My two year old has quickly taught me that there are numerous types of toddler smiles:
There’s the half smirk that is quickly accompanied by a devilish grin, one that says, “I’m about to do something I know I shouldn’t, but I am going to anyway.”
There’s the toothy grin and hesitant giggle that follows, that is trying to be charming to get their way. Because they KNOW they are endearing.
There’s the giant sideways grin that is followed with proud and confident posture that says, “I can do anything I set my mind to. Watch me go.”
There’s the gargantuan lip curl with a half-smile and furrowed brow that says, “I do what I want – what are you going to do about it?” that is just begging us to get irritated.
There’s the adoring smile that looks at you before you put them to bed at night, looking at you with sparkles in their eye that says, “Mom, you are my world and I am yours.”
My toddler is strong-willed, curious, knows how to make me laugh when I don’t want to laugh, and is extremely intuitive. He is inquisitive, artistic, and even makes me go a little ballistic.
The truth is – God entrusted these strong willed, smiling, intelligent little humans into our care and it is both an honor and a privilege to have the title of “toddler mom.”
Is it difficult? Absolutely. No doubt about it.
Do I sometimes end the day in tears, wishing I hadn’t gotten so frustrated? You bet.
But I am also so thankful to have a toddler who helps me realize that I could love and feel this much. For my heart to feel like it could burst when those tiny little fingers are wrapped around my neck or asks to hold my hand.
I’m thankful to have a toddler who can run around and explore the world, is strong enough to throw his playdough across the room, and has eyes that are decent enough to notice whenever I pull out a delicious snack for myself. I’m thankful his ears hear well enough to know exactly when I say “let’s go change your diaper” and he feels the need to run full speed in the opposite direction.
I’m thankful that my son is breathing, eating, and so full of energy that he could run a marathon.
Today, let’s take the time to be thankful for those little smirks – the little challenges that help us become stronger moms who have never loved something so much.
Let us not be so hard on ourselves that we forget to soak in the giggles.
You got this, momma! Keep on smiling, not just to smile, but because we are immensely blessed to have crazy little humans making us want to be better people every single day!
Don’t let those crazy little smirks defeat you – let them remind you of the challenges you have already overcome.
I am now halfway through my second pregnancy. I cannot wait to hold my daughter - Skye Elizabeth in my arms. I cannot wait for the labor “part” to be over so I can just focus on her and spend time together as a new family of four. Everyone asks; are you ready for the sleepless nights again? I definitely struggle with the thought of Liam gaining a sibling because I want to be the best mom I can be to both children. I know there will be tears. I know there will be chaos, frustration, and sometimes aggravation because I just want my babies to be safe and happy. But, guess what? Life is not always rainbows and butterflies and we are ready to embrace those messy moments too. The beautiful moments of holding my children together in sweet bliss will far outweigh the messy, tearful ones. The beautiful moment of seeing my husband hold my daughter for the very first time will far outweigh any nights of tears. The beautiful moments of just being together with family and friends are the moments I want to cherish and hold on to. I cannot wait for my little two year old, Liam, to meet and kiss his sister for the very first time. To have my heart continue to expand and grow and try to fathom the love that I feel for both of them is beyond words.
So the answer is, I am ready to dive into this new road of the journey. Mother of two. Yikes! Pregnancy was and is nothing like I imagined. Reading a bunch of articles and hearing a ton of people’s stories is all good and well, but until you walk through your own unique journey with each child, it is different and cannot be compared. I will not sit here and try to give you a ton of hints and tips about how to handle each phase of pregnancy. I won’t do it, can’t do it, and well, I don’t know how to help because I am no expert! But, I do want to unveil my heart strings and be completely honest and vulnerable about a very true and genuine struggle for me – my body during the changes of motherhood. I cannot tell you how many people told me that pregnancy is when they felt the most beautiful during their entire lives. That is not the case for me. If it was for you, that’s awesome! I just hope to use this vantage point of the struggles of pregnancy to help someone else who may feel the same shame I felt because I asked myself, “What is wrong with you?” “Why can’t you embrace the body changes like so many women can?”
First of all, I do realize wholeheartedly that pregnancy is a beautiful thing. You are growing a tiny human! It is empowering, life-changing, and does leave you awestruck at how amazing God is. I agree on this 100%! The months of being incredibly tired, your body changing, and the increase in appetite is not a flaw – it is a delicate process, hand-designed by God to grow a beautiful, innocent human being. It is completely amazing.
Second, I did not grow up in an abusive home nor was I told I was ugly all the time as so many people have to deal with in their lives. I did not undergo that kind of horrid bullying. I will admit that as part of my flesh I have always been very insecure – even before pregnancy. Well, pregnancy seemed to and seems to be challenging me even more. I can’t work out like I was pre-pregnancy. Running is a joke right now because I constantly feel like I’m going to pee on myself. My body now has stretch marks. I’ve gained “x” number of pounds and still have more to go and grow. The scale literally brought me to tears during my first pregnancy and postpartum during recovery. Satan has tried to use this in my life. For those who have not been pregnant or maybe didn’t feel extremely confident and beautiful waddling around with the extra weight – you ARE BEAUTIFUL and this is for a beautiful season of your life. This is something I have to be reminded of daily. Our bodies are growing and changing to best take care of our babies. Our bodies are gaining weight to give the proper nutrients to the beautiful life inside of us.
I want to conclude with this:
FIRST, if you are pregnant and having a difficult time in your own skin, do not lose heart. We are in this together! You are not alone. You are growing a tiny human, by the grace of God, and holding that precious bundle of joy is SO going to be worth it. Write down topical Bible verses everywhere, post encouraging quotes all around your desk/mirror/sink and other visible places, keep talking to God, and even reminding yourself that your little bundle of joy is growing inside of you! And try to listen to your husband when he says you are stunning!
SECOND, pregnancy can be overwhelming, intimidating, and at times you can’t help but go cry in the bathroom because someone else just told you to go easy in the buffet line. Keep talking to people close to you. Keep talking to God. Find a good devotion on self-worth. Don’t hide or feel shamed because of your struggles. For those who aren’t pregnant, join with me in encouraging the pregnant women around you! It is not easy, as you women know! It’s scary, exciting, adventurous, tiring, laughable, and an experience that will be with you for the rest of your life.
Let’s make it something to remember.
Sometimes we need to be reminded that in the utter chaos of life, the moments that are forever etched in our brains are the ones we often overlook.
Here is a little reminder for moms that in the complete chaos of life, we MUST carve out time and soak up moments and memories with our babies. They won't be babies forever. I feel like today I looked up and suddenly my two year old is more interested in everything around him than being held and cuddled. It reminded me to embrace the moments where he wants to be cuddled, held, and read to!
I wrote this little poem when he was just a helpless little infant, who needed to be carried around and held constantly. Now, he is a fearless toddler, running around, curious about everything and exploring until I put him to bed:
Oh, little darling
There is much to do
Laundry folded, dishes washed, cobwebs removed
But you just want me to hold you.
The carpets need vacuuming
Baseboards are collecting dust
But somehow all I hear are your silent cries to just hold you.
There are days when I am overwhelmed with endless to do's
But somehow your smile reminds me
One day I won't be able to hold you.
Life comes and life goes
In the blink of an eye.
One day I'll wake
With gray hair and a fragile body,
Wishing I'd focused more on the little things you do.
Today I needed the reminder
To just hold you.
Things can wait
But loving you should always be at the top of my list.
That little smile
That toothless giggle
Those little arms wrapped around my neck
That's what memories are made of.
Oh, little one
Don't grow up too fast
I just wanna hold you.