My son is 4 and my little girl is almost 21 months old. Watching them grow up reminds me of how precious life is and that we shouldn’t take any moments for granted. At times, the things we stress about most end up being things that ultimately don’t matter too much.
I have this master plan in my head about what next summer will look like. I plan to take off from work and enjoy the summer with my kids, knowing that this growing up stuff happens pretty fast and cherishing these years that they are young is something I will always be glad I did.
As moms, we can get pretty caught up in the day-to-day details of life. Buying diapers, preparing meals, cleaning out drawers when clothing becomes too small – it all takes time. When we think about how much of our time and energy simply goes into making sure our kids have what they need, it’s a lot. And that doesn’t even take into account the time we spend on our marriages, friendship, other family obligations, and pursuing our own dreams. I am sure that many moms wish for more hours in the day. I know I do.
But instead of wishing for more time, maybe we should be rethinking how we spend our time, especially in the early days of our little ones’ lives. Here are a few things I think every mom should do with their baby before they turn 2. And no pressure – you are just fine if you don’t get to them before than 2nd birthday. The last thing you need is something new to stress about, right?
1. Take a Mommy & Me swim class. Having fun with your baby in the water is a great way to bond and exercise, plus the younger they are when they are exposed to swimming, the better.
2. Get really, really messy. I know we get messy, just by virtue of being moms, but I am talking about really messy. We spend so much time trying to clean up their messes, but they love to see us get down and dirty with them. (Tip: If it’s an art project, put on their sleeved bib for easy cleanup!)
3. Do a professional photo shoot. I think doing a photo with just Mommy and Baby is super special, and you and your child will cherish those pictures for life.
4. Make videos of you interacting with them. We take tons of videos of our babies doing everything, but how many of those videos feature us? When your baby grows up, they will want to see you on video interacting with them as a baby.
5. Take them to the aquarium. The aquarium is awesome at any age, but there is something magical about watching your tiny one stare up as the fish swim around.
6. Get involved in a good game of “ dress up.” Pull out your old Halloween costumes and dress up with them. They often start to enjoy things like this well before turning two. Enjoy it with them.
7. Enjoy a good road trip. I know that traveling with babies isn’t always easy, but it can be fun, and giving them a chance to see new people and explore new environments is so important.
8. Splash in the sea. Imagine how you feel when you see the ocean. Now imagine how someone under 3 feet tall feels. Exactly. The look on their face is worth every grain of sand that ends up hidden in their bellybutton (and bottom).
9. Watch the sun set. It’s just the best way to relax and end a fun day with your baby.
10. Play “hide and seek.” Maybe they can’t count yet, and they have no clue about where they should hide, but they laugh uncontrollably and it’s such a blast playing with them before they figure all the details out.
11. Dance in the rain. Dancing and water do mix. Go outside with your baby and have some fun.