I shared something a week ago on IG that seemed to resonate, so I wanted to elaborate on it here, as it’s something that has crossed my mind a lot over the past few months.
Big kids are awesome.
I remember having babies and thinking that this was the best it got. Wearing them, snuggling them, having them nap on you, having other people ohh and aww at your precious baby. The BEST.
I remember seeing friends with elementary aged children and thinking how far away that seemed. And secretly wondering if they wished they were back in the time of babies, too.
I begged for time to slow down because how could it get any better than adorable babies?
But as we know, time slows down for no one, so years passed and suddenly I find myself here with two incredible big kids, ages 11 and 8. Younger me is giving present-day-me a sympathetic wide eyed look and wondering “do you miss your little babies?”
In some ways, yes. Part of me will always cherish the baby stage. And the toddler stage. And the preschool stage. Each one has it’s challenges certainly, but also it’s adorable perks. But another part of me wants to shout from the rooftop: Do not fear your children getting older; BIG KIDS ARE AWESOME. Why?
- Big kids are inquisitive and thoughtful about the world around them. They pick up on things you might have stopped noticing years ago.
- Big kids engage you in interesting conversations in questioning why things are the way they are. The encourage you to wonder and look up answers to things like what percentage of the air we breathe is actually oxygen?
- Big kids can largely take care of their physical needs. They can bathe themselves, use the restroom themselves, feed themselves, put on their own coats and shoes. You may not even realize what a mental load all that is for you until you no longer have to do it.
- Big kids can help in a way that is actually helpful, whether it’s emptying the dishwasher, walking the dog, sweeping the floor, prepping veggies, or doing their own laundry.
- Big kids mean you don’t have to plan life around naps or feeding schedules. You can easily grab food out and bedtimes can be pushed later without consequence. The freedom is as wonderful as you imagine it might be.
- Big kids bubble over with excitement and joy about simple pleasures like going to the movie theater or cooking dinner together. There is a sweet spot (so I’m told; we’ll see how long it lasts) of when your kids are really fun to be around and they want to be around you.
- Big kids take in the world with wonder, which makes them so much fun to travel with. You get to see the world through their eyes and it makes it that much more shiny and magical. Plus they can carry their own luggage.
- Big kids have their own interests they want to pursue and you get to help them then watch their eyes light up when they nail that guitar chord, make that goal, or master that code they’ve been working on.
- Big kids don’t need car seats and can buckle and unbuckle themselves. Do you know how many errands you can run when your crew can hop in and out of the car quickly with you? Or what it’s like when you can travel and just hop in an Uber, sans car seats?
- Big kids can keep up with you physically. They can be your walking partner or your wakeboarding buddy.
- Big kids can play the games that you want to play, too. No mindless Candyland, they can take you on (and beat you, too) in Catan, Trekking the World, and Spades.
- Big kids’ sports are actually exciting to watch. Sure little kids bumbling around the field is adorable, but watching a game where both sides know which direction they are supposed to be heading is more engaging.
- Big kids ask thoughtful questions and want to hear your answers about what life was like when you were growing up, how you and dad met, and how you decided what you wanted to do for a job. It’s fun to reflect on your own life through their curious eyes.
If you’re like I was and somewhat dreading the day your babies would need you less and be more self sufficient, let me assure you, it just keeps getting better. Cherish (or survive… we all have ages and stages we enjoy more than others) those early years; they have their precious moments for sure. But don’t fear your kids getting older.
I found a helpful practice in this wild ride of motherhood is to do my best to embrace the ages and stages as they come; breathing deeply through the trying moments and savoring the sweet ones.
What has been your favorite age to parent? Or your toughest?
I love this post. I have a baby and a toddler and feel like I’m drowning most days, but also loving it at the same time and wishing time would slow down. I love your positive attitude and outlook on things! You are such a great role model and the kind of mom I want to be. Thank you for sharing your life.
Brittany Dixon says
I think you hit the dichotomy of motherhood on the head- drowning and wishing time would slow down at the same time! 🙂 Thank you for your kind words; they mean a lot to me. And thank you for being here!
Beautiful sentiments to your beautiful girls. My son is 8 and this stage has been challenging. He has trouble listening and has a bit of an attitude. We are also having sleeping issues, he still can’t go to bed by himself. Just a challenging time in this stage for me and trying to navigate the best I can. 💗
Brittany Dixon says
I’m sorry you’re in a tough season right now. While I love these ages, we’ve had our share of tough moments, too. My youngest is so different from my oldest, and we’ve had to have some talks about expectations, and boundaries (IE: “your feelings are valid, but your behavior is unacceptable. You may not speak to me like that; do you understand?”)
I try to view it as the kids’ job to push boundaries and our job to enforce them; the natural order of things. Though logic doesn’t always make those hard days easier. Giving you hug of solidarity; you’ve got this! <3
Julia G says
Do you follow @littlems.magnolia on Instagram?? She posts the best messages about appreciating older kids/teens, that the teens are “so alright”, finding and appreciating ordinary goodness, etc. As my kids get older (13 and 11) and we enter the teen years, her posts really strike a chord with me! Highly recommend.
Brittany Dixon says
Yes I do! I wrote a whole post because I was inspired by her ordinary goodness. https://www.ahealthysliceoflife.com/ordinary-goodness/
I’ve tried not to scroll as much so I’m sure I’ve missed some of her stuff but when she does pop up on my feed I always appreciate her POV on things. <3
I admittedly do not like the baby stages! And my kids are super spread out which kinda makes the baby stage just drag on haha. I have an almost 8 year old and then 4.5 and newly 1. My 8 yo is a joy to be around and I don’t want to wish away the baby/preschool stage of my other two but I definitely enjoy the older stage better, although I do fear I will regret this one day (that I didn’t soak up all the baby phase).
I have 4 kiddos. 6 months to 6 years old. I feel like I’m in the trenches right now while equally trying to savor it. It is such a weird feeling. I do not love the baby stage but I’m trying to remind myself how quickly it will go by and how this will be my last baby (sob). Thank you for this post. It is so wonderful!
I love this Brittany. Right there with you. Thank you for sharing ❤️
Thank you for this post! For the past year I’ve had that feeling ahh the boys are getting big! 🙁 (just turned 5 and 8). And this panicky feeling like quick let’s do “all the things” before the little or magical stage (Christmas) is over. I always hear stories of kids even middle school age who lock themselves in their rooms and don’t want to hang with their parents! I know that’s to be expected at a certain point but I wonder if our boys will? Growing up me and my husband had close relationships with our parents and did a lot together as a family. We hope to have the same closeness with our boys with the understanding they will want time away too lol.
Brittany Dixon says
I wonder the same thing (if my kids will have the same locking themselves away tendency). I know part of it is growing up but I’ve also heard from parents a few years further ahead of me that have said they haven’t had that experience and have really loved the teen years for the most part. I’m hopeful that we can follow that path! It’s at least nice to hear it’s possible 🙂
Courtney Wilton says
Hi Brittany! I loved this post, I have a 3.5 year old who seems to be growing up daily and whilst part of me is sad for that I am also hesitant for the days when she no longer wants to be around me (all of the time!) I did have to laugh at the bullet point around travelling – they can carry their own luggage! We just went overseas for 2,5 weeks and man juggling a pram, toddler, 3 suitcases and 2 carry on ones was a juggle most of the time carrying her so that resonates! More travel when they are independent and can hike and lug their own suitcase!
Brittany Dixon says
I was going to say 2.5 weeks overseas sounds dreamy, but I’m sure it wasn’t exactly relaxing 😉 I’m impressed!
Elisa J says
I agree fully! My son is 8 and such a joy. Every age he has been I think “this is the best” and then another year goes by and it’s the best age once again. We’ll see when that will all change…