My Girl

I gave Caroline a bath the other night, and it ended up being one of my top 5 best moments as a mom.

Normally, bedtimes are a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am assembly line to get the kids washed and into bed as quickly and painlessly as possible. That is 99% of my advice for parents of 2 close-in-age kids: GIVE THEM THE SAME BEDTIME. Not only does it mean you’re off the parenting clock faster, it also means when the day comes that you have to do it all alone you’ll be set up for success.  Sure, a shared bath can get a little… splashy, but the kids seem to like it and it turns a 2 hour ordeal into a 30 minute routine, start to finish. If they’re not particularly dirty and don’t need shampoo E and I can do it in 17 minutes flat. In the Parenting Olympics, we’d be the Michael Phelps of bedtimes.

But on this particular day, Little Evan had an extremely late nap and wasn’t even close to tired when Caroline was rubbing her eyes and making sad little whimpering noises. Rather than try to keep her awake (I’m not a TOTAL idiot) or force the toddler into bed (BAHAHAHAHA), I decided a split bath time was in order and took my girl upstairs for some mommy-daughter time.

I worry a lot that Caroline isn’t getting the kind of extremely focused attention I gave Little Evan his first year. There’s less staring at her while she sleeps and more wondering how long until I can sneak out of the room and collapse in front of Top Chef. It’s not that I don’t have enough LOVE to give her – my heart makes love faster than I could ever give it out – I just don’t have enough TIME. Or maybe more accurately, I don’t THINK I have enough time. There are dishes to be washed! Laundry to be folded! Halloween costumes to make! Playgroups to attend! Quick, I must do ALL THE THINGS because otherwise I lose at motherhood!

But isn’t motherhood really less about doing stuff and more about bath time and rubber duckies and bubble crowns? Watching her splash in the tub, I was struck by how at that moment her entire life was right there in that bathroom. I am the sun to her planet. I could have a whole solar system of kids orbiting me day and night but as far as she’s concerned I am enough, even when I’m not feeling particularly shiny.

It was one of those moments where your mind is blown and you suddenly remember parenting isn’t just playgroups and butt-wiping. It’s RAISING A HUMAN BEING. It’s amazing I’m even being allowed to try.

E’s job is changing after this week. It’s nothing dramatic, just new orders to a new command, but new orders that mean I’m going to be doing a lot more single parenting. I’ll be doing bathtimes and bedtimes and wake-ups and mornings and dinners and snacks and running out of TIME for ALL THE THINGS every single day. I feel overwhelmed already and it hasn’t even started, so it’s good for my mental health to have moments like Caroline’s bath.

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7 Responses to “My Girl”

  1. Cole says:

    Oh, that face! Mommy is taking notes on all of your advice for parenting of 2: same bedtime, got it!

  2. Kodi says:

    I’ve been a one man show for a little over 3 months (thanks US Army) and I constantly remind myself if they’re happy & healthy, that’s all that matters. They won’t remember dirty floors or stacks of dishes. They’ll remember mama playing with them, reading stories and loving them.

  3. Barbra says:

    Don’t you love those little moments? I had one just last night with my little man and my husband. My husband has been working late evenings and got home just as I was unsuccessfully trying to get Knox to sleep. Chris came in to say hello and ended up taking over. He didn’t notice that I was still in the room, and I just watched him sing Danny’s Song to Knox while rubbing his head through the crib bars. Knox reached his tiny hand through the bar and held on to chris’ shirt. It made me cry. My heart absolutely swelled – it was the most incredible half hour I have spent with my little family.

  4. Tricia says:

    I love this post! It made me think of when I’m bathing Ezra, or when it’s just Ezra and I in the car while Henry’s at school; I look in my rearview mirror, and he’s just staring at me through the reflection in HIS mirror. We ARE their whole world, the nucleus to their existence. That picture of Caroline killed me with the cute, dude. I mean, REALLY?! She is beyond precious.

  5. Kimberly says:

    I love it! Those moments make all the crap from the rest of the day seem like not such a big deal. And I need something tattooed on my forehead to remind me to slow down and notice them more often.
    And I’m here if you ever need to vent once E’s job changes. My Hubby works ALL THE TIME, and I do ALL THE THINGS every day, and I know what it can do to the mental health.

  6. TMae says:

    She kills my ovaries. KILLS THEM DEAD.

    My parenting philosophy (well, my life philosophy really) has always been to take time for all those moments you will wish you had more of someday. I failed miserably at following this advice until O was about 15 months. I was so gorked out by trying to keep him alive, and growing, etc. that I couldn’t see anything but HAVE TO DO IT NOW. Lately though…O and I get to have a lot of these moments, and I’m grateful.

    But I fail miserably at housekeeping. Miserably. Tumbleweeds from the pets are wafting by as I type this…

  7. Kendra says:

    That was beautiful… great reality check, thank you! We are enough for our kids, even when we don’t feel like we are.

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