The days are long, but the years are short is a very truthful saying, perhaps one you’ve heard.
Early morning risers, picky breakfast eaters, nap fighters, homework whiners, and bedtime challengers can make for long days.
Yet despite how long those days feel, one day you wake up and your nap fighter won’t get out of bed because he’s a drowsy teen.
Ways To Cherish Your Children While You Can
You’ll wonder where the time went, and you’ll miss the early morning cuddles.
You’ll wonder if your child knows how much you cherish them.
You’ll wonder if you appreciated the sweet and tender moments found in everyday life with little kids.
Are You So Wrapped Up In Being A Mother That You’re Not Mothering?
One definition of mothering is to bring up a child with care and affection. Some days we go through the motions of bringing up a child and we forget the care and affection part.
We’re so wrapped up in our role as mother, we aren’t mothering our children.
It’s easy to go through the motions and focus on the day’s to-dos. You’re busy from the moment your early riser wakes you. You crash at the end of the day wondering if you even had a moment where a little one wasn’t hanging onto you.
Yet despite all the care you give, all the contact you provide, if you’re anything like me, sometimes you realise you didn’t cherish your children that day.
You spent time with them, but you didn’t soak in their joy. You didn’t notice the preciousness of the smiles that comes simply from seeing their mama.
You met your child’s needs, you of course always love them, but some days, we forget to cherish them. We feel the long days, but we forget how short the years are. We forget we only have so much time to cherish our children.
25 Ways To Cherish Your Children
Why would we need a list to remember to cherish our children? After all, we’re mothers and we love them.
We’re human. We’re busy mothers. Our role isn’t always appreciated. Our importance is sometimes forgotten. When that happens, we tend to fall into trying to have and do it all. We try to perfect our role, and in that we sometimes forget to cherish.
This list reminds us just how many opportunities we have to cherish and soak in our special little beings:
- Smell your baby’s head.
- Watch your children sleep.
- Be fun, play with them!
- Wash your older child’s hair sometimes and take the time to brush it.
- Pick them up from school early and go have an adventure. Anything unexpected can be a memory maker even if it’s as simple as heading out for a picnic.
- Cuddle them during a movie night or during Saturday morning cartoons.
- Co-sleep full or part time when you have a little one. And then, when they’re older, let them sneak in sometimes. Morning cuddles make wonderful memories.
- Let them jump in the mud and memorise their joyous smiles, forget about the stained jeans.
- Take your child for a one on one “coffee” date.
- Actively listen as if they’re telling you the most important details in the world. To them, they’re the most important words. The stories won’t always be exciting, but the more you engage, the more you learn about your child. You get to soak in the sweet and silly parts of their personality as they tell you about their day or the duck they saw crossing the road.
- Don’t rush through each stage. It’s hard to do the midnight feeds, but treasure those quiet moments to snuggle. The crazy toddler can be hard to keep safe, but we can learn and enjoy so much from watching their risk taking and perseverance!
- Put down your phone and make eye contact when they speak to you.
- Climb into their bed to read them a story. Let them fall asleep on your shoulder.
- Wear your baby and toddler. Enjoy the closeness while also getting things done. Make errands not only bearable, but a time to bond.
- Capture them in videos and pictures.
- Sing and dance with them. Even if you have no rhythm, they won’t mind!
- Have a special routine with each child for bed, bath, etc. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant.
- Share a cup of tea after school and reconnect.
- Let a chore wait and rock your baby or read your toddler a book.
- Give your child a massage. The oxytocin will be good for both of you!
- Build a fort with couch cushions and read a story by flashlight.
- Unplug from phones, social media, etc. at specified times like dinner, bedtime and family trips.
- Occasionally break your own rules. Have dessert before dinner, stay out after dark and catch fireflies, or stay up late with your teen to watch a favorite movie.
- Record the everyday moments, not just big events. When your children leave your home, it’s the everyday things you’ll miss most.
- Enjoy the “irritating” but totally child appropriate behavior. It’s hard to imagine missing the loud singing, jumping on the bed or even sibling squabbles. While every mama desires a moment’s peace, nearly every adult mother misses the everyday chaos. You won’t always love it, but try to find the joy in it!
You don’t have to love every moment of parenting. You don’t have to love every phase. It’s okay to be exhausted. It’s okay to feel like the days are long.
However, the years really are incredibly short. You have just 18 summers with your child at home. You have just a few months or a few years of midnight snuggles. Cherish your children while you can.