You lie in bed at the end of a long day, the events of the day flashing back through your mind. You do this a lot—recap your day as a mama. How did you do? Did you maintain your patience? Did you play enough? Did you limit screen time?
Did you yell less today than you did yesterday?
You saw a really neat toddler activity in the group you’re a part of on Facebook . . . you should have done that with the kids. They would have loved it. There wasn’t enough time though, and you didn’t have all of the right supplies. Maybe you can go shopping this weekend and next week you will do that activity you saw.
Those mamas in that group . . . they really have it together. They do so many fun activities with their kids, and you feel like you could do better.
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Today, you put coloring paper, crayons, and stickers in front of your boys to keep them busy so you could vacuum the crumbs up for the 10th time. While you were on your hands and knees sweeping the area under the kids’ chairs, your 3-year-old beamed down at you, “Look at this, Mommy!”
You sigh. You feel like you’ve heard that phrase 15 times today already. You look up anyway, giving your boy a smile. A bunch of colorful scribbles that may resemble a tree or a dog, you’re not sure, appears in front of your face. “That’s great, baby. Good job.”
You return to your task, blowing hair from your face. You’re tired of cleaning these floors what feels like 20 times a day. Why can’t you snap your fingers and the kids are five years older? Because when they’re older, maybe you could interact more. It feels like you’re always cleaning, instead.
“Thank you, Mommy! You’re the best mommy in the whole wide world.” You look up as your middle child smiles and resumes coloring.
You see mama, that’s it right there.
Your baby won’t remember the activity you didn’t do. Your baby won’t remember not going outside yesterday because it was just a bit too chilly for you and the youngest. They won’t remember that timeout you put them in for hitting their brother.
They don’t know the guilt you hold on to—because they don’t see it. They see things differently.
They’ll remember the hug you gave them when they came out of their bedroom in the morning, sleep still in their eyes. Your oldest will remember the quick kiss, tousle of the hair, and “Have a good day, sweetheart” as they run off to the bus for school.
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Your 3-year-old will remember how much you loved the drawing they made. They notice how you hang it on the fridge proudly. They’ll point it out to visitors, the special artwork that mommy hung up. They’ll remember how you sat patiently and built LEGO sets before bedtime. Those LEGO sets can be exasperating and long. But you did it, mama.
These are the things they’ll remember.
How mama made chocolate chip cookies. How mama let them paint, play with Kinetic Sand, Play-Doh, and cleaned up every bit of it with a smile on her face (most of the time). We all know those can be the messiest activities.
How mama had dance parties in the living room. How mama sang goofy songs and took goofy selfies, earning true belly laughs.
Do you see it now? It’s effortless, the things your babies remember.
You remember the tough moments. They remember the loving moments. They remember the hugs, the kisses, the laughs. They remember the stories, the chasing, the tickles.
As you lie in bed tonight, consider for a moment, the things your babies will remember. They may be much different than what you remember, mama.
Originally published on the author’s Facebook page