Halfway… Encouragement for the REALLY Long Days!

posted by Andrea | 08/24/2017
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Last week, Dave and I were talking about the fact that we are basically halfway in our parenting journey to fairly independent, school-age children.

You see, we’ve been parents for almost 6 years now… and in another 6 years (assuming we don’t have any more children after this next baby) our “baby” will be almost 6 and heading off to Kindergarten!

So we’ve made it halfway!

Halfway through the newborn, baby, toddler stage where they need us for EVERY. SINGLE. THING.

Halfway through the sleepless nights.

Halfway through the potty training, wetting the bed, changing their pants 7 times a day stage.

Halfway through the terrible twos and threes (although I personally don’t think they are all that terrible)!

Halfway through the stage of 80 billion “whys” for days and weeks on end.

Halfway through the stage where someone ALWAYS walks in on you when you’re going to the bathroom, or wakes up and needs you when you’re taking a shower.

Halfway through the stage of lugging diaper bags, strollers, pack ‘n plays, high chairs, booster seats, and car seats everywhere we go.

You get the idea!

In a way, the last 6 years have been the hardest, most challenging, most exhausting, most frustrating, and most humbling years of my life… and in many other ways, they’ve been the most fun, most silly, most cherished, most enjoyed years of my life.

I’m not planning to rush the next 6 years — nor do I think I glazed over the past 6 years. I just think it’s interesting to note that in many ways, our family is officially halfway through the “little kid” stage of life.

Most of the time, that realization makes me SO HAPPY… but in 6 short years, when I’m actually standing in the hall after my little girl walks into her Kindergarten classroom for the first time, I know it will feel bittersweet.

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I do realize that in 6 years, our lives will be filled with completely different challenges, exhaustion, frustrations, busyness, stressfulness, and most likely humility… but that isn’t something I’m worrying about just yet.

For now, I’ve got roughly 6 more years to be with these small people who sometimes drive me absolutely crazy… but most of the time make me wonder how I got so stinkin’ lucky!

They say “the days are long” — boy are they ever…

They say “the years are short” — I’m learning this is also true (but in a good way!)

I think it is virtually impossible to grasp how quickly time with little children flies by until you are well on your way to bigger children. I knew it would go quickly, everyone told me it would go quickly, but wow, do the days ever seem to CRAWL along when we’re right in the middle of them!

I’m currently smack in the middle of long day and short years… and I can finally see both sides.

After 6 years of parenting, I have enough perspective to be able to look back and see how far we’ve come, how much we’ve been through, and (yes) how quickly those years flew by.

There are still SO many excruciatingly LOOOOOOOOONG days, but at least I know the kids will be in bed soon enough, I’ll be able to regroup, and we can start over the next day.

Because before I know it, my baby will be in school all day and I’ll look back with rose-colored glasses on the days when tiny footsteps woke me up at night and how “sweet” it was to rock them back to sleep 🙂

If you are in the thick of LOOOOONG days without enough parenting perspective to look back and see how far you’ve come, just know you aren’t alone. I think I can speak for all parents in saying, “We’ve all been there!”

Don’t feel like you should enjoy every moment. Don’t worry about a few bad moments, days, or even weeks because your children most likely won’t remember any of it. Don’t feel the need to be the happy mom all day, every day. And don’t let yourself feel guilty for turning the TV on and locking yourself in the bathroom for a few minutes of peace and quiet.

One day in the not too distant future, you will wake up and see the light at the end of the tunnel. You will be halfway (maybe more) and realize just how far you’ve come and everything you’ve accomplished over the years.

You’ll probably feel so much satisfaction, so much joy, and maybe even a little relief!

For now, just focus on enjoying at least a few special moments TODAY… and feel free to roll your eyes at anyone who tells you, “The day are long, but the years are short.” 

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I’ll close with a sweet story about a recent VERY LONG DAY at the Dekker house…

Last week Saturday, our kids were driving Dave and I insane. They woke up WAY too early, they were whiny, grumpy, and crabby most of the day — despite the fact that we had several fun things planned for them.

They complained about all our attempts to do something fun or special, they kept begging for snacks and candy, and were stubborn at meal times, refusing to eat their food.

To top it all off, we had company coming for dinner, so we knew they wouldn’t get to bed nearly as early as they normally do… AND Simon peed his pants all over the kitchen floor RIGHT before we were ready to sit down for dinner (after insisting he did not have to go!)

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By the time we got them all to bed, Dave and I were SO mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted — and we still had to finish cleaning up the house, picking up the outside toys, and work on staining our shed.

As we sat on the couch, willing our home and yard to simply clean itself up, Dave said, “can you believe we’ll have another one next month!?”

I literally felt like crying — the thought of being responsible for 1 more human was just so overwhelming.

We finally fell into bed around midnight… and just hours later, James woke up crying.

I slowly dragged my aching body up the stairs, so annoyed to be awake at this hour of the night… and as I walked up the stairs, Simon met me outside his room saying he wet the bed.

Flames were practically shooting out of my ears!

I told James I would be right back, brought Simon to the bathroom and changed his clothes, took the top layer of sheets off his bed, and got him back into bed. Then I picked James up and rocked him in the chair for a few minutes before putting him back in bed.

As I was leaving the room, James popped his head up and said, “Mommy, a lub you so much… nigh nigh!”

Simon immediately popped his head up and said, “I love you too Mom… see you in the morning.”

After assuring both of them I loved them SO much, I walked back downstairs happy and content — like the last 24 hours of horribleness never even happened. I fell asleep instantly, and when I woke up the next morning, I realized THIS is what is so special about little kids.

They can be such a handful and SO MUCH WORK, but they are so sweet, forgiving, and loving — even if we’re short-tempered with them and make it fairly obvious that we are extremely annoyed to be cleaning up their pee at 3:00 in the morning.

Yes, life will be even crazier in a few more weeks when #4 arrives. We will most likely have some very long days when I question why we ever wanted children in the first place. And there will probably be times when I hand the “reigns” over to Dave the minute he walks in the door from school and just go for a walk because I NEED TO GET OUT OF THE HOUSE.

That’s OK because in just a few more years, I might be completely done with the exhausting baby and toddler phase of parenting and moving on to the next phase.

I can handle a few more years of sleeplessness…right?

After all, we’re already halfway!

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23 comments

  1. Bree

    08/25/2017

    Aw I feel your pain and sentiment! My youngest baby is now 1, I also have a 2 year old, 4 yo and 7 yo. I clearly remember feeling just before he was born HOW can I possibly stretch myself to look after another little one!! But you do just take it one day at a time!! I do catch myself daydreaming about the day they are all independent but then I know I will miss these days too! Bittersweet for sure!!

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  2. Hannah

    08/24/2017

    What a brilliant post!
    I am hoping that there is one more baby in my near future, my older three are 11, 8 and 4. You really summed up so much about motherhood. Love this blog, it really is the best.

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Hannah 🙂

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  3. Karen Miller

    08/24/2017

    What I would give to have those years back! I can say that now!! I have a 26 year old son and a 16 year old daughter that has her own used car. She doesn’t need me much anymore and is doing dual enrollment in high school and classes at our local college. I really miss those days of having my kids around me all the time. Please don’t let those precious days of enjoying all the time that your kids seem endless. They do grow way too fast Andrea. Enjoy.

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    Andrea Reply:

    sounds like you must have done a good job with them when they were little because they seemed to have turned out well. I think parenting is one of the few jobs where if you do it “right” you’ll work yourself out of a job sooner than later!

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  4. BB

    08/24/2017

    Oh, Andrea, what a wonderful post! Our kids our in their 30’s now, and we have a 2 year old grand-daughter and a grandson on the way between the middle and end of Oct. I chuckled and got moist eyes all the way through this post. And the other commenters are right – you have a very honest way of talking about this subject. Thanks for the memories and the chuckles/moist eyes!

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    Andrea Reply:

    glad to give you a few laughs and good memories!

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  5. Meghan

    08/24/2017

    This is the best piece of writing about motherhood on the internet. It’s the way it really is and the way it should be lived. Honest and beautiful.

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    Andrea Reply:

    wow — thanks Meghan 🙂

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    Momtwo2 Reply:

    I second Meghan! As another mom in the throes of long days, reading this piece was so refreshing. Yes, there still are those days that you count down the hours to bedtime, but you wouldn’t trade it in for anything else in the world, ever. They are so so dear :). Thank you for your honesty 🙂 and hang in there!!

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  6. Avia

    08/24/2017

    I think I’ve had almost the exact same day! It’s so nice to hear I’m not the only one in the trenches!!

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  7. Iliana

    08/24/2017

    This is a beautiful post Andrea!! So real and bittersweet!! You have touched many hearts with this post.

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  8. Michelle

    08/24/2017

    This brought me to tears too. And brought back a flood of memories.

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  9. Kelly Hess

    08/24/2017

    Today I just sent my third (and baby) off to kindergarten. I now have a 6th, 3rd and kindergartener, I feel like it is an end of an era. For the last 11 1/2 years we have had a little one at home and now they are all off. I was sad, but I realized it is just a new chapter in our lives. An exciting chapter that doesn’t include waking up in the middle of the night with babies and toddlers and more independent children! Last week my husband took a trip just the two of us, we are looking forward to many more of those!

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    Andrea Reply:

    oh wow — hope the day went well for everyone.
    And yes, Dave and I have already talked about how we will SOMEDAY take a fun trip with just the 2 of us. We really haven’t done that since our honeymoon 11 years ago — so we’re due!

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  10. Mara Yager

    08/24/2017

    Loved this post, thank you for sharing about that long day. We’ve had lots of similar days recently and I feel so frustrated! Why can’t we ever get out of the house before “x” time, why can’t I ever have time to do “x” thing. etc etc etc. It helps HEARING someone else’s days are similar occasionally. I know everyone else goes through it, but you can feel isolated at times, like you are the “only one”! Also, trying those Johnsonville Burger Brats tonight 🙂 Thanks for the recommendation, we’re looking forward to something new (and easy)!

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    Andrea Reply:

    You’ll LOVE the brat burgers!! We have them on our menu for this weekend!

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  11. Kate

    08/24/2017

    This entire post brought tears to my eyes and touched me on many levels. I totally get it! Thanks for the perspective!

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  12. Pam

    08/24/2017

    My only child is 13 now and her favorite thing is hearing stories about those looooong, exhausting days and the things she did to drive my husband and me to the brink! I also kept a notebook handy to jot down all the funny things she said and she loves to read this notebook…it makes her laugh so hard. So, all these stories will serve a purpose…entertainment when they are older!

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes, I’ve been told to “write all the funny stuff down”, but I don’t 🙁
    I take lots of pictures and I record a lot on my blog — maybe eventually I’ll start writing things down… otherwise I know I’ll forget!

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  13. Kimberley

    08/24/2017

    I know others have said this before but it’s so true…I LOVE how honest you are. There’s no “I LOVE being a mom” 24/7…it’s just not reality, and when you say in a public way, it makes me feel so much better about how I feel sometimes.

    Thing is, I love my kids with all my heart and would do ANYTHING for them. But there are days when I feel totally overwhelmed and wonder “wow, was I meant to be a parent because I feel like I kinda suck at this”. In the end, I realize that I am a good parent…I am there for my kids, provide for them and love them so much (more then they will ever know) and I also realize that no one is perfect. You are so right, they are the most forgiving people in my life…when I am angry and say harsh things but say sorry, they say “it’s ok mom, love you”! How can I not love this life!!!

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    Michelle Reply:

    You posted my thoughts exactly. I needed this read after some bad moments before lunch when I definitely questioned why after almost 6 years I can still have such a hard time being a mom. I’m far from perfect but I need to forgive myself a little, be thankful for their forgiveness and just try to do better. It helps to remember I’m not the only one with days like this. Thanks, Andrea

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    Andrea Reply:

    definitely not the only one!

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