As a mom, do you ever feel completely overwhelmed with the one-thousand things on your to-do list each day? I know I do. And it feels like the list never ends! The instant I complete one project, another one (or two!) get added onto the list. Just keeping up with the minimums that need to be done each day or week (food, groceries, cleaning, dishes, laundry, lunch prep for the next day, etc.) can sometimes be daunting enough.
That’s why I try to maximize every free minute.
When Matthew was young and he was the only child I had, I could be supermom during his naps. I was able to get so much accomplished when I only had me and my task to worry about. And this made me feel fine about giving him 100% of my time when he was awake since I didn’t have all those unfinished chores staring me in the face.
However, I don’t get that same luxury with Emma. She naps (but not always well). And when she does nap, it’s not a free hour or two like it was with Matthew. Because I also have Matthew to care for when I’m home with Emma. And (to my dismay), he no longer naps routinely. So instead of Emma’s nap time being time for me to get things done, it ends up being Matthew’s own one-on-one time with mom – which he cherishes and looks forward to – so there’s no way I’m getting house or personal things accomplished during that time!
That being said, I’m definitely more stressed having two children instead of one. I wouldn’t change It for the world, but it’s an adjustment. And I’ve definitely had to adjust my standards on home cleanliness and my expectations of what I can accomplish in a day or week. There’s truly a limit now, and it does frustrate me, but I’m learning to adapt. And the things I do get done each day (cooking, laundry, etc.) are typically done shuffling the children around (holding one or the other) and playing with them intermittently while they try to entertain each other.
It can be a bit chaotic.
And I feel like I always have to be on the move, trying to get something accomplished.
But I discovered this weekend that I am missing some of the simple joys of my children by trying to stay on top of basic life tasks!
This past weekend, I had two opportunities to hold Emma while she napped. It doesn’t sound like much, but this was a big thing for me. I generally don’t hold my children when they nap, partially because I believe in teaching your child the life skill of being able to sleep well on their own without your assistance, and partially because I use that time to try and get things done!
However, on Saturday I was working a baked goods table at my son’s school. He was off with his dad, playing games for the school’s annual fair fundraiser event. Emma was left with me, and there was no quiet place to lay her down, so I just simply held her. I haven’t had the opportunity to just hold her for a nap since she was newly born, and it was amazing. Instead of her normal activity level when being held (you can tell she wants to be on the move!), she just snuggled in and was so peaceful. It was a powerful bonding moment, and I relished the fact that this was the only choice I had for her nap and was grateful for that hour together.
On Sunday, we went up to my in-laws to press apple cider. It’s a yearly fall tradition and typically everyone pitches in. The weather was decent, but a little cool for Emma, so I stayed in the house with her for most of the time while everyone else was outside working on the apples. When she was starting to fuss for a nap, I settled in with her on the couch, got her comfy in my arms, and took the opportunity to hold her again. Since I wasn’t in my own home with my lengthy to-do list staring me in the face, I felt zero guilt about not putting her in the pack-in-play and working on something else. And it was amazing, for both of us! There were a few times during those two hours that she woke for a moment, but she simply turned her head to look up at me – and once reassured that I was there – then drifted back to sleep. She was happy and safe in my arms, and I was fulfilling that maternal instinct to snuggle a person I loved.
The following day Matthew complained of a stomach ache (I think he ate too many apples when pressing cider!), and instead of him moving 100 mph as he normally does, he asked if I would just hold him. So we put on some music and he snuggled in my lap, while allowing me to rub his back and stroke his hair. This moment of quietness together was therapeutic for me – and I’m hoping it was for him as well. Matthew is still my little snuggler, but as he grows I can see how times like this will be less and less, so my appreciation for when it does happen is growing.
Sometimes that’s all it takes – an hour or so of holding your child, inhaling their sweet scent, stroking their hair, watching their rhythmic breathing, feeling their warmth – to reconnect you to what really matters in life.
The dishes, the laundry, and the cleaning will always be there. But times like these won’t. They are fleeting, and you will miss them when they are gone.
I know I will.
All the best,