What I’ve Learned from my 3 year old
Ben officially turned 3 earlier this week! You can read all about his train themed party here. My baby is becoming a little boy, and while it is mostly exciting I can’t help but feel a little sadness. They grow up so fast. Looking back, I know I didn’t think that through the sleepless nights, leaky boobs, teething, and all the other difficulties parenting brings. I was always asking my mom, “When will this stage end?” and she gave the best advice: Everything with kids is just a phase. Hang in there and this too shall pass. She also reminded me of what my grandfather always said, “The days pass slow, but the years fly by.” Sigh. It’s so so true. Even though there’s been plenty of tough times these three years, the joys far outweigh them! Here’s what Ben has taught me:
- Be patient. I remember the first couple of months, I was reading way too many blogs, articles, and books, and getting frustrated that my baby wasn’t sleeping through the night and self-soothing. I want to do a major eye roll now. I wish I had known not to waste my time comparing myself or Ben to the other people out there. I know those articles are there to help and support, and they usually do. But I felt pressure for whatever reason for my baby to sleep 6 hour stretches and go to bed without a pacifier. Luckily I got over it and simply got to know my baby. I thought I was a patient person before I had children (hello, I’m a teacher and I can handle 23 kids all day!) but parenthood really tests you. We are still currently going through it during Ben’s super-independent phase. Patience is my mantra now, as I wait 7 minutes for Ben to buckle himself into the car seat in the 103° weather.;)
- Do what’s best for us. Like I mentioned in #1, I was guilty of having a picture of how things were supposed to be, and trying to get our family to fit in that box. It’s exhausting to constantly explain yourself or apologize for doing what gets you a good night’s sleep and makes the baby happy. We co-slept for 10 months, and it was one of the best things we did, aside from breastfeeding. But let me tell you, we got a ton of crap from family and friends saying we’d never get him out of our bed. Turns out they were wrong. 😉 Everyone has advice when you have a baby and they really do mean well, but you have to do what’s best for your family, or course making sure everyone is safe and happy.
- Be an amazing role model. This lesson has been so important, especially as Ben gets older. He says and does exactly what we do. That’s major motivation to be calm, kind, caring, and generous all the time. It’s the best feeling when I hear him using his manners all on his own, or when he comforts me if I hit my knee. Mike and I are always focused on what kind of people we are, and what we’re presenting to Ben. Kids do as you do!
- Enjoy every moment & Don’t sweat the small stuff. Everyone always says it, but having children makes the world new again. Seeing the joy and excitement in Ben’s face in everyday things has been such a blessing and reminder for me to live my life with a grateful heart. As a family, we’ve learned to let the little things go. Ben’s at that age where he’s testing us constantly, and some battles just aren’t worth it. We’d rather reserve our energy and struggle for the serious things, like safely and treating others with respect.
If you’ve read all the way to this point, thank you. I hope you were able to identify or relate with a couple of these points, and find some encouragement. I am so thankful that I was chosen to be Ben’s mother, and while it’s been the toughest job I’ve ever had, I wouldn’t trade it for the world!
Happy birthday Ben! I took a little trip down memory lane going through photos, a few are below. 🙂
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