I don’t like babies.
There. I said it. Grab your pitchforks and light the torches. Pelt me with adorable, tiny bows and little shoes and run over me with your trendy, overpriced strollers. Ban me from your playgroups and revoke my “Best Mom Ever” coffee mug.
I don’t care. Because I don’t like babies.
Or maybe, more accurately, I don’t like momming babies. Give me a toddler meltdown any day, maybe a side of teenage drama or an extra helping of awkward tween angst, something I can at least talk to and attempt to reason with, but ughhhhh babies.
Don’t get me wrong. They’re cute. Ohhhhh, they’re so cute. But that’s how they suck you in. Sweet, little, squishy, giggly angels sent from above to steal your sleep and demand 110% of your attention and energy until you think you can’t take any more. Then they smile, and you think it’s all worth it.
And then they poop on you.
Okay, maybe I’m being a little dramatic because I’m right in the middle of baby momming for the second time in less than three years and my daily life feels more and more like a made-for-moms Groundhog Day movie that never ends. Don’t get me wrong–I LOVE my kids and will forever be thankful for the privilege of being “mom”– but the baby stage is just not my favorite, and I’m having a severe case of the “didn’t we just get past this stuff”itis.
The way I see it, there are few pros and cons to the baby days…
Baby Stage Pros:
- Sleeps a lot (except when he doesn’t).
- Smiling is his favorite … although crying for unidentifiable reasons comes in a close second.
- Social media boost. Baby pictures are right up there with cat videos.
- Tiny clothes are adorable.
Baby Stage Cons:
- Terrible conversationalist.
- Rarely follows instructions.
- Expects me or some expensive contraption to carry him everywhere.
- Washes my hair/clothes/face with his drool.
- Whatever worked today will probably be out the door next week.
- Probably plotting to overthrow the government and incite an age of anarchy.
Okay, okay, maybe it’s not THAT bad, and I know many of you loooooooove the baby stage best of all. Cuddles, gurgles, hip, tiny-sized outfits, and chub for days. I totally get it. And I’m trying really hard to not wish away the days with this sweet, little nugget, but if the hazy fog that is my memory of the last several years serves me well, there was this sweet spot just past the baby stage when suddenly momming felt less like a one-sided, non-stop, demanding chore and more like the blossoming of a sweet relationship. And I want to go to there.
Maybe I’m just too sleep-deprived and stretched thin to see it right now, or maybe I’m just not a “baby” person, but I constantly find myself looking ahead to those days of cautious independence and sweet little questions, hand-holding and limit-testing… or at the very least self-feeding.
I know this stage, like all the others, won’t last for ever. My heart says “Enjoy every minute because the years fly by,” but my mind says, “Aghhhhhh, I have so much to do and this little munchkin wants me to be his personal entertainment 24/7,” and my back says “Owwwwww, how much does this kid weigh?!” and my laundry baskets say “Hey, girl. We’re still here. Still full. See you every night for the rest of your life,” and my toddler says, “While you were talking with the laundry basket, I took the liberty of decorating the baby with this permanent marker.”
In my pre-baby life as a public school music teacher, I was once asked in an interview what age group I truly preferred to teach, but the answer was that there wasn’t an answer. I found that each age came with its own unique challenges and joys and that there was a specialness about each group that I really loved.
And now as a mom, I know that I will most definitely experience the ups and downs of all of these life stages as I’m walking through the years with these little ones. Some will not be my favorite (*see above*). In fact, some will have me looking forward to the next milestone with bleary-eyed desperation, but others will have me clinging to their fleeting moments as they pass too quickly before my eyes. But that’s kind of the deal with parenthood: you’re in it 100%, good and bad, ups and downs, want to or not.
The truth is: he won’t be a baby forever, whether I like it or not. Just yesterday he was a tiny, sleepy baby blob, and today he’s rolling across the floor and laughing wildly at big brother’s silly faces. As impossible as it is to imagine some days, I know I’ll look back on these squishy little months with fondness as the exhaustion fades, new adventures sprawl out ahead of us, and these experiences blur into memories of sweet times together — just as it happened with big brother — but today we’re here. Babyhood may never be my favorite stage to parent, but while it currently seems to stretch ahead of me for-ev-er, it really is a drop in the bucket of our parent-child journey.
So if you think of it, send coffee and chocolate and maybe one of those robo-vacuum things that will do all of my housework for me… because we’ve got a little more of this baby stage left before it’s onto the next beautiful adventure. And maybe bookmark this article to send to me in a few years when I start to get that little baby twinkle in my eyes again… because I don’t like babies… but sometimes, like when I have a precious moment to soak in the cuddles, gaze into those big eyes, or fill my heart with a load of baby giggles, I might need a little reminder.