Best Of live

The Couple in the Matching Track Suits

Every day, at about 1:00pm, I load Lil W and his minkie {blanket} into the car and we go on a drive until he falls asleep for his nap.  Then I carefully remove him from his car seat and bring him inside.  Not following this routine results in no nap until about 5:00pm, which means he doesn’t go to bed until 11:00pm.  I’ve tried cutting out the nap all together, but that only resulted in the world’s most unhappy toddler {and Momma}.

No nap isn’t pretty.
And it certainly isn’t fun.

So while I’m not proud of this routine, Ben and I add this daily drive to our parenting list of what we like to call “Do What Works”.  And then we tell ourselves “it will be different with the next baby because we’ll know better”…right?

It was on today’s nap drive that I saw an adorable couple taking an afternoon stroll.  They were both dressed in matching track suits strolling with their fingers intertwined.  Her 9 month pregnant belly gave her only the slightest waddle as they continued their brisk walk down the sidewalk and past my car.

It was clear this would be their first child.
And all I could think was: they have no idea how much their lives are about to change.

Sure people will tell them how hard it is to be a parent, and they will even believe them…but they won’t really know until they hear those first cries, and stress out about that first doctors appointment, and put their first diaper on backwards, and stay up all night analyzing the breathing of their new infant. They won’t really know until it happens.

People will tell them that they’ll never sleep again, and they’ll just politely chuckle while thinking to themselves “neh, that will never happen to us, because our child will sleep through the night–we’ve read all the parenting books.”

They’ll think that because they’ve read all the parenting books, they will be prepared for the first fever, the first tooth, the first gas pains, the first flu season, the first sleepless night, the first tantrum.

And then, people will also try to tell them that they could never imagine just how much they will love this baby, just how overwhelming and all-consuming this love will be.  And they’ll think that because of the tears that filled their eyes when they heard their baby’s heart beat for the first time…they’ll think they already know what that love feels like. And they will, but…

Little do they know that was only a taste of their love.
Little do they know that love will take on a whole new meaning.
Little do they know that they can love so much it hurts.
Like actual, physical pain.
And with that kind of love comes worry.
and hope.
and faith.
and compromise.
and sacrifice.
and purpose.

And then, when the birth of their little babe arrives, they’ll tell all their friends:
Why didn’t you ever tell me parenting would be like this?
And there friends will just chuckle and think to themselves…
We did tell you, but you had to see for yourself.

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61 Comments

  • Reply
    Erika @ Oops! I Craft My Pants
    October 8, 2011 at 5:53 am

    You are amazing! I love this so much.

  • Reply
    ashley
    October 8, 2011 at 5:55 am

    wow. this was awesome. i cant wait to experience that love someday 🙂

  • Reply
    [email protected]{Shaped by Grace}
    October 8, 2011 at 5:57 am

    So true!! You totally captured the essence of being a parent. Love it! Thanks for sharing. 🙂 xo, Reannah

  • Reply
    Leslie
    October 8, 2011 at 6:04 am

    Aww.. You made me smile. What a sweet story and so so true! I have never loved so much in my life. My child means the world to me. Thanks for sharing this sweet story 🙂

  • Reply
    Carly @ Mason's Roost
    October 8, 2011 at 6:15 am

    so true. so so so true!

  • Reply
    Karly @ Three in Three
    October 8, 2011 at 6:23 am

    This reminded me of some of the first moments I had with Afton. And there is nothing wrong with taking your little man on a drive to get him to go to sleep; I would put Afton on her Boppy on top of the clothes dryer and turn it on to get her to nap!

  • Reply
    Lea S.
    October 8, 2011 at 6:32 am

    This is precious! You are such a great writer!

  • Reply
    Mindy Harris
    October 8, 2011 at 7:24 am

    you took the words right out of my heart.

  • Reply
    Summer @ Made By Munchie's Mama
    October 8, 2011 at 7:25 am

    Love your blog and this post! I love talking to my girlfriends right after they have their first babies. It’s like I get to relive that excitement of realizing how deep and true that love for your child really is. Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    Aileen Billdt ~ Lil' Buckaroo Designs
    October 8, 2011 at 10:04 am

    I like to tell my girlfriends that mommyhood is like a secret, underground club that you would never know existed until you actually become a member of the club. Just like your post says-you think you know, but until you experience it for yourself, you truly have no idea!! Such an awesome club to belong to!!

    I have to share this one story with you that sticks in my mind as my first time I really felt like doing a secret mommy handshake with a complete stranger. It was when I was out on a quick shopping trip in Nordstrom. My little guy Jake was probably about 6 months old at the time and I was having a rare day where I actually was looking half way decent and presentable and was able to sneak in some mall time. Anyway, as I was browsing the racks a woman walked by with her two little ones and I immediately noticed her wrinkled sweats, her messy ponytail and both her kids each with a similar “messy” appearance. In the past (prior to me having a child) I hate to admit but I would have passed judgement on her thinking, “Wow-girl, did you check the mirror before you headed out the door today???” BUT now I was a mom and I completely understood what her appearance meant. It meant it took all she could just to get out the door that day, and the fact that she was even at the mall was a success in itself. Instead of wanting to judge her I wanted to walk up to her and hand her a gold star and say, “Congrats girly!! You made it out the door and you are here!! Enjoy!!” And then of course I wanted to share the secret Mommy handshake, lol!! So funny how different your perspective becomes once you become a part of THE CLUB!! LOL

  • Reply
    Bethany
    October 8, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    Wow. Beautifully written!

  • Reply
    Angie
    October 8, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    We go through the car ride struggle almost. every. day.
    It is really rare that he takes a nap in his actual bed.
    It is so good to know that there’s others like us out there. It really is a daily thing… deciding wheter or not it should be my hill to die on. Glad to hear your “do what works” philosophy. 🙂

  • Reply
    Elyssa M
    October 8, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    Beautiful and so true! My Husband and I are also a part of the ‘do what works’ parenting club. Our little guy slept in his bouncy seat till he couldn’t fit in it anymore. True story.
    I just love your writing. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    jewels
    October 8, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    Very blunt. very true. wish someone could of told me that before i got pregnant because if i could of seen the future i would have made some different decsions. Mommyhood is truly the hardest thing in the world i have ever done,being pregnant,and labor and all that good stuff comes to and END. But being a parent NEVER ends.oh well i can say that no matter how hard it gets…at the end of the day without fail i always love me little munchkin.

  • Reply
    karlie
    October 8, 2011 at 12:42 pm

    THANK YOU! Liam didn’t go down to nap until 4:00 yesterday. I am 20 wks pregnant with #2 and i am so scared to think I will have another child dependent upon a car ride and mommy laying with them..but then i realize that I can only lay with Liam so the next baby probably doesn’t stand a chance.

  • Reply
    Kristy
    October 8, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    What a beautiful post! I can say that while things are a bit different with my second, they are not far off from the first. Only, she moves at lightening speed and is the complete opposite of her brother in many, many ways. Not all of them pleasant. 🙂

  • Reply
    Kelly
    October 8, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Ya know, a lot of times while surfing through this little blog world, I run across tons of blogs where parents brag about their childrens accomplishments. “My 2 year old knows all her letters and almost all their sounds”, “My daughter puts herself to sleep at night when she is tired, and she’s only 2.” While there is nothing wrong w/ bragging, (I know I do it from time to time), it kinda bothers the insecure parent in me when MY child is not doing those things. That’s why I want to thank you for your post. Once again you have been honest enough to show us that we are not all perfect and sometimes we just have to do “what works for us”.

  • Reply
    Abbey
    October 8, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    So true. My coworker and I ALWAYS say that no one ever could have prepared us for mommyhood no matter how hard you try to tell your friends, its an inexplicable thing that occurs that you’d never expect (good and bad!). BTW–I wish I looked that freaking good right after my cesarian…oh my God. You didn’t even want to see how fat and bloated I was during that time, it was ridic.

    You always write the cutest posts 🙂

  • Reply
    Jazmin
    October 8, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Perfectly worded. Maybe we should just send those friends over to your post here… pretty much sums it all up!

    ♥Jazmin

  • Reply
    Carolyn
    October 8, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    What a perfect post. Everything is so true. I thought all of those same things before the birth of my son. I knew everything. Then I heard that first cry in the hospital and the only thing that I could do was cry because just like you said my heart actually hurt from the amount of love that I felt for him. Children are the most perfect gift.

  • Reply
    Michelle
    October 8, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Can I get an Amen?!

  • Reply
    Samantha Grey
    October 8, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Like many mom’s I know what it is like to have an impossible sleeper! When Max was 2 I thought it will get better with age and we will just do what works until then. That was not the case! We still struggled with him coming up to our bed EVERY.NIGHT when he was 5, and we have 3 kids now. His bad sleeping habits had rubbed off on his younger brother (who WAS a fabulous sleeper). My aunt (who also has impossible sleepers), recommended a book to me & I am not one to read the parenting books. But this one I tried, and it worked for us! I told myself I would recommend this book to ANYONE who has trouble with their children sleeping & so far, I have recommended it to 6 other families who have tried this and swear by it too.

    The Sleep Lady’s Good Night, Sleep Tight: Gentle Proven Solutions to Help Your Child Sleep Well and Wake Up Happy, by Kim West

    Imagine all the crafting you could be doing instead of driving 😉 Good luck! I hope it gets better for you!

  • Reply
    Marissa
    October 8, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Beautiful post Ash! LOVE!!! <3

  • Reply
    Maria
    October 8, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    I was SUCH a better parent BEFORE I had kids! hahaha! 🙂
    And I too will put nap fighting toddlers in the car and drive until they fall asleep. I did it when my oldest started to drop her nap, and I’m starting to do it again now that my youngest no longer wants to nap. I can’t actually accomplish anything in that time but well rested kids are worth it.

  • Reply
    Kari
    October 8, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    So, I’m BAWLING right now…no big deal.

    Love this post.
    Love your blog.
    Love you!

  • Reply
    Ashley
    October 8, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    wow, its so so true. You have to just smile and nod when they future parents act like they are going to have the easy right path from all their research. I always say God gives you children to show you how little you have control. Its so true! ha. None. Its like the Matrix, it can’t be explained, only experienced. Wonderful post!

  • Reply
    Rebecca
    October 8, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    This brought tears to my eyes… as I sit 9 months pregnant with our 3rd little girl. And each time I think “how could I love the next one just as much” and each time God widens my heart and fills it up with more love to give. Thank you for sharing!!!

  • Reply
    Tiffany
    October 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    I can’t help but think those same things every time I see someone pregnant with their first baby. It also always makes me remember how special that time was for me. And the nap thing…I have totally done that before! Just be thankful you have that option and that it works! No harm in it whatsoever! My issue that I deal with now is that I have an almost one year old. the car ride is perfect to put my 2 & 1/2 year old to sleep and then up to her bed for a nap, but if my one year old falls asleep too, then he won’t stay asleep when I put him in bed. Ugh. It makes nap/quiet time for both kids at the same time very tricky!

  • Reply
    jenna winters
    October 8, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    That is so funny, I thought this same thing last night. I was out with my girlfriends who I have stayed friends with since high school. All our husbands are buddies from hs as well. It’s fun. Anyway, out of the 6 of us, two are still kidless. One of the two has wanted a baby since she was a baby and the other is in no hurry whatsoever. She kept saying that she isn’t ready for the poopy pants, screaming & crying, no sleep and yada yada. We all kept telling her that no one is ready for that stuff and nobody welcomes it. But she just goes off of other people’s kids and how she sees others having a hard time when she sees them with their kids. It’s so hard to tell her in words that she has no idea what a joy it is. Even though you have to deal with all the poop and tantrums and lack of sleep, the good things outweigh the bad things tremendously. I wish I could help her understand what it feels like to have your own child look you in the eye and say I love you with out speaking.

    I too have nap and bedtime issues with my toddlers! It stresses me out more than anything. I cut out my almost 3 year old’s naps because she too was staying up so late. Now she goes to bed at 6:30-7:00pm and wakes up around 6-7am. Sometimes she is an emotional wreck by 5-6 in the afternoon, but hey if it means I get “me” time when the sun goes down… by all means…

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    heather from arizona
    October 8, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    I have some of those same thoughts when I see families with one child. I remember when I had one and there were days that were hard (EVERY stage of the game has hard times!), then I had two, and I looked back on those only one days and thought, wow, that was easy! Then i had THREE! and I think, wow, this, this is challenging!

    But, then every night when they are all asleep and their little faces so serene and I remember why I do all the things I do, and my heart just swells with love. It’s like Elder Anderson said: “Motherhood is not a hobby, it’s a calling. You do not collect children because you find them cuter than stamps. It is not something to do if you can squeeze the time in. Its what God gave you time for.”

  • Reply
    ilene
    October 8, 2011 at 5:19 pm

    aaww, thanks for the heads up. 😉 i’ll try to remember this when it’s my turn.

    p.s. always love your writing, friend!

  • Reply
    Kendra
    October 8, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    Beautiful post and so, so real. It almost brought tears to my eyes. And the second baby is like a whole different set of emotions. You get to watch your first little love fall in love with your second little love. It’s amazing to be a mommy!

  • Reply
    Laura @ Laura's Crafty Life
    October 8, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    So very true!

  • Reply
    Megan
    October 8, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    So great and so true!! And I LOVE your momma confessions. WE can all relate!
    Much Love and Happy Saturday!

  • Reply
    Kaye
    October 8, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    “Do what works” is an OK strategy. My mom suffered with Alzheimer’s and always wanted to go “home” – which meant to her mom’s house (she usually thought she was about 14). We used to go for a ride every day when that happened and when we arrived again at my house she had the sense of being home. Hang in there, momma! They grow up too fast.

  • Reply
    Megan
    October 8, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    SO true!! Being a parent is AMAZING!! LOVE this post!!!!!

    P.S. Do what works!! 🙂 We say that ALL the time!! TOTALLY agree!!!

  • Reply
    Kayla
    October 8, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    I love this post!!! You have such an incredible way of expressing yourself! I love it! You say all the things I wish I knew how to! I have a 6 month old son and I totally relate to every single line in this post! You are amazing!!! Thanks for sharing the truth about being a Momma and giving me lots of inspiration!

  • Reply
    Ben
    October 8, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    you are a wonderful mom and wifey to baby dub and I. Love u Sweety! Benja

  • Reply
    mamareese23
    October 8, 2011 at 11:16 pm

    That made me tear up! Today I am nursing my 2 babies (which aren’t babies anymore… they are almost 3 and 7!) back to health. My oldest has had fever and headaches, and my youngest is getting over pink eye. Even in the midst of the sickes… I can’t help but hold them close and thank God for such blessings! I love how raw, real, and AWESOME you are. Oh, and this whole post… yeah.. hit the nail on the head! Never know until you experience it for yourself. 🙂 <3

  • Reply
    Jamie
    October 9, 2011 at 12:01 am

    You’re right – you can’t TELL someone what it will be like to become a parent. And even if you do, they won’t truly understand until they’re actually holding their little one. :o)

    The picture of him cuddling his blankie is absolutely adorable!!!

    Jamie
    For Love of Cupcakes

  • Reply
    Nina
    October 9, 2011 at 12:05 am

    This was the best post ever. I remember this vividly with my babe. No words could ever describe this wonderful roller coaster of parenthood. You definitely captured all this emotions and out me right back to that time 🙂

  • Reply
    Meredith
    October 9, 2011 at 2:10 am

    Your post reminds me of a quote I loved when I had my first daughter:

    Being a mother feels like wearing your heart on the outside of your body.

    SO true.

    If there’s anything I’ve learned being a mother (particularly having gone through it twice having two *completely* different experiences… you just can NOT prepare yourself for any of it. You can’t say what you will and won’t do until you’re faced with that moment to decide. And the books? Leave them at the library…

    This is a beautiful post, and something I imagine all mothers can relate to – there’s something we all sort of “know” when we see someone who is expecting their first… and you put it into words.

  • Reply
    rachel foos
    October 9, 2011 at 2:31 am

    ash,
    i got chills reading this!!!! you really never do know until there here!!! it is truly so amazing!!!! xoxo

  • Reply
    mama marchand
    October 9, 2011 at 2:40 am

    Amen, sister friend! There’s nothin’ like it!

  • Reply
    Lacie
    October 9, 2011 at 3:16 am

    This is sooo 100% true. You definitely have to experience it for yourself before you will ever understand. I’m also a proud member (well…sometimes proud?) of the “whatever it takes” club. I had a friend still rocking her 18 month old to bed at night, & I swore that would not be me. That I would sleep train and I would lay him in his crib at night and he would go straight to sleep and be waiting for me in the morning. YEA RIGHT! I totally FAILED at the “cry it out” method. Then, my son at 7 months learned how to climb out of the crib and he ended up in our bed a lot of the time because I was scared he would climb out in the middle of the night/fall out and get hurt. Needless to say, car rides are the best for nap time. 😀

  • Reply
    Maria
    October 9, 2011 at 4:16 am

    Well said. Your words just brought tears to my eyes. I saw a similar couple (at Target) and thought the same thing. Sometimes I also feel bad for them because they are about to experience Total exhaustion, anxiety, and the overwhelming fear of those few weeks. But then I think how blessed they are to get those newborn snuggles.
    My son is 8 months and it feels bittersweet to see him get so big and grow so much each day. I thought I would never do I also have a list of things I will do differently next time around but I know God is in control and my plans for tomorrow are in his hands.
    My college roommate had her first baby this morning. I wanted to warn her about the sleepless nights and heartbreaking LOVE but I think I’ll let her experience this for herself. Then we can call each other and laugh in the face of parenthood. Ha!

  • Reply
    Lindsay
    October 9, 2011 at 8:25 am

    This post and the whole meaning of it took my breath away. I struggle all the time with parenthood. I worry when my son doesn’t take a nap for the day, or if he slept late the night before, or even if he sleeps in longer…among other things. But your post just proves that each child and family is different from everyone else. Instead of having rules for how and when we should put our babies down for a nap {or anything else, for that matter}, the books should just say: Do what works for you!

    I absolutely loved this. Thank you so much for opening up about the subject!

  • Reply
    Aleyta
    October 9, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    I have to rock my almost 2 year old still. Or no nap. Do what works, I agree!

  • Reply
    Cheri
    October 10, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Once again you amaze me with your writing. I am a single mom that has to share custody with the father. I never knew “love” before I met Emma, true love….I thought I had it a couple times, but now I know better…when Emma is at her dad’s my heart and soul truly hurt!!! The sad thing is you hear parents say all the time aren’t you glad to be free of the kid tonight…those are words that have NEVER left my lips I ache when she is gone and make the most of our time together…I too put her in the car to take her nap, because its a schedule that needs to be maintained for happy coexistance in the home. You are truly an amazing woman and I feel blessed to have stumbled onto your blog, you inspire me & give me strength on days when I need it most. Thank you!! U look fab after your c-section…wish I could say the same for mine. Again, thank you for being so candid and real with your readers!!

  • Reply
    Dominique @ Craft Couture
    October 10, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    WOW! I LOVE this, made my eyes all watery because you are EXACTLY right. Deff. about the love part, you have never known a love like a love you have for your child.

  • Reply
    Heather G.
    October 10, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Amen!

  • Reply
    Andrea
    October 10, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    I love your description because it is so true… the same thing happens when you send your little man (who by then is a teenager, not yet a man) out on a mission to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ! People tell you how emotional it is & that blessings will come to your home while they are gone – but until you experience it you really have no idea! I think I said the same thing when my son left on his mission as we do after giving birth “How come nobody told me?” You really can’t grasp the depth of it all until you experience it yourself. Your love grows even more deeply for your child as you watch them making choices that will change the course of their lives for eternity.

  • Reply
    Amanda @ little b
    October 11, 2011 at 4:18 am

    Loved reading this 🙂 so true!!!

  • Reply
    Hope
    October 11, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    am crying at how beautifully said and true that is!!

  • Reply
    nicolette @ momnivore's dilemma
    October 12, 2011 at 2:02 am

    on the job training indeed.

    🙂

    well put.

    nothing could have prepared me for motherhood of 2 boys. but all the strength and energy in the world couldn’t have prepped me for the voldemort of parenting: autism.

    special needs parenting is a whole different breed of worry.

    we are in a secret sorority of our own right.

  • Reply
    Stefanie
    October 12, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    What a sweet post! And oh so true!

  • Reply
    michelle
    October 12, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    Hi

    I havent ever commented before but your post touched me.

    I have a little boy who is 7 now but he did not sleep through the night until he was 3!!! We tried everything to make him sleep through (controlled crying, medication, special milk, you name it) and it took me to the edge on many occasions.

    He would scream for up to 3 hours most nights because he didnt want to be in his cot or bed. It was very tough. Lack of sleep is the worst.

    He could sleep in his buggy or in the car no problem!

    Do whats right for your son and you.

    In hindsight I sweated about it way too much because of what others were doing.

    Even now he likes to sleep in our bed because he gets ‘lonely’ (we then transfer him to his bed but he ften gets up in middle of the night and comes back in with us) I dont worry about it now – or what others think – he’s a loving, active, clever boy whos ‘problem’ area is sleep.

  • Reply
    Elaine
    October 15, 2011 at 6:01 am

    I know this is technically missing the point of the post, but my parents used to put me in the car to get me to fall asleep too. They did EXACTLY what you did. To this day, I CANNOT be in a car for more than 25 minutes without falling asleep. It’s a memory association thing that has stuck with me and now my husband has to do all the driving on road trips because I get so sleepy. haha

    I’m only 23, and I don’t have any kids yet, but I’m excited to see where it will take me. And I’m excited to love that future child as much as you’ve described here. 🙂

  • Reply
    Cathy
    October 24, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    Do What Works. Yep. I’ve got a lot in that file.

  • Reply
    grace
    May 26, 2012 at 7:11 pm

    I agree with the commenter above that said I feel that way about looking at people with one child…it’s pure craziness when you add more but it is so much darn fun! i have three and I can not imagine life any other way!
    Take care!

  • Reply
    Ashley
    September 28, 2012 at 10:43 am

    I just stumbled upon your blog and I am loving it!! My first baby is 4 weeks old today and this post hit so close to home! Thankfully for the sleepless nights, I have great blogs , like yours, to get me through!

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