It’s happening. I didn’t’ want it to happen. And, I never thought it would.
I am turning into “that lady” at the grocery store or local Target who sees a mom (younger than me) with a child (younger than mine) and I sigh. Sometimes I can’t even stop myself—before I know it I am actually saying to that poor sweet woman: “I know it’s crazy right now, but try to enjoy this time. It goes so fast.”
And, just like I did when I was the young mom with three children under the age of 5 I am certain said young mom smiles at me while thinking “Lady, you’re nuts.”
Once upon a time I was also certain that when my three children were all in school I would be on easy street. Really, once we were done with diapers/potty training/battle of the bedtime/etc – how hard could it be?
Now — I would really love to go back and see those crazy times that I never thought I’d survive through a different lens.
So, here’s my note of encouragement to those out there with children under the age of 5 as you venture into the new year:
Dear little mama:
YOU are a good mother.
There will be times that are stressful, times where you will think to yourself that your house may never again be truly clean, and that you can’t possibly survive the day on so little sleep.
But you can do it. I know you can!
I’m a relative mess (neurotic plus passion combined with a touch of OCD); if I did it – you can do it.
In the midst of looking at the toys scattered all over — try to be grateful for the play things you have and that your little one is able to play. My kids don’t remember how clean and tidy their toys were kept; just the memories of creating and playing.
As you battle to get your toddler to take a nap or go to bed – take a deep breath, give them a little squeeze, and snuggle or rock them. The floor will still have mooshed food on it when you get up, but you can’t get back the minutes to love on your baby. (And who knows? The cuddle time may calm your little one down enough to actually fall asleep – and maybe you will catch a minute or two of rest as well.)
Know that when you lose it (and you will) – your child still loves you. Mommies are allowed (and encouraged!) to say they’re sorry, too.
No one is judging you harder than you are yourself.
You can do it.
YOU are a good mother.
And, if you need a gentle reminder – pack up the kiddos and head to Target. I’ll probably be there and when I see you I will smile and say, “I know it’s crazy right now, but try to enjoy this time. It goes so fast.”
Alicia Lundal is the mother of three children: a 17 year old daughter, and two sons (ages 15 and 12). Alicia is on the quest to figure out what “fills her pitcher” in life, and derives much of her joy from caring for her family. Alicia enjoys watching her kids participate in all types of activities from recitals/musicals to sporting events. You can find her at the baseball field, in the bleachers at a gym or pool, and anywhere in between. Alicia has worked as a dance instructor/choreographer and as a public relations/advertising executive, but her favorite job by far is that of Mom. Each year their family also “adopts” a few college students from UW to “love on” through their church. She and her husband, Dave, moved to Madison in 2003 so they have been blessed to do much of their parenting here in Madtown. Dave and Alicia will celebrate 20 years of marriage in May 2015. And, it drives her daughter crazy that she won’t reveal her age.