Why I Miss My Toddlers While They Sleep

My toddlers get up every morning around 7 a.m. and they ask for "cheerios and yogurt and applesauce NOW" and my son wants to "nursi mommy" and my daughter wants to wear the purple dress not the red one and my husband and I stuff their wiggly feet into their shoes and can't wait to get them out the door.

And then, when they are gone, every morning I lean against the door and miss their screaming, crying, chaos and plump cheeks. And then I keep missing them all day long.

Later that night, they are home from the sitter's, they are yelling for popsicles while I am fixing their dinner and they are crying because someone stepped on some one's toe and someone else took some one's tractor and my husband and I look at each other and whisper: is it bedtime yet?




And then it is bedtime and they brush hair and teeth and wash hands and feet and we read to them and kiss them and tuck them in. Then they are asleep and so effortlessly perfect with their long lashes and deep breaths.

And all I want is to shake them awake so I can hold them again.

There are a lot of things nobody tells you about parenthood when you are first pregnant.

Oh sure, they tell you it will be hard and you will never sleep, eat a sit-down meal, go on a date or have sex again. "They" also tell you that it will change your life, but they don't really tell you how.

They don't tell you how you will be exhausted and mentally drained sometimes by the demands of the children, but yet the second someone suggests taking them for longer than an hour, you balk. They don't tell you how you will count down the moments to bedtime, but then the moment they fall asleep, all you want to do is wake them up.

For me, it the biggest mystery of parenthood. Why do I spend all day wanting to escape my kids and then the second I do, all I want to do is get back to them?

I have asked around and a lot of parents feel like I do. And it is this push and pull that truly defines the "change" of parenthood for me.

I still sleep at night and love my husband. We still have sex and I still go on dates with my husband and I still sit down to eat dinner. Yes, it is different, but not as much as the part no one tells you: How you will love someone so much that it hurts to be away from them, even while they sleep.

How you will spend the mornings (and afternoons and evenings) going crazy some days, but how at night, you will go into their bedrooms before you go to sleep and just stare at them, unable to wait until morning when you get to do it all again.

Does anyone else watch their kids sleep?


Image via Sasha Brown-Worsham

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