9 ways to appreciate your kids while they're still little

These 9 tips will help you enjoy being a mommy, even on those hard days.

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  • Between the stress of trying to keep a house running smoothly, paying bills, maintaining friendships, marriage, and raising little ones, life can get pretty stressful. It's easy to see why days turn into weeks, and weeks into months and years in the blink of an eye. I'm here to encourage you to be a little more mindful of the time that's passing while your little ones are still young and to appreciate your kids while they're still little.

  • Believe me, there are days that our baby crying and household chores are enough to make me wish I could fast forward a few years to when it's just my husband and I at home. At the end of the day though, I'm committed to enjoying every step of this "mommying" journey, and I want you to be too!

  • 1. Really try to manage stress

  • I know this is way easier said than done, and more often than not, I feel like I'm failing at it. BUT when my son is fussing and refuses to let me get anything done without holding him, I make a conscious effort to scoop him up, close my eyes, and really appreciate the fact that right now this little one needs me.

  • In a few years I'll be wishing I had any of his attention as he runs out the door to meet his friends or his girlfriend. Right now though, I'm his main priority and I really want to eat that all up.

  • 2. Find the good in the bad

  • Try to appreciate things that seem impossible to appreciate - like dirty diapers. I know it sounds so crazy, but when I change a poopy diaper I think to myself how lucky I am that I have this opportunity. So many of our close friends have experienced losses and hardship in pregnancy.

  • I remember that they would be so grateful to get to have a little one churning out poopy diapers to change multiple times a day.

  • 3. Try to really appreciate the little things

  • We co-sleep with our little Nugget and there are nights where I have barely any room on the side of the bed and feel like I'm about to fall out. These are actually my happiest times.

  • I lay there and think to myself "I'm so lucky that we have a bed so full of people that I love that there's hardly any room for me!"

  • 4. Enjoy the noise and the chaos, because someone somewhere is wishing they had that too

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  • It might sound crazy to try to appreciate a mess and the associated headaches that come along with it, but all of that is only there because you made these tiny little people that are so easy to love!

  • 5. Think positive!

  • Strive to have more of those positive-thinking moments than negative, self-defeating ones!

  • I'm always thinking about that country song "You're Gonna Miss This" during difficult times with my son or my pregnancy. It's so true that the moments that stress you the most right now are going to be the ones that you really miss one day. Ask any empty nester and they'll tell you the same thing.

  • You're gonna miss this craziness one day!

  • 6. Be mindful!

  • There's a whole movement called "mindfulness" that I would encourage every mom to try to practice. It isn't quite meditating in the sense that people typically think of meditating, but it is a conscious effort to be more "present" in our everyday lives.

  • For example, when you are watching your little ones play, take a minute and just listen to the sounds of the toys clinking against each other, of the noises your little ones make, of the colors in the room, any smells you notice ... this is mindfulness. You're now forcing yourself to be actually present in the moment instead of just drifting through it.

  • 7. Take a step back

  • When parenthood gets too stressful and you feel like you're about to lose your mind - take a step back. Find something tiny to appreciate. Think small, like you're happy that you got through breakfast with no thrown food. Or you're happy that you have a dog to vacuum up the food that does get thrown.

  • Embrace the mess!

  • 8. Find something small about your babies to appreciate

  • Especially when they're being their most difficult. For me, I appreciate my son's adorable pouty faces and the way he squeals and runs away from me when I'm calling him for a diaper change.

  • How amazing are those cute little moments? They're fleeting! The old saying "babies don't keep" is SO true. In the blink of an eye, your little ones will be grown up and moving out of the house. Enjoy the pitter-patter of little feet while you still have it.

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  • 9. Put down your cell phone!

  • This also has a lot to do with the mindfulness factor I'm striving to be better at. When you're checking social media or emails or chatting with friends via text, you're actually missing so much of what's going on around you, including your babies growing up.

  • Now please do not take my tips as a call to not give yourself grace when you feel like you're completely losing it. There are PLENTY of times when my husband calls on his way home from work and I say "get here, he's all yours tonight!"

  • That's just part of the journey!

  • I have a 13 month old and am 24 weeks pregnant with our next baby. The exhaustion of chasing around our Nugget while Dumplin' is giving me constant nausea is sometimes more than I think I can take. Other times I think "This is the most exciting chapter there is in life. Scotty and I have SO much to look forward to!"

  • Even though it's really difficult, I encourage all of you to join me on this journey to appreciate your little ones while they're still little. Take in the sights, sounds, and smells of mommyhood and enjoy this all-too-brief chapter in life.

  • When all else fails - there's always wine!

  • Editor's note: This article was originally published on Simple Living Mommy. It has been republished here with permission.

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Jamie is married to her best friend and has two beautiful little boys. She blogs about living a simpler life and learning to enjoy every day to the fullest. She is passionate about frugal living, maintaining a happy marriage, and of course, being a mommy!

Website: http://www.simplelivingmommy.com

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