When you are pregnant or have a newborn, there seem to be a million magical milestones you are waiting for breathlessly. The first smile, the first word, the first step . . . parents wait with eager anticipation for each new skill. As babies grow older, these touchstone moments grow less frequent, but we are still ready to celebrate. We have cameras ready for the first day of school, the first time your child rides a bike, first dance recitals and T-ball games.
But amidst all these big moments, there are lots of changes happening under the radar that really make a difference in your day-to-day life as a mom. Changes so small you might not notice them until they have passed you by. Here is a partial list of a few underrated milestones that I think moms should stop and celebrate.
Your baby can sit up on his own in the bathtub. When your little tater tot is stable enough to sit up in the bath tub on his own, bath time becomes one of the best parts of the day. It’s no longer a mad dash to get him clean while ensuring he doesn’t drown. It’s a relaxing time to sing, play, and explore.
Your baby can hold his own bottle or feed himself Cheerios. For any mama who remembers what it was like to be tied to a strict feeding schedule, this is life changing. I am a twin mom, so when it was time to eat (and it was almost always time to eat) my hands were literally full. All I could do was sit and hold two bottles while watching bad TV. But somewhere around 10 months, M&M decided they wanted to hold their own bottles. Ah, the freedom! Now I could sit between them and fold laundry while picking up the bottles they threw on the floor. And still watch bad TV! Multi-tasking at it’s best, my friend. The same principal holds true when your little one is able to feed himself solid food. A tray full of Cheerios or Puffs can buy you enough time to sweep the floor, wash the dishes, or go the bathroom . . . alone.
Your toddler can walk short distances without a stroller. Again, I am a twin mom so I may be overselling this point. But it is miraculous to not have to heave the giant stroller out of my trunk just to walk M&M into the child care at the gym. Sure, it took 10 extra minutes, but once we could walk across the parking lot holding hands, quick errands seemed much easier. Even getting M&M from the house into our own car in the garage was easier. I didn’t have to make two trips everywhere, carrying one child at a time. Best of all, I no longer had to call for backup every time I arrived at an event with two non-walkers and all their necessary accoutrements.
Your preschooler is FULLY potty trained. The time just after potty training is stressful. At first, you are excited to no longer be spending what used to be your shoe budget on diapers. But there are trade-offs. Now you must spend the next few months asking your child (loudly and repeatedly) if he needs to go potty. You will kneel on the floor of more public restrooms than you ever thought possible. But someday you will realize that your child tells you when he has to go to the bathroom ON HIS OWN. And you purchase an actual purse, because you don’t have to carry diapers, or wipes, or an extra of clothes everywhere you go. I know it sounds impossible, but someday your car keys won’t be buried under a pair of Paw Patrol undies.
So I say when we moms reach one of these underrated milestones, we should celebrate. Drink a celebratory toast, eat a bowl of ice cream, take a warm bath. Just take in the moment and know things are about to get easier.
I hear there are more of these magical milestones on the horizon. Times when the kids can brush their own teeth or put on their own shoes. I even hear rumors of a time when they can wake up and pour their own cereal. And I’m looking forward to embracing each of these unexpected triumphs as they come!
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