I’m not wishing away the diapers

On Sunday night, I settled into bed later than usual. I’m reading a fantastic book which always keeps me up past a reasonable hour. At any rate, I’d finally settled and was soundly asleep when I was jolted awake because of a few cries from the room across the hall.

My youngest son X was stirring in his sleep. I’m a light sleeper and it doesn’t take much to wake me. He called out a few times, but I stayed put, listening, hoping that he go back to sleep. I rarely jump when they call at night. I prefer to leave them for a bit to see if they can settle back in on their own.
Things got quiet for a bit, but before long he was really crying. I sighed a deep sigh, stepped out of bed, and crossed the hall only to discover that the poor little fella had a full diaper. I whisked him up, shushed him with some motherly comfort and promptly freshened him up. We had a quick, quiet cuddle and I settled him back into his crib. He protested loudly of course, but it wasn’t long before he slept peacefully again.
I, however, was now bright-eyed and completely awake. At 1:00 in the morning. I get up at 5:00 to go to work. I was irritated.
As I lay in bed, tossing and turning, I reached an important realization and understanding about myself as a mother.
In previous posts I’ve discussed how distracted I am by all the roles in my life. Like most of you, I service multiple competing priorities, each vying intensely for thinking space and my attention. I’m okay with this, but I’m also working on ways to better manage and tame them.
I know that I am not the most present mother, but I do consciously stop myself from wishing their life away. I refuse to wish him out of diapers.I think this quality is important too, just as important as focusing on being present. As I write this, I realize that some would argue that this is being present. Maybe. 
As I lay in bed last night struggling to rest easy once again, I could feel the irritation building. But I snuffed it out quickly and reminded myself that this time of nighttime interruptions, diaper changes, cuddles and comfort would pass all too quickly and he would grow up.  And I would most certainly miss it.
I have this perspective the second time around. I learned my lesson the first time when I spent lots of time thinking about a time when it would be easier, and not holding onto the joy of now. It’s also clearer with my second because I see him less at this age than I did my first. With my oldest son I went back to work three days a week when he was a year. I had extra days with him, to enjoy him and be part of his growing and learning.

With my second, I’m back to work five days a week. I hardly get to see him, some nights only for an hour. That hour is often so busy and full with dinner prep, baths, and bedtime wind down that there is often hardly a moment to breathe and really take him in. He changes so much in the five days we are apart that I’m also shocked by the time the weekend comes. It’s a double-edged sword. Because I don’t see him, the changes are stark and more noticeable. That can be interesting and fun. But it’s bittersweet, because I feel I’m missing this amazing part of his life. He’s becoming his own person, and each day his personality flourishes and changes. And of course, that breaks my heart. It’s a constant push-pull, the life of a working mother. I’m never 100% focused on anything, even the things that should matter the most.

So last night, as I lay in bed tired, but wide-awake I reminded myself: Don’t rush the moments, because in the blink of an eye he will change. The struggles and irritations and sleepless nights? They are hard.  But they come with so many more breathtaking and precious moments worth holding on to and savoring.
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29 thoughts on “I’m not wishing away the diapers

  1. Allison @ Alli 'n Son says:

    I have to stop and remind myself of this too. I often get wrapped up in what needs to be done each, grocery shopping, activities, cleaning, blogging, the list goes on and on, that I find I'm not 100% focused on being in the hear and now with my son. That's life, and it isn't going to change. But I can make a conscious effort to slow down and pay more attention, because these days won't last forever. And I'll surly miss them when they are gone.

  2. Allison @ Alli 'n Son says:

    I have to stop and remind myself of this too. I often get wrapped up in what needs to be done each, grocery shopping, activities, cleaning, blogging, the list goes on and on, that I find I'm not 100% focused on being in the hear and now with my son. That's life, and it isn't going to change. But I can make a conscious effort to slow down and pay more attention, because these days won't last forever. And I'll surly miss them when they are gone.

  3. Allison @ Alli 'n Son says:

    I have to stop and remind myself of this too. I often get wrapped up in what needs to be done each, grocery shopping, activities, cleaning, blogging, the list goes on and on, that I find I'm not 100% focused on being in the hear and now with my son. That's life, and it isn't going to change. But I can make a conscious effort to slow down and pay more attention, because these days won't last forever. And I'll surly miss them when they are gone.

  4. Allison @ Alli 'n Son says:

    I have to stop and remind myself of this too. I often get wrapped up in what needs to be done each, grocery shopping, activities, cleaning, blogging, the list goes on and on, that I find I'm not 100% focused on being in the hear and now with my son. That's life, and it isn't going to change. But I can make a conscious effort to slow down and pay more attention, because these days won't last forever. And I'll surly miss them when they are gone.

  5. Aging Mommy says:

    I think when my daughter was a baby I was most definitely guilty of this, but once she really started talking and interacting it all changed for me. It got easier, but it became so much fun, and so fascinating watching those little changes and developments that happen every single day. So I find myself often doing the opposite, grabbing ahold of her and wishing with all my heart that I could slow down time, even if only just a little.Lovely post Christine.

  6. Justine says:

    Oh Christine – I know all too well this special brand of heartache reserved just for us working mothers. My little one sleeps well most nights but when she wakes in the middle of the night and cries (or worse, when she actually calls out to me), my first instinct is to want to be there to hold her, but I know what would happen if I did. She will struggle even worse if I leave her and she will wake up again the next day for me to come back, and again and again. It would start a bad cycle. And for someone who also has to be awake around 5am the next day for work, I just can’t afford to run to her each time she needs me. And so I lay awake, trying to steel my resolve against a crying baby, wishing desperately at the same time to be there because I really just want to see her. Because I miss her. But it passes – her crying that is, as she eventually falls back asleep within a few minutes. Not my pain though. It pierces me so deeply that no amount of her silence from lulling herself back to sleep or my subsequent crying can alleviate its intensity. Yes, the weekends are priceless. At least then I could wake up to her – and she to me.

  7. Stacia says:

    I was just wishing the diapers away as I changed my son's naptime blowout and thought of the minutes of scarce free time it was costing me. Shame on me! Thank you, Christine, for this reminder to slow down, take it in, let it be … because it won't always be, will it??

  8. Corinne says:

    I'm the same way, trying to not wish away the babyhood of my second. Like you, I wished away so many moments of Fynn's, but now I'm almost clinging. It goes by so very fast.

  9. Amy Whitley says:

    You're a very patient mother to consciously not wish away diapers when you've been woken because of them at 1 am. I applaud that. I, too, am not very 'present' and I try hard to remember to be. It's so hard when they're small not to crave the ease of the older child years.

  10. Elizabeth Flora Ross says:

    I have written some very similar posts myself. I think in many ways it is our nature to want to move things along. But then they do and we miss those times and want them back. It goes by SO fast it is scary.This is a great post!I hope you get more sleep tonight. 😉 And congrats on finding a new day care situation!

  11. Rudri says:

    I hear you Christine. I think of my daughter and sometimes I wish she was older and then I stop and pause. Do I really wish that? I struggle with the now and embracing the present. I am working on it. Thanks for the reminder.

  12. Maureen@IslandRoar says:

    That last paragraph is beautiful and so true. I am so far past this with my older kids. I'd kinda love to see one of them happy to see me, even in the middle of the night.

  13. Leslie says:

    I don't wish mine out of diapers, either, though I ought to be potty training (and I am. A little.). I too try to keep myself from wishing away things I'll later wish to have back again. And boy, I hear you on the weekend-to-weekend changes. They're astonishing.

  14. Kate says:

    Christine, lovely! I get caught in what's next too easily. These are fleeting moments, full of change. Thanks for the reminder.

  15. existere says:

    I found this really beautiful – it touched something deep in me. No lie – also made my eyes moist. Thanks for this.

  16. Jana@Attitude Adjustment says:

    Beautiful post, Christine. I, too, have to remind myself to enjoy the changes of kids. I remember the difference when I was working vs. now, when I'm home. I had this problem with thinking the grass was always greener. Now, I'm trying to just look for the green in my own grass.

  17. @WannabeMomErin says:

    I just wanted to leave a quick comment saying that I do read your posts, but I don't always have the time to comment on them.You write so well, Christine. Keep up the great work.

  18. Chantal says:

    I say the same things to myself daily. And you would think that the 3rd time around I wouldn't have to. But I do. Although I won't miss diapers, I hate those 🙂

  19. Hyacynth says:

    I feel the same way about my second! I made the mistake of getting irritated with my first's babyness at times. I consciously think about hoe quickly it goes by with my 9 mo old (who I'm presently trying to snuggle to sleep for his nap; can't look at his eyes or we both giggle). I also know what you mean when you say there's too much diving your attention; you always feel split. Sometimes when I have a lot of business meetings during the week, I feel this too.

  20. ShannonL says:

    Christine, you are such a thoughtful person. The fact that you think about these things and reflect and consciously make an effort to remember and savour the little moments of your boys shows that you *are* present. I am not good at this at all. I wish away things on what feels like a daily basis. I wished away the diapers and now I'm wishing away the butt-wiping! 🙂 But that means I'm wishing her childhood away. Soon she won't need me for anything but money and a ride to her friend's house. I need to just savour the moments. Thanks for the reminder.

  21. mylittlemiracle says:

    I read this post after a night of "is he EVER going to bed". Thank you for reminding me that I need to enjoy the moments because they pass so quickly. He's my one and only which I waited a very long time for. Today's struggle to keep alert due to lack of sleep last night is well worth it!

  22. Brittany at Mommy Words says:

    Christine what a great reminder! I wish away the diapers because Miles has a GI issue and they are GROSS! but I never wish away the nightime cuddles and calls for Mommy because they are the most beautiful quiet moments I can remember with any of my kids. I have trouble giving up the nightime feeding, the lullabies in the pitch black stillness of th night – all the love that is in those moments!It is wonderful that you are conscious of how many things will someday be gone and should be treasured in some ways.Great post!

  23. ck says:

    I'm going through the same thing with my second daughter. I find I'm more relaxed and able to handle the moments of insanity a little better because I KNOW she'll only be 2 for a little while. It does race by quickly. (But still, even armed with that knowledge, it's hard to be happy about being awake when you only have a few hours to sleep…IF you're able to fall back asleep.)

  24. Charlotte says:

    I try to find the balance of presence, too. Not looking forward too much to the next stages (I've learned they come eventually) and not pining over the stages that are finished. Just enjoying and being amazed at who they are NOW.

  25. sharon says:

    You're such a beautiful writer and I admire you 🙂 So what book are you reading?

  26. Amber says:

    Drat. Charlotte stole my comment. Whether or not you stay at home with your children, you will find they grow so much faster than you anticipate. One moment they are sweet little newborns, the next they are starting high school. I say cherish each and every moment and get rid of any guilt that might remain. Because, honestly, you can't do it all or capture every single moment. But doing your best is the (excuse the repetition) best you can do for your kids.

  27. shafeena says:

    Lovely Post, things that i have to remember to say these things to myself too every-time my son is up at 3 in the night !!! 🙂 great blog !!!

  28. Sarah says:

    When I was 13, I was anticipated a big trip and I said to a friend "I can't wait! I wish I could fast-forward to the summer" (or something to that effect).His mother overheard and said "Never wish away your life. Look forward to things, anticipate things, but never wish away what will happen between now and then."Wise. That has stuck with me for 20 years.

  29. Amber says:

    I have a very similar perspective with my second. It really does go so fast, and then you miss it. Even the parts that don't seem like much fun in the moment. I wish I'd seen this much sooner, to be honest.

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