Since becoming a mommy, I have been told by friends and family with older children time and again that this stage in my child's development is the “best" time and that I should really just stop to soak it all in.
I find it interesting that people with older kids often look back to when their kids were younger as the “best" of times.
Maybe I'm naïve and truly have no idea what to expect in my child's future, but I really feel that right now should be viewed as the “best" time. To me, it's a matter of perspective and just about being present in the moment with my sweet little girl.
I adored my daughter when she was toothless and I enjoy her now with her eight teeth—even when she fights the toothbrush. I will make sure that I continue to enjoy her as she transforms with each day, week, month, and year.
Even when I am right in the middle of something(like writing a blog post) and I have to stop what I am doing because she is coming to me with her arms reaching out for a mama hug...Truthfully, it is difficult not to enjoy that moment!
This is not to say that each period of a child's development doesn't present a unique set of challenges. The newborn phase looks very different from the toddler phase. The elementary school years look very different from middle and high school years.
But a child is an accumulation of all the moments that make up his or her past. I see that as an astonishingly beautiful thing. This little person is constantly growing fuller, richer, and wiser. The unique personality that they give you a glimmer of as an infant grows stronger with each passing day.
The days may seem long but the years are so short. Because of this, motherhood has taught me to live in the moment. When we spend too much time looking back or looking forward, we miss the now.
I don't want to be that woman who looks back years from now and thinks, “I wish I had spent more time with my child when she was younger."
To me, living in the moment with my family means reducing the number of scheduled activities in my child's life and just being together. I do not need not to keep my every waking moment busy.
I try to occasionally assess the health of my family life by taking a moment to think of the kind of lifestyle I am currently living—and how that differs from the lifestyle I would like to live.
I ask myself what my weekends look like with my family—and how that differs from the weekends I would ideally wish for with my family.
I ask myself if there is something hectic happening in my life that I can simply say “no" to—and then I steel my nerves to actually say no.
Is life always where I want it to be? I am a mother…you know how that goes. But for me, trying to live for the present is the most important part.
It's true what they say, after all.
My child will never be the same age as she is today.
A version of this article appeared on Peaceful Mama Coaching.