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  2. "Appreciate the little moments" - my reflections on motherhood

by Huggies Mumbassador Laura Byrne

Laura and Marlie

“You will never have this day with your children again. Tomorrow they’ll be a little older than they were today. This day is a gift…”

We tend to bookmark our lives with big monumental moments with birthdays, weddings, buying a house, or that European summer holiday you’ve been Pinteresting for weeks.

We all do it. We wish away ordinary days in lieu of something more extraordinary around the corner.

Parenting is no different. Sure, there are those big, special milestones — when your child first eats solids, their first words, first steps, first day of school, but while we are busy waiting for life’s grand moments everyday joys are bundled into idle Mondays and Tuesdays.

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This last fortnight has been particularly hairy in our household, we have been unsuccessfully sleep-training our delightfully loud and nocturnal 5-month-old daughter.

Since the day she was born I would put our daughter down by nursing and rocking her to sleep every night. I know all the mummy blogs warn about creating bad sleep habits, but it was the fastest and easiest way to get her to the land of nod – and hey, we were just trying to survive over here!

Laura and Marlie

Now that she is getting bigger and heavier, the rocking and nursing to sleep it a bit tricky on my poor pathetic biceps – not to mention I want to spend some time with my partner of an evening without being nap trapped.

Last night after reading her books and putting our daughter down in her cot I stood in the kitchen chopping carrots for a stir-fry, bracing myself for the impending meltdown. I could feel myself getting anxious just waiting for the moment she realised I had left her alone in the room and the tears, tantrums and chaos would begin.

I could hear her babbling away… and then… silence.

My first instinct was that she was up to something cheeky, or worse something was wrong. I crept in to check on her and there she was, my sweet little cherub, quiet and sound asleep, all on her own.

I will be the first person to yell from the roof tops my elation over this victory (but I won’t because shhhhh I wouldn’t dare wake the baby).

I knew our persistent effort would pay off and I knew I would be bl**dy elated when the day came that our baby self-soothed, but what I wasn’t expecting was a little pang of sadness, just a tiny one, deep down. A little pang at the realisation of how quickly my baby is growing right before my eyes.

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Now don’t get me wrong I’ll take all the self-soothing sleep our baby will throw at me, because I know I’m still in for my fair share of sleepless nights. But, standing in the door way watching her sleep peacefully my heart ached for the little moments, it ached for how much I love the way she sleepily strokes my face as I nurse her to sleep and her little milk drunk smiles that only I would get to see.

I realised that in the last few weeks I’ve been so caught up trying to win this sleep battle and regain my evenings that I didn’t stop to soak in how limited this precious time is. My newborn baby is no longer a new born, and soon enough my baby will no longer be a baby.

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Instead of looking from one big milestone to the next, instead of being preoccupied and busy I’ve realised the importance of appreciating the little fleeting moments that makes being a mum so immensely wonderful. Like that big gummy grin that lights up every time I enter the room, and the way she always gets the hiccups from laughing hysterically.

It’s not possible to cherish every single moment when you’re in the trenches of the sleep deprived and chaotic daily slog that is raising a child, but if we don’t slow down we may only realise just how spectacular these fleeting moments are once they are gone.

Huggies is giving Mums and Dads back precious time to enjoy the special moments with the ones you love most. Click here for your chance to win with Huggies November Moments.