As busy moms (and dads) the days can feel really, really, long. With young kids it’s hard to keep our expectations in check. The reality is that babies and toddlers (and preschoolers) can be little tiny terrors. They are exhausting, bossy, and mouthy, small humans. But they are also wonderful, sweet, kind, caring, and oh-so-very smart.
But it seems like I am always bouncing between losing my mind and being in awe of their greatness. And so, in those less-than-awesome-moments, I’m constantly reminding myself that I need to Let Them Be the little people that they are.
1. Let them have your attention. Put the cell phone/tablet/computer down when they want to snuggle. Ari is in this stage where every time he hears and sees a Huggies commercial on TV, he says “Aww Mommy!! Look!” and insists on giving me a giant snuggly hug. Because, babies. And it’s in these moments that I realize just how spacey and in my own head I can be. But life is about hugs and tiny moments like this.
2. Let them crawl into bed with you. There’s much debate about bedsharing, and I even have friends who think I’m absolutely nuts for not forcing Ari into his own bed. But I also know that he won’t be 15 and sleeping in my bed. They grow up. So I enjoy it while I can — all of the kicking and fussing and blanket-stealing — it’s all worth it.
3. Let them get messy. I’ll admit it — I’m very type-A when it comes to messes with kids. I despise playing with PlayDoh and paint, but these are actually constants in my daily life. But I try to keep it as ‘organized messes,’ meaning that they are able to be isolated in their nonsense and still get creative. Because these messy moments? They not only create memories, but also confidence in ‘doing’ things for themselves.
4. Let them melt down. Listen, I’m not talking about the “I want this candy/toy,” meltdown in the middle of Target; but a productive meltdown. Our tiny humans are just learning to cope with everything we’re throwing at them. And life can be difficult, ya’ll! Even when you’re three! In these moments I try (keyword: try!) to take a deep breath and give Ari some tips on how to express himself with words (his favorite saying is “Mommy, I’m just so frustrated!”). Just let them feel all the feelings and encourage them to communicate with you.
5. Let them use their imaginations. Over the last year (particularly between the ages of 3 and 4), I’ve noticed how crazy amazing Ari’s imagination has gotten! I constantly overhear him playing make-believe with his friends and, while I don’t always understand the allure of zombies, I can certainly appreciate the active imagination. So even if you don’t understand what the heck they’re thinking (boys are weird, ya’ll), let them be with their crazy thoughts. Even if it’s annoying (note: it will be annoying sometimes).
6. Let them know love. That’s the biggest, ya’ll. Just show them love. They won’t remember the Pinterest projects and crock pot dinners. They will remember the feeling of being safe and loved; they will remember the hugs and kisses; and they will remember love. So give it freely; give it often; and give it unconditionally.