you, only a few short months and years from now, will literally yearn to be able to go back to the baby phase – even for just a few, stolen moments.
My babies are now nine and six –in other words, not really babies anymore – and yet I still cannot figure out just how those years slipped in. I mean; I look at pictures and I know they happened, and don't get me wrong, we have filled those days with so many moments and memories and love, but there are still things I find myself thinking I wish I did – or wish I did more of.
Like, for instance:
1. Picture in the same place every year
One of my best friends had a cat as a child – and when I say child, the cat lived from the time she was born until she was off to college – it was practially her brother.
Anyway, the point is this: She has these adorable baby pictures with herself and this cat, sitting in pretty much the same spot every year the picture was taking, where you can literally see her growing and changing from year to year, next to her cat, who, while obviously getting older too, to a large extent just kind of looks the same in all the pictures.
It is beyond cute, and it makes me wish I had had the idea to do something similar with my children – not with a cat, mind you, as we don't have one, but maybe sitting in the same chair or standing next to the same wall.
2. Taken more naps with them
When my babies were babies, they tended to only sleep outside, when we went for a walk – meaning, of course, that's what we did every day. But I do now wish I had pushed the sleeping at home a little bit more, even just so I could have napped with them – not so much for the actual sleeping, but more so for all those lovely, lovely snuggles.
3. Asked for help more
Women, I think, mums especially, we are all guilty of always trying to manage it all. Be on top of things. Show the world that we can do this, we are competent and capable. But the thing is, when you are a new mum, when you have young children and you are so, so needed at this very important job you are doing, all day, every day, it is OK to ask for help with the other stuff.
Accept your mother-in-law's offer to cook and come help you clean the house. Let you mum and dad take the kids out just so you can sleep. Let your husband see that he needs to pull his weight too, ask him for help, don't try to make out you don't need it or, more importantly, want it.
4. Film us on random days
One of my big worries about my babies growing older is not being able to remember everything about them being little. I know I'll remember big things, and we have pictures and documentation of all the major life events, of course. But I do wish I had filmed them more, caught their little voices and giggly laughs so I could keep them with me forever.
5. Taken baths with them more
I was (and still am) most often just so on a roll of getting bath time done and dusted and everyone into their pj's that I didn't take the time to get in the bath with them all that many times. I wish I had done it more.
6. Got in the picture more
Like in most families, I tend to be the one remembering to take the picture in the first place. Which, unfortunately means I am more out of the frame than in it. Other times, I remember feeling self-conscious about my hair or lack of makeup or something equally – now in hindsight – silly, and opted to not be in the picture.
This I so wish I could change. I want my children to have so, so many pictures with me in them. Of us together, laughing and hugging and messing – just like we always are. I just wish we had the pictures now to document it all.
7. Snuggle more
I have a favourite little saying taped to my fridge:
"The scrubbing and cleaning can wait till tomorrow,
because babies grow up, I've learned to my sorrow.
So settle down cobwebs, dust go to sleep
– I'm rocking my baby, coz babies don't keep."
This, I cannot stress enough, are words to live by. Not because you should never clean your house, because you should, for sure, but never let that be more important, or so important that you don't take the time to just cuddle and soak up your babies when they are small.
Because someday you won't be able to pick them up and hold them on your lap again – and then you will wish with every bone in your body that you could go back to a day when you could – and in that instant, you know that you'll never regret not having had perfectly clean floors at all times – but you'll regret every snuggle you didn't make time for.