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Be a big boy when you’re ready

"Be a big boy when you're ready. I won't rush you anymore. I will hold you when you ask me, and I'll still let you need me a little more."

Be a big boy when you’re ready

"Stand up on your own," I insisted. "You're a big boy." The words came out of my mouth, and I instantly felt regret.

To put things into context, I need to first go back. Things with my 20-month old have been trying lately. He is in a cycle of flip-flopping between asserting independence and wanting to constantly be held. I feel like my patience is being tested at every step, and earlier that day, things got out of hand.

I had just put him down for a nap and was really looking forward to having a break. I prepared lunch, poured an extra cup of coffee and got comfy in my favorite chair. Just as I was settling in, I turned to the monitor expecting to see a sleeping boy, only to find my son scaling the wall of his crib and opening his bedroom door. Up until that day he had never been able to do either of these things and yet there he was, marching down the hallway like he had just conquered the world.

I have to admit that at first I was amused at his triumphant smile and impressed by his abilities, but my enjoyment of the situation quickly changed as I spent the rest of his naptime putting him back into his crib and frantically trying to come up with a solution to keep him contained.

Needless to say, I didn't get the break I was desperate for, and by dinner time I was close to my breaking point. So as I tried to make dinner and he pulled at my legs, begging to be picked up, every instinct told me to resist.

I couldn't pick him up, food needed to be cooked. I wouldn't pick him up, he needed to learn to wait. I didn't pick him up, and instead, I looked him in the eye and demanded that he stand up on his own, "like a big boy."

He turned his head, stopped clinging to my legs, and I felt a pang of sadness pull at my chest. When he walked away and found something else to do, I knew it was good for him to understand the need to wait, and the need to respect the boundaries of others, but this knowledge didn't make me want to pat myself on the back. It made me want to cry as I realized that my baby was not yet a "big boy," and that he still needed me. Not just at that moment, but every day.

He needs me to explain things about the world that he doesn't understand, he needs me to listen to the words that he is trying to form and he needs me to give him love when his changing emotions are beyond his understanding or control. That night I may not have known why he wanted so desperately to be held, but at that moment he needed me, and I turned him away.

In saying the words, "Be a big boy," it's like I was trying to rush the process, and I suddenly wanted to scream for time to slow down. I became utterly aware of the fact that my baby would actually be a "big boy" someday.

When that day comes, the needs of a toddler will disappear and new demands will set in. He will demand space and privacy. He will demand I let him do things on his own. He will demand freedom, and he won't understand when I ask him to be held.

If I could go back to my son as he clung tightly to my legs, I'd scoop him up and hold him in my arms.

I'd make dinner one-handed and teach him how to stir.

I'd show him how to pour the spices.

I'd kiss his cheeks and give him tastes along the way.

I'd whisper in his ear and tell him, "Be a big boy when you're ready. I won't rush you anymore. I will hold you when you ask me, and I'll still let you need me a little more."


10 must-have registry items that will change your life, mama

The baby gear heavy hitters that should be top of your list

Calling all mamas-to-be! It's a fundamental truth of (impending) motherhood that your prepping-for-baby To Do list can feel a mile long, but really the best way to feel organized is to sort out the most important item at the top of your list: your registry. Sure the items you choose to include will end up running the gamut from nice-to-haves to absolutely essential game-changers, but mamas in the know quickly learn one thing: Not all baby gear is created equal.

So while you can and should pepper your registry with adorable inclusions that aren't necessarily can't-live-withouts (go ahead, add 'em!), you should make sure you're ticking the boxes on those pieces of baby gear that can be absolute life savers once you're in full-blown mama mode. From car seats to bouncers and playmats, your play and travel gear will be some of the most obvious important items on your list, but so can unexpected things, like a super comfy baby carrier and a snooze-inducing white noise machine. So to help you sort through the must-have options, we turned to the holy grail of motherhood that is buybuy BABY and handpicked 10 of the very best essential pieces that will change your life, we promise.

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I never wanted to be a mom. It wasn't something I ever thought would happen until I fell madly in love with my husband—who knew very well he wanted children. While he was a natural at entertaining our nephews or our friends' kids, I would awkwardly try to interact with them, not really knowing what to say or do.

Our first pregnancy was a surprise, a much-wanted one but also a unicorn, "first try" kind of pregnancy. As my belly grew bigger, so did my insecurities. How do you even mom when you never saw motherhood in your future? I focused all my uncertainties on coming up with a plan for the delivery of my baby—which proved to be a terrible idea when my dreamed-of unmedicated vaginal birth turned into an emergency C-section. I couldn't even start motherhood the way I wanted, I thought. And that feeling happened again when I couldn't breastfeed and instead had to pump and bottle-feed. And once more, when all the stress from things not going my way turned into debilitating postpartum anxiety that left me not really enjoying my brand new baby.

As my baby grew, slowly so did my confidence that I could do this. When he would tumble to the ground while learning how to walk and only my hugs could calm him, I felt invincible. But on the nights he wouldn't sleep—whether because he was going through a regression, a leap, a teeth eruption or just a full moon—I would break down in tears to my husband telling him that he was a better parent than me.

Then I found out I was pregnant again, and that this time it was twins. I panicked. I really cannot do two babies at the same time. I kept repeating that to myself (and to my poor husband) at every single appointment we had because I was just terrified. He, of course, thought I could absolutely do it, and he got me through a very hard pregnancy.

When the twins were born at full term and just as big as singleton babies, I still felt inadequate, despite the monumental effort I had made to grow these healthy babies and go through a repeat C-section to make sure they were both okay. I still felt my skin crawl when they cried and thought, What if I can't calm them down? I still turned to my husband for diaper changes because I wasn't a good enough mom for twins.

My husband reminded me (and still does) that I am exactly what my babies need. That I am enough. A phrase that has now become my mantra, both in motherhood and beyond, because as my husband likes to say, I'm the queen of selling myself short on everything.

So when my babies start crying, I tell myself that I am enough to calm them down.

When my toddler has a tantrum, I remind myself that I am enough to get through to him.

When I go out with the three kids by myself and start sweating about everything that could go wrong (poop explosions times three), I remind myself that I am enough to handle it all, even with a little humor.


And then one day I found this bracelet. Initially, I thought how cheesy it'd be to wear a reminder like this on my wrist, but I bought it anyway because something about it was calling my name. I'm so glad I did because since day one I haven't stopped wearing it.

Every time I look down, there it is, shining back at me. I am enough.

I Am Enough bracelet 

SONTAKEY  I Am Enough Bracelet

May this Oath Bracelet be your reminder that you are perfect just the way you are. That you are enough for your children, you are enough for your friends & family, you are enough for everything that you do. You are enough, mama <3

$35

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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Talking to kids can come so easily. They have thoughts about everything and stories for miles. They see the world in a completely different light, and could ask enough questions to fill an afternoon.

But sometimes finding the right words for talking to kids can be really, really challenging. When choosing how to respond to the marker on the wall, or the seemingly unending why-can't-I battle, or in simply keeping healthy communication open with kids who don't want to talk, the words don't seem to come so easily.

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