Leaning Into Your Littles

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You did it, mama. You created a tiny human and birthed it into the world. 

And now, you’re in the trenches, the little years, surrounded by mountains of dirty diapers on one side and dirty laundry on the other.

You’ve accepted that sacrifice is your new mode of existence. Sleep, warm meals, personal space, your sanity—those are luxuries of the past. 

In the midst of tears and tantrums and messes and madness it’s so easy, so natural even, to wish it all away. We’ve all been there. We’re all guilty of thinking it. “I can’t wait till they’re older.”

But mama, that child wildly flinging food around the restaurant, he will never be that little again. And that baby girl who for whatever reason REFUSES to wear the very dress she adored just last week, it won’t be long before she’s locked in her room for hours, picking her own outfit and perfecting her makeup and all. grown. up.

So today, I challenge you. Next time they drive you insane, next time you’ve reached your limit and find yourself desperately clinging to that “someday” that seems forever away…lean into their littleness instead.

Lean into their wonder.

When was the last time you fell entranced by the afternoon light dancing among the leaves rustled by the wind? Or took the time to notice a rock on the ground, let alone stop to pick it up and admire it from every angle?

Magic and beauty exist everywhere in the world around us, and our littles are masters at seeing it. Lean into life with them, and let yourself be awed.

Lean into their clinginess.

For the first nine months of their life, you were their home. You were all the knew, all they felt, all they heard, all they smelled. And two months, twelve months, three years later, when it is still you they come running to, you and only you who can stop their tears in a second, lean into it, mama. What an honor, what a gift to be so familiar to another person that when they are tired or cranky or hurting, only you can bring them comfort.

Lean into their curiosity. 

“Why this, what’s that, how come, but mama whyyyy?” A thousand questions a day. Maybe even a thousand questions an hour. Their little brains are sponges and you are the fountain of knowledge they’re standing under, waiting to soak up every detail you drip on them.

Right now, you are the authority figure in their life, their first and most important teacher, and they come to you because you know everything. It’s exhausting, no doubt, but lean into it now while in their eyes you still know it all…because it won’t be long before they decide you don’t know anything.

Lean into their tears.

We know it’s not a big deal, but to them, this really is the worst pain they’ve ever felt or the meanest you’ve ever been or the most unfair thing that’s ever happened to them. Their innocent minds have yet to be touched by the weight of the world. Kiss those boo boos while you still have magical healing power and bribe them with cookies while cookies still secure their forgiveness.

Lean into their determination.

They want to be independent so dang bad. To walk down the stairs without you holding their hand and dress themselves and put their shoes on all on their own and it’s all sweet and adorable but you really need to be pulling out of your driveway oh, about ten minutes ago?!?! Lean into it anyway.

Cheer on their accomplishments, show them how proud you are that they did that all on their own! Besides, is anything really more important than that mushy feeling you get in your heart when you see their pride radiating from their entire face?

Lean into their chaos.

The piles of dirty clothes, the piles of clean-but-not-folded clothes, the dishes in the sink, the stacks of mail, the toys strewn from bedroom to backyard. THEY. DON’T. CARE.

And for that matter, neither do your mom friends who come over for playdates and wine nights. In fact, your lived-in looking house is probably a RELIEF to the mama who feels like she’s the only one who can’t keep her children from using the walls as their coloring book.

Lean into the hard days.

All the testing of your limits, the “no’s,” the manipulation, the big emotions overflowing from small bodies—frankly, there are times when this parenting gig just plain sucks.

But think of what a privilege you have to mold that tiny mind. Seek out those opportunities to have conversations about respect and honesty and kindness, the kinds of conversations that little by little are shaping the next the next generation.

So mama, lean in hard to your littles.  It’s not always easy; Lord knows it’s rarely easy. But these little years will be over before you know it and you’ll find yourself missing the parts of it you thought would never end. Time will fly by without you wishing it along, so lean in now while your littles are still little.

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