The good ole days

Written by Heather McAnear
Published on August 28, 2020

Here’s a look back on life with littles. Don’t get me wrong, there are many fun things about having teens in the house – especially during the quarantine when we played games, worked puzzles and watched movies  – and they can fix their own meals. But looking back, I feel nostalgia and love for that young mom in the trenches, falling into bed each night, having expended every ounce of physical and mental energy she had.

The little years feel like they will last forever, until suddenly they don’t and you have kids the same size as you, making plans to spread their wings. So here’s to the days gone by… some of the best.

BEDTIME STORIES

There were (many) nights when I was beyond exhausted and about to pull my hair out at the request of “one more story”, but looking back, I truly miss snuggling up with fresh from the bath little ones, reading some of the sweetest  words on the pages of children’s books. Truth be told, every now and then, I sit on the floor and read one of our old faves, eyes brimming with tears, the way any good story makes me feel.

THE PREDICTABILITY OF A DAY

Those days seemed long and unending, but there’s something nostalgic about the simplicity in the routine between waking and bedtime that left lots of room for connecting – with the kids, other moms and tots, and as a family in the evenings. Those v e r y long days were actually quite short and have been replaced with finding connection in the car driving to activities, around the table when everyone’s home and with kids’ friends who file in and out.

EASY GOSPEL CONVERSATIONS

From reading the Jesus Storybook Bible most mornings, to pointing our behavior back to the gospel, laying a spiritual  foundation seemed like the focus of each day, naturally. When the attitudes were bad and the afternoon crazy, turning up kid’s praise music and dancing around the living room was a good prescription. When toys were taken from a sibling, sitting down and working it out was the norm. Organic, spiritual conversations still happen with teens, but I miss the sweetness of Jesus conversations with littles.

CHUBBY, STICKY HANDS

Yes, I said sticky hands, something I never thought I’d miss. Toddlers make messes, but teen messes are bigger (slime-making, crafting or baking, anyone?). As much as I love to see the creativity flowing out of my teens, when I walk into a room that looks like a chemistry lab explosion, I long for the days when I simply carried my babes to the tub or backyard hose and cleaned the mess in one fell swoop!

THE DELIGHT OF LIFE

I don’t know if there is anything I love more than the look on a child’s face when they learn something new; the mix of joy and sheer delight is just the best. Somewhere between pre-teen and teens, the look of wonder is lost (I pray it returns after this season) and replaced with some eye-rolling and “I already know everything expression”. However, when I accidentally catch our teens laughing without thinking, caught in a moment of pure joy, you bet I stare and memorize their face and wipe the tear that comes from knowing that in that moment they are loving life with all they’ve got.

THE MAGIC OF CHILDHOOD

Days spent playing dress-up, make-believe and all manner of games are just plain fun. I mean no disrespect to the grueling energy it takes to entertain and answer all. the. questions… all. day. long. But take it from a woman more than a decade removed from having three littles – when I look back, those days were full of the magic of childhood, and you only get to raise a child once.

ENDLESS HUGS AND  SNUGGLES

I distinctly remember a season when I just wanted a moment when no one needed to be touching me, eating from my body or tugging on my sleeve. Raising children means giving up every ounce of “personal space” and giving of yourself even when you’re certain you have no more to give. But I’ve got good news for you—not only do you have more of yourself to give than you ever thought possible, you might actually long for a twenty-four hour trip back in time, to snuggle and hug til your heart is full.

NOT HAVING TO SHARE

You read that right, I miss not having to share our kids. In the preschool years we were in charge of the calendar, all play-dates and parties scheduled by mom. We got to choose how busy schedules would be and when/where/with whom our kids go. Then along comes middle school and high school and the calendar(s) is enough to make heads spin. We grab time together when we are all home at the same time, but more often, it’s snagging time alone with each child for an errand, a coffee date or drive to practice.

Moms of littles, I see you. I see the exhaustion, the need for a break, the desire for a little personal space….or a nap or a Sonic drink or a pedicure. Remember to fill up on time in the Word, because the word of God truly does give “strength to the weary and power to the weak” (Isaiah 40:29).

Remember to take time to refuel your own tank, so that you can keep pouring into the tanks of your children. This might mean a walk or work-out, time on the back porch with a good book, a coffee date with a friend (or alone), a bath or a Saturday morning in the garden; whatever gives you a mental and physical re-charge, make sure you make time for it. The days are in fact fleeting (no matter how slowly they seem to go), but you will enjoy them so much more with your spiritual, emotional and mental tank filled up, rather than running on fumes for the next decade.

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Heather McAnear

Heather McAnear is a wife, mom, author, and speaker with a passion for sharing God's truth. She helps women understand their uniquely beautiful design and how to use it for God's glory! Heather hosts the Uniquely Beautiful Stories podcast on iTunes in hopes to do just that. She loves teaching young, married couples with her husband, homeschooling their three children, traveling the world, enjoying good chocolate, and engaging in long conversations in coffee shops. Heather is thrilled to help women connect with each other and grow in their walk with Jesus!

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