Baby Growing Up? It's Ok to be sad

The Scoop

  • I SWORE I wouldn’t be this person…here I am being THAT person!
  • Best lesson learned as a semi new mommy = There are only a few right answers. The rest is totally up for grabs.
  • We’re all doing the best we can
  • It’s ok to be SAD that your kids are growing up. It’s SUCH a special thing and it’s fleeting.
  • But here’s how to enjoy it and be more present.

Links & Currently Reading

Currently reading The Border of Paradise by Esmé Weijun Wang


**This is a direct transcription of the podcast and is not meant to read perfectly. 

Hi everyone, it’s me Daffnee.  Welcome to another episode of Better with Daffnee.  I am talking today about something very specific to being a mom.  You’re baby growing up. I would actually say just being a parent in general.  So, you are a dude and you have a child then this applies to you too.  Also prefacing it with that because if you are not a parent, you might not care about this podcast, which is totally fair.  And I encourage you to spend your time doing what you want to do.  So, this is for the parents.

So, I’m talking about something that I actually had to Google because I’m like, am I the only person that feels this way?  And surprisingly, there weren’t a lot of people talking about it.  Maybe it’s such a ridiculous idea that it’s not that crazy I don’t know.  But my daughter turned one last weekend.  And, you know, I think leading up to her first birthday, everything was really happy, you know, mostly always really happy and it’s kind of like, oh my gosh, one more month and she’s one and can you believe it?  And don’t you remember everything like it was yesterday?  And I’m like, yes, of course Oh My Gosh, it’s been crazy.  It’s been great.  It’s been fast.  It’s been everything.

And it wasn’t until the night before her birthday that I kind of lost it.  I’ll be really honest with you guys.  I like had a breakdown.  I put her to sleep every night like I, you know, I’m always the one to put her down and I just – I like totally lost it.  I mean, I don’t even know how to say that.  I was like super emotional and I cried.  And I just felt like all of a sudden she was just – a year had gone by and it felt like it had just gone by so quickly.  And it was –it just felt very overwhelming because I am kind of a control person.  And I felt like the fact that I could never go back in time, I could never get time back.  And I could never kind of relive that first year the way that it had happened exactly.  I just felt very out of control.  And it felt really, really heavy.

But, I know that sounds negative and I think I want to also take a step back because I think that there is such thing as like happy grieving or positive breathing and I’m totally making all this stuff by the way.  So, it’s obviously incredible that my daughter is one.  She’s healthy, which is the number one thing that I have to be grateful for.  I kept her alive for a whole year.  I feel like I deserve a glass of wine for that.  And she’s a happy baby, you know.  And she has a lot to look forward to and so, obviously there really isn’t negative stuff that’s happening right now or bad stuff that’s happening right now just in terms of her getting older.

But there is just something to be said about what it feels like when you realize that your children are growing up and becoming more independent.  And there’s something so special about those first few months of life and those first, that first year really, where they just need you so much.  And it’s just a totally different kind of relationship.  Obviously, I can’t speak to what it’s like after a year because it’s just been a year.  But you know, I feel like, at first I was really embarrassed about it.  Like, I didn’t want my husband to know that I was like, so upset.

And then later that night, I kind of broke down again, and I told him.  And of course, he’s so, so, so kind and was like yes, no, I mean, I get it, you know, like he’s not as sad as I am.  But he understands and, and I, I – that’s when I Googled it and I just felt like it was really truly the definition of like bittersweet.  You know, I mean, I’m so happy and proud of her for everything that she’s accomplished in the first year of her life.  I’m really, honestly really proud of myself.  I mean, I don’t really say that often but I’m really proud of who I am with her.  And there’s so much more to look forward to.  And so, I don’t feel like any of that, though, like in the moment it takes away what you’re feeling about how they’re getting older.

I have this really incredible client that – her and I are pretty, pretty serious Instagram friends and she has three girls.  She’s just incredible and just has so much wise insight into mommyhood.  And one of the things that she said to me amongst many really wise brilliant things was just that no one ever tells you that it is also a grieving process as your child develops and hits their own, you know, their milestones and learns to become more of their own person.  But it really is.  It’s like grieving.  I am grieving the fact that my daughter is one.  She’s almost walking.  She doesn’t, I mean, even – I know this is so silly but just like I put away all her birth clothes because she doesn’t spit up anymore.

I think something that I realized too is that I just remember so vividly saying how annoying it was because she, she threw up so much like my child was a thrower upper.  I mean, she had some – she had a few small health issues that contributed to that.  And so, I hope I don’t sound like a terrible person, but it definitely was.  It was stressful.  You know, it was stressful, it was overwhelming.  I always felt like I was doing something wrong.  It was messy.  You know, I mean, she’s just spit up all the time.  And in that moment, you know, I never would have imagined that fast forward to a year, I would have been so sad to put away in storage, all of her clocks, you know.

And it just really, I think adds perspective to I think the things that we process every day, whether or not you have a child, I think it could be with anything.  When things are stressful or sad or make you angry but maybe you miss them later on because they actually do add value to your life, whether you notice it in the moment or not.  And I think that’s really kind of where I was just that, that moment, you know and just having that kind of breakdown.  I think it also is helping me realize that the best thing I can do is really be present right now.  Especially, when things are stressful or when they feel hard.

And you know, I should preface this too with the fact that I think she’s very easy.  I mean, she’s not a bad baby.  She doesn’t have behavioral issues.  And she’s, she’s quite happy. And you know, I’m human though and I think just managing my business and my own life and my marriage and my household, in addition to being her mom, you know.  Things do get stressful sometimes.  And they get to be like, you know, they feel like a lot and things like that.  But I think if I can stop, and this is something that I told myself I would do after I kind of had that breakdown is just that if I can stop in the moment, and, you know, process the stress, and I think it’s fine to feel stressed out sometimes.  We’re all human and we’re normal.  But I think if I can just try to look at that silver lining and try and realize that, you know, it’s not always going to be this way.  Like, I mean, I have another really good example.

So, just a couple days after her first birthday, I think she was, you know, teething and had some teething pains that she cried out really kind of aggressively in the middle of the night at like 3:00 AM.  And she was screaming on the top of her lungs.  And she sleeps so well most of the time that you know, when she does it now it’s like extra painful, like I’m extra sleepy.  My eyes are bleeding and helpless.  And I’m – that’s what it feels like.  And so, like I remember just the next morning being like so sleepy like I had to wake up and she took a while to like to sleep.  And it’s just like, I’m so tired.

And I think in that moment too is when I realized, like, I just – I have to take these moments that happen that feels stressful and feel overwhelming, and that I don’t have control over them.  And just realize that like, she’s not always going to do that, you know.  And like, I’m not allowed to sit here and be like, oh, my baby’s growing up but then complain about the things that babies do.  It doesn’t really make sense that way.  And I think I would also feel like I really enjoyed the time as it passed versus kind of looking back after big chunks of time had passed and asking myself like, am I sad about this or am I happy about this?

And that’s something else that I really wanted to emphasize is that I think, you know, actions obviously speak louder than words.  And not only that, but I think actions are the things that really imprint on your memory, you know.  The things that you say and do day to day might not always stick with you or resonate with you, you know.  Maybe sometimes they do but I think that things that you physically do for yourself, for your child, with your child, I think those are the things that really just stay with you the most.  And I think help relieve this feeling of kind of the happy grief of your child getting older.  So, in those moments when I’m feeling stressed out or anxious that you know, I’m trying to stop and say it’s not forever, it’s not permanent.

And that’s really one thing that at around six months I, I was like, wow, I wish somebody would have told me that like, that was the best advice I never got, right, which is that everything passes.  Like, in the middle of the night when they’re waking up every two hours or when they’re constipated and crying and they’re a week old and you don’t know what’s going on, I mean all those things that were very stressful for me, it lasts like two days, three days, besides the sleep thing, of course, that lasts a long time.  But it all passes you know.

And even now, I feel like whenever she’s in a funk or mood or teething or whatever, it’s like two days, three days max and then we’re back to normal.  And, and she’s grown, you know, and she’s now saying a new word or doing something new.  And so, there’s always so much positive on the other side of it.  And so, I’m speaking about this really not just for myself because it literally makes me feel better to say it out loud.  But because if anybody else has ever felt these feelings, I’m hoping that some of this helps you kind of deal with it and think about it in a different way.

And something that I thought was really interesting that I was reading when I was trying to find, if other people were talking about this online is, is really kind of probably an obvious thing to say, which is every single milestone and every time you feel like you are maybe grieving or feeling a little bit sad, you know that your baby’s growing up, or that your baby is getting older.  And I should also say that this could be at any age.  I mean, I probably will feel this way when Rowan (Phonetics) is 16.  But then I had, I read that I thought was just very obvious and smart was that every single milestone that passes means that there’s so many more on the horizon, you know.

And yes, I mean, there’s so much more to look forward to.  And not only that, not only that you have so much to enjoy in between, right.  But every single time that your child changes and develops and grows, it actually adds so much more dynamic and fun and love to your relationship with them that it’s so much more powerful than any of the grief that you can feel.  And I can say that absolutely even after just the first year, you know, it’s like from even from six months, even from eight months, you know.  And she gives kisses and she gives hugs.  And I mean, just these things that I, you can’t even imagine what that’s like when they’re so little.

So, every time she would go on to kind of the next milestone or go through kind of another adult developmental phase, I just realized, like, there’s so much more on the other side of that.  It’s almost like – it’s like, there’s a present at the end of maybe some of that sadness, you know and it never ends.  I mean, even when your children are grown.  I feel like there’s so much that they add to your life, so.  At least I try to think about it that way in terms of my relationship with my own mom.  So, you know, I think there’s a lot – there’s a lot of layers to it.  And I think that just kind of incoming back to the whole premise of my show, which is trying to be better, not only for ourselves and for our children.  But you know, I think it’s just that we all process this stuff differently.

I mean, maybe some of you are listening to this and have children and you’re like, never felt that.  Nah, that’s going to be a hard no for me, which is totally fine and awesome for you.  I wish I was, I wish I could be that way, you know.  I think that that’s the point is that it’s always just kind to be understanding,  I think we can listen to how other people feel about things.  And we don’t always have to insert our own opinion.  Like, if somebody told me this story about them, I would just, you know, it doesn’t have to become about me, which is also something I’m working on, just because I love to talk.  I love to converse.  But you know, I think if someone says the opposite, you know, it’s okay to just let them feel how they’re feeling.

And I think one of the things that I did find when I googled this, by the way, thanks, you’re welcome to do it, too.  I literally googled sadness when child hits milestones.  It was this article and it was like parents stop grieving – stop, you know, grieving your child’s milestones and kind of it was like very tough love, like suck it up.  They’re awesome anyway, and blah, blah, blah.  And I just feel like it’s a little harsh.  I mean, and I am, I consider myself to be a pretty tough love person.  But I feel like it’s harsh because I swore up and down when I was pregnant.  And even before I got pregnant, that I would be like this tough love mom, and that’s how I am in my life.

And I think to some extent, I am you know, I am definitely not a helicopter parent.  I definitely try and let them figure it out.  I mean she kind of falls down on herself all the time and I just let it happen.  And, you know, she learns that way.  And I just think though when it comes to this, like very, very, very special and delicate relationship that you have with your children, it is totally okay to feel all kinds of ways.  Whether you’re alone or not, whether a million people feel the same way or not, whether you think it’s weird or wrong, or whatever that looks like, I think the point is that it’s none of those things and it’s all of those things.

So, it’s okay if you feel relief when they start walking.  It’s okay if you feel stressed when they start walking.  It’s okay if you do a really good job of just being present all the time and remembering things as they happen and making sure that you’re, you’re acting on how you feel instead of just saying it or thinking it you know.  And I think all of those things are okay, and there isn’t a right or wrong way to feel about all this stuff.  But you know, something else that I did try to make an effort to do going back to kind of the idea that your actions are going to help, you know enforce your memories more than just thinking something is when Rowan was about five months old, we were still sleep training her.  And she did not sleep through the night even remotely close.

And I was so sleepy. I mean, we’re going on five months of just no sleep, waking up every three or four hours, just really, really exhausted.  I personally am not the kind of person that’s like yes, I do great with four hours of sleep, like no, I actually want to jump off a cliff and I need eight hours every single night.  So, before we sleep trained her, I was definitely at rock bottom just in terms of my own like physical health.  And emotionally, I was really struggling as I needed to sleep.  And I just remember kind of when we were getting ready to actually sleep train her and I was researching more about it.  And I do plan on doing a podcast on that by the way because I get – not an expert but did a fair amount of research and found some really, really interesting stuff that worked so beautifully for us, but that’s another day.

So, in the meantime, I remember just going into her room one of the nights I had to wake up, one of the times I had to wake up and just I was crying because I was so sleepy.  And it just my eyes felt like they were bleeding.  And I picked her up and she didn’t want to nurse.  But she didn’t just want to like lay her head cut up on my shoulder and just like lay there with me.  And I remember it was one of the first times that she had done that intentionally and while being awake.  And I just remember I just remember melting and just saying like, Oh my Gosh, she just needs me right now because I’m her mom.  Like that’s all.  She’s just little and, and alone right now and she just needs me.

And I said to myself, like out loud, I mean, you know, verbally I said, like, I’m always going to remember like this particular moment.  I’m going to make sure that when this happens, I remember that she won’t need me like this forever.  She won’t always let me hold her.  She won’t always put her head on my shoulder.  She will go through phases where she doesn’t want anything to do with me maybe.  And maybe she’ll go through phases where she’s even more independent than she already is.  And all of these things where I can’t hold on to them forever and I, and it would it would be – it would just not feel right to me to try and stop her or make her do something.  I mean, she’s her own person and the best thing I can do is support her.  And she’s already so independent and so I just you know, all these things are running through my head.

And I said like this is, this is okay.  Even though I’m so sleepy, even though I’m so tired, even though tomorrow is just going to be so rough, I’m okay right now in this moment because Rowan needs me and she loves me and she doesn’t know how I feel, right.  She doesn’t know that I’m exhausted.  And she doesn’t know that she’s making me feel sleepy.  All she knows is that she loves me and needs me right now.  And so, it really was one of those moments for me where I said, I just have to remember this all the time.  And I really remember that night so vividly.  And I tried to make more of those nights, these kind of lasting memories that I can envision.  Still I remember sitting in the chair, I remember what I was looking at.  I remember, I remember all of that.

So, you know, I think my, my big main takeaway here is that one, it is totally normal I think, to feel these ways.  I don’t think it’s negative.  I think the best thing you can do is continue to love your baby the way that you love them and encourage them to keep growing.  And at the end of the day, every single time they change and every time they stopped doing one thing and start doing another thing, there’s so much happy, positive stuff that’s on the other end of that.  And, and we should embrace it as parents and you know, don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it and do what you can to, to embrace it all.

And I think, you know, the obvious things to be said here is that we can’t slow down time.  We can’t do anything with time except for try and be as present as we can be. And, and I think that makes us better.  I really do.  I think if we can be more present for our children, put the phone down a little bit more, you know, eat with them more regularly, you know, do things that they enjoy.  And also try and turn those negative and stressful moments into something positive.  I think that we are creating a life that we can look back on and be really proud of.

And while I don’t necessarily know that Rowan always knows how I feel, I do believe that our children are very in tune emotionally with us.  And that what we put out there for them and for ourselves and for anybody in the world really, they pick up on.  So, here’s to parenting because it is hard as hell.  It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done.  And it does get harder but it also gets more rewarding.  And I encourage you guys to stay present and do what you can to feel as if you are really enjoying each day as it passes.

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