By Leah Loftin
Every new mom hears it a thousand times: “Cherish these moments! They fly by!” “Next thing you know, he’ll be graduating from college!”
It’s so true. With all the modern conveniences as well as modern distractions, time is speeding up, and the precious months and years with your newborn/infant/toddler will be over way too soon. What can be done to stretch out the short space of time you get with that little one? Improve the time spent with your new baby as well as the memories of those moments. Here are five suggestions that are tried and true (and may even work for YOU).
1. Quit Your Full-Time Job
I mean it. Quit working outside the home when that little guy needs you full time. You have your whole life to work, and your child’s whole life to regret it if you aren’t there with him. Obviously, if you are the sole provider for your family, or if you have an awesome part time schedule or a convenient in-home business, go ahead and skip to suggestions 2 – 5. PLEASE.
This is understandably a touchy subject, but if you are looking for ways to cherish your baby’s tiny years, and this is a viable option for your family, stay home. One of those moms who is staying on the job because you’re “not cut out for staying at home,” you are worried your hard-earned professional skills will go to waste, or you think your household MUST have that second income? Think again. You can get out of the house with a baby. Better yet, your baby NEEDS you to take him outside! Explore, wander, taste test, window shop, peruse art museums and parks and river walks. You will both be better off.
If you studied and interned and interviewed and sacrificed for your current position, don’t worry, you will not just lose those abilities (or network contacts). It stays with you! And thinking that your baby needs a higher income more than he needs his mommy is a social logical fallacy. A colleague of mine posted on Facebook that she was deliberating quitting her job after her daughter was born. One of the responses from a mutual friend stuck with me: If you want to work, work. But if you want to raise your daughter, quit. It’s that simple. You just need to figure out your priorities.
2. Put Down Your Phone
(See? I told you these were in order of hardest to easiest!) Studies far and wide have proven the ill effects of kids hooked on electronic devices AS WELL AS parents hooked on electronic devices. That baby needs physical touch, eye contact, and direct attention to develop into the well-balanced human that you and society want him to be. Set a “time out” period for your phone/tablet/laptop for two or three (not necessarily consecutive) hours every day. Spend that time talking to, playing with, and holding your child. Your memories of his baby years will increase in volume and quality if you are not distracted during all of your time together.
3. Make Photo Books
The kind you hold in your hand, point to, and turn the pages of. The kind you can show to your child as he grows up and to your neighbors when they come visit. Reading a book together is much more personal than scrolling through an online photo album with your in-laws during Christmas break. If designing and formatting is not your thing, that’s okay, because there are a billion photo book services that will do it for you with just the click of a mouse. And if that IS your thing, even better! Personalized, printed photo collections that you can set on your bookshelf or end table are more easily accessed and more satisfying for loving, nostalgic parents like yourself.
A few sites that can generate quick and easy photo books are Snapfish, Mixbook, Shutterfly, and Chatbooks.
4. Take Short Videos Of Your Baby
Keyword: short. If the video is more than 2 minutes long, it is highly unlikely that you or anyone else will want to watch it more than, say, once. If you can save short sweet snippets of your baby cooing, sneezing, tasting pickles for the first time, taking those first wobbly steps across the carpet, etc., you’ll be able to enjoy reminiscing and won’t have trouble talking others into reminiscing with you.
To see what I mean, watch this:
5. Write In Your Journal Regularly
This takes only five minutes a day. Or ten minutes once a week. It’s easy to jot down the cute thing your baby did right after it happened. Recording the incident not only preserves the occasion for future reference, but the act of writing (or typing) actually cements the moment in your mind for easier recall! Your future self will thank you for the sentimental souvenir.
All those people are right. This short period of infancy and childhood WILL be over in just the blink of an eye. Sanober Khan said it well:
“For it is up to you and me
to take solace
in nostalgia’s arms
and our ability
from fleeting moments.”
― Sanober Khan, A touch, a tear, a tempest
So start today! Your sweet baby will thank you and YOU will be glad you did.