I Hold Him a Lot

I hold my baby a lot.

Even as I type this, his head rests against my shoulder and I’m swaying in the living room trying to coax him into napping.

I hold my baby a lot.

People have said, “he needs to learn to self soothe.” “He’ll never go to sleep on his own.” “He’s going to depend on you for everything.” “He doesn’t sleep through the night yet?”

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not perfect. I am currently by myself, and sometimes, he cries and I’m busy. I can’t drop everything right that moment. The only way he’ll nap is if I put him in his crib and let him fuss for a few minutes (no, he’s not crying it out. Just fussing).

But yes, I hold my baby a lot. I nurse my baby a lot. Sometimes, all he wants is to nurse for an hour at night and I’m just like, “I know you’re not hungry. Please just go to sleep.” But I nurse him and I rock him and I hold him and snuggle him anyway.

Would him sleeping through the night be great? Absolutely. Would I love it if he’d be content to play by himself for an hour so I could get chores done? Yes. Do I wish that he never cried ever? Also yes.

But the way I look at it is: he’s never, ever going to be this small again. I will never, ever look back and think, “wow. I should have held him less and let him cry more. I wish I hadn’t carried him around so much.” One of these days, he’s going to get tired of being snuggled by Mama, and one of these days, he’s gonna take himself off to bed without so much as a kiss goodnight. I’ll have to follow him in there and remind him.

It’s frustrating, I won’t lie. My mom just came to visit, and she can attest that sometimes, nothing makes my child happy except to see you going to the ultimate lengths to appease him. While I’m by myself, it’s hard. There are days when I wake up and I’m convinced I’m going to get things done and slay the day and what actually happens is a combination of nursing, rocking, playing, and soothing a baby all day. My husband just asked me the other night, “what are your plans for tomorrow?” I just kind of laughed and told him that I’ve stopped making plans because all I do is disappoint myself when I don’t get to them. (Which is very hard for me to do, seeing as how I love to plan things, and feel better when I have a list.)

Sometimes, I feel like I’m really struggling because Ev needs me, the house is a wreck, I’m trying to keep my feelings together because hello my husband is deployed and he hasn’t seen our child in over 4 months, and I’m also trying to orchestrate another cross country move.

In those moments, yes, sometimes I have to put Ev down in his crib and walk away for five minutes. Yes, sometimes he’s angry about it. But I need the five minutes. I’m not going to be a very good mom if I’m miserable. It’s just not feasible.

Being a mom is hard. Being a wife is hard. Being a mom and a wife with a deployed husband is harder. Props to all the single moms out there who do this every day of every year, because this is so difficult.

I know it’s frustrating. I know it’s hard to be the one with a baby attached 24/7, and I know it’s awful when you’re so tired that you don’t have the energy to even clean the kitchen after the baby falls asleep.

But don’t think that you’re “ruining” or “spoiling” that baby by holding him.

They’re little for such a short time. I was pregnant yesterday and I blinked and now my baby’s 5 months old. When I’m tired, and frustrated, and feeling run down, I have to remind myself of that. That my tiny baby isn’t tiny anymore, and he’s only getting bigger.

Hold all the babies. Get all the snuggles. Cuddle him for a minute longer before you put him down. Cherish the way that little hand curls around your finger. And in those quiet moments when they’re finally asleep and you’re thinking, “ugh, yes. Please don’t wake up“, realize how blessed you really are. So many people wish they could experience your worst days of parenthood. Don’t take the best for granted.

XOXO,

Em.

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