I wish I hadn’t held my baby so much…said no mother, ever.

It’s 2 am and I’m holding him. Pacing the house with the quiet swaying rhythm that only a mother knows. My arms need rest. My body and soul need a few solid hours of sleep. But I continue to cradle him in my arms.

It’s the only place he seems peaceful. The only place he’ll sleep.

In the early morning hours, I lament the time I spent rocking my baby. I complain to my husband about my lack of sleep. I search Google for baby sleep solutions. Scour my parenting and children’s health books, hoping that tonight…tonight will be the night my babe sleeps for 5 hours straight.

Fast forward seven years and here I am…begging my second grader for hugs. Stealing a forehead kiss as he dashes out the car during morning drop-off. I wonder about his day. Does he sit with friends at lunchtime? Is he polite and respectful to his teacher? Is recess a time of fun for him and his friends or does it stress him out?

Is he safe, happy, thriving?…and the list goes on.

I now long for the simplicity of sleep-deprived nights, cradling a baby in my arms.  When all he needed was me. Holding him. Singing to him.

Loving him.

Now? It’s complicated. Already, at 7 years old.

Frustrations, hurts, stresses…not just a cradle rock away within the confines of my arms from making it all better. His world is bigger now. And my part in it seems tenuous and fragile.

I remember being in the thick of it, seeking advice from dear friends who had entered motherhood before me. At the time, their advice was simple but hard to heed…just hold your baby, it all goes by so fast.

And it does.

And you know it does. But in your sleep-deprived abyss, you cannot even fathom 2o minutes from now, much less seven years.

So, if you’re in the thick of it…searching Google for “ways to get your baby to sleep” or “why doesn’t my baby sleep through the night yet?”…

First? Hand your precious bundle over to your partner, your mother, or your best friend. Get a solid night of sleep. Then? Hold that baby like there’s no tomorrow. Because, quite frankly, tomorrow is seven years from now and I’ve never heard a mother regrettably exclaim…I wish I hadn’t held my baby so much.

In fact, it’s quite often the opposite.

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8 Responses to I wish I hadn’t held my baby so much…said no mother, ever.
  1. Rhea
    October 10, 2012 | 7:42 am

    I love this post. I forwarded it to all my mama friends with new babes! Quite the encouragement.

  2. Joanna
    October 10, 2012 | 7:52 am

    This is exactly what I needed to read today. My daughter (almost 2) had a nightmare last night and we were all up from 2:30-5:00. All she wanted was just for me to be with her, and I was. I had to get up by 6 to get to work, while she and my husband were able to sleep in. And did I mention I am 5 months pregnant and exhausted after a good night’s sleep? Anyway, I was definitely feeling frustrated and upset, but reading this has put it in perspective for me. I will catch up on sleep tonight, but I was there for her when she needed me. Someday, she won’t need me anymore, and I am sure I will miss these nights.

  3. Katherine
    October 10, 2012 | 7:52 am

    I’m hoping that I can take this to heart when my baby is born. I was so tired and stressed out with my first two, I’m hoping I can take it slower this time and just enjoy every moment I get to hold him.

  4. Ann Marie @ white house black shutters
    October 10, 2012 | 8:05 am

    Beautiful post, exactly what I needed to hear this morning. Thank you :)

  5. Tanya @ the sky and back
    October 11, 2012 | 6:16 am

    Oh my. Rhea sent me this post and I found myself crying my way through it. It is SO HARD to enjoy every moment, even though I know it will go by so fast. Even though I am already sad that my three-month little girl is so “old.” Between breastfeeding woes and the death of my mother, it’s been a difficult three months, but I just keep repeating to myself that time is fleeting and I need to treasure her babyhood.

    On Monday, I’m sending my daughter to daycare for the first time. Even though it’s a far cry from seven years old, it still feels like the first step in her independence from me. And that makes me really sad.

  6. Lauralee
    October 12, 2012 | 7:32 am

    As I hold my seven-week old, I am so happy I stumbled across this. I never want to put her down and people think I’m crazy. She gets bigger every day, and changes too! I’m going to hold and kiss her all morning. Thanks!

  7. Karen
    October 17, 2012 | 4:29 pm

    Provided me with much needed inspiration last night as I was trying to get my 3 month old to sleep at 3 AM and then 5 AM in the morning. With a slightly colicky baby as well as a 3 yr old that doesn’t sleep well, it’s been 3 months/yrs of sleepless nights for me – but this helps me remember that they are only tiny once and to cherish the moments, even the sleepless ones. Thanks for this!

  8. Jennifer
    November 5, 2012 | 10:42 am

    This is a great post. My son is 7 1/2 months and while he has for the most part slept through the night for a while he has had some regression and I have just been utterly exhausted. But after a nice nap yesterday I gladly woke up with him early this morning and dozed off with him in the recliner and it was just what I needed before the start of my day. Thank you for reminding us that they do grow up so fast and to enjoy EVERY minute of it!