For your whole adult life, you are responsible for you. It’s all about you. What you want to do, what you want to eat – you you you.
Until one day, it’s not anymore. You find yourself with this tiny human that relies on you for everything.
Once I let that sink in, I felt so stressed. You can read blogs and books, watch videos on YouTube, and talk to your doctor – but one of these days, you’re going to find yourself in the bathroom (I mean stuck in the bathroom) when your child is screaming their head off and crying. So you start crying too.
This is real life ya’ll.
I don’t mean to stress you out. Having a child is a beautiful thing. It’s a miracle really. You have this amazing, little human that looks up to you, mimics you, and learns from you.
It’s amazing to watch them grow and learn. You can see hope in their eyes as they bask in the world around them, finding pleasure in the simple things in life. I finally found myself wondering, when did the magic disappear from my own life? Why can she be so damn happy about a bubble or an airplane in the sky, but I can’t get work off my mind?
I know you are supposed to teach your toddlers, but sometimes they teach you too.
1. Imperfections Don’t Matter
I was never a neat freak by any stretch of the imagination – but after my daughter was born, it’s like some primitive cleaning switch turned on. I was on maternity leave, and felt like I needed to clean all the things. Every chance I got, I was cleaning bottles, doing laundry, and picking up toys.
I remember one day, a friend stopped by. My brain was like, “Oh, this is the perfect time to wash bottles.” So, that’s what I did – instead of visiting and hanging out with my friend. I look back and want to smack myself.
Children don’t need perfection. They don’t care if the laundry is a little behind, you have messy hair, or maybe you haven’t showered today.
Children want your time and to know that you will always be there to help them build with Mega Blocks, to play hide and seek, and to chase them around.
Once I realized this, I started to let go of things I can’t change or can’t keep up with – like that laundry pile, and started focusing on things that matter. My family, my daughter, and our time together.
2. Appreciate the Little Things
I admit it, I am a busy person. There is almost always running to-do list in my head of things that I need to get done, bills I have to pay, and thinking about ways that I’m going to make all this happen.
I’m in a hurry most of the time, and tend to get antsy when things do not go my way. This is one habit I’m trying to break.
My daughter though – she’s a different story. Toddlers are never in a rush to get anywhere. They don’t have deadlines or a care in the world. They appreciate the world around them, such as the kids playing on the soccer field as we are driving by, or that bubble floating in the air from using too much dish soap.
One thing I’ve learned from her is to stop and don’t take life too seriously. I have started appreciating the miracle that somehow I am still here, and I have the privilege of being her mother.
The biggest thing here is slowing down and getting out of my own head. Appreciate the little moments, and the times you will miss someday – and all the little things that we so often take for granted.
3. Laughing at Nothing
I really tend to be a serious person. Afterall, I am forced to adult daily. (I mean, why though?!)
Especially after the birth of my daughter, I’ve noticed that my sense of humor is not what it used to be. I get annoyed with my fiancé when we can’t have a serious conversation. That honestly used to be one of the best parts of our relationship – being able to make me laugh no. matter. what.
Toddlers have the best sense of humor though – I think mostly because they are so innocent. Life hasn’t brought them down. You can say one word and they are laughing.
Laughing at nothing has become one of my favorite pastimes with my daughter. We can laugh and laugh, at honestly – nothing. Most of the time, I am able to let worries go, and just laugh. Laughing more is definitely in my future.
4. Patience is a Virtue (Really…)
Patience is not my strongest trait. I am the kind of person that checks my email for a tracking number like two seconds after I order something.
Yeah… I know.
I just don’t like to wait. For anything really. I want instant results and instant gratification, with anything I do.
When I became a parent, I started reading books and articles of when babies and toddlers were usually doing this or that, like crawling, sleeping through the night, walking, talking, etc. All the major milestones. I can’t say that there was really any one milestone that Olivia was behind on.
But, I found myself constantly looking forward to what was happening next. “I can’t wait until she starts walking…” I was so caught up in this, that I lost out on enjoying the stage she was in.
The takeaway – Babies and toddlers aren’t on our schedule. They don’t all walk, talk, or potty train at the same time. And that’s okay. Patience, my dear. Patience.
This is also true when you have a toddler that is refusing to eat, throwing their toys, and/or screaming “no!” – possibly all in the same day. Patience, my dear, Patience….
5. Enjoy Life
I can’t tell you how long I’ve lived my life without actually living. I know it’s a weird concept to grasp. Yet, honestly, that is how I feel my life has gone for some time now – until my daughter of course. I always had it in my head that life will finally be nice after “this” happens, or “that” happens. I’ve sat back and watched other people do the things I wish I could do.
Once my daughter was born, I finally realized that I needed to get out there and make things happen – rather than waiting for something big to happen in my life. I went back to school when my daughter was only 5 months old (If you are thinking about doing this too, I have an article here: Surviving College While Working)
I graduated, started a blog, and now I’m on a weight loss journey as well. My daughter, although she was so little, made me realize that life is precious. It is flying by, and nothing is going to change unless I get up and change it myself. And that’s just what I intend to do. Get up, and enjoy life.
Although she doesn’t know this yet, my daughter has made me a better person, and she continues to do so each and every day. She allows me to see the world through her eyes, and for that, I’m forever grateful.