Wipe Your Tears Mommas, The Best is Yet to Come!

I have been extra weepy the past few weeks thinking about the end of the summer for two reasons:

My son Rex is turning 7, which to me is the end of the little kid era. We’ve gone from PJ Masks to Marvel in the blink of an eye.

My daughter Mila will be in 5th grade starting middle school, the tweenage hormones have invaded my house to stay for the next few years.

We all ask ourselves, “How did this happen so fast!?”

As moms, I think we are always thinking about the things we are missing or worrying about the future. But what about celebrating the things we are leaving behind and embracing what’s coming? When I began to reframe my emotional momma meltdown in that direction (after talking to a couple of my best friends) it got me thinking – there are a lot of things to relish being in the past and even better things to look forward to! 

With that, I present to you my list of things I absolutely do not and will not ever miss:

  • Breastfeeding – Shout out to all the successful breastfeeding moms out there – I wasn’t one of them! I tried my best with both kids, but could just never get the hang of it or produce enough. Remember, fed is best.
  • Blow Outs – There is not one thing that I miss about poopy diapers. And definitely not cleaning diarrhea off a 6-month-old onesie in the back of my trunk in Target’s parking lot while I try not to puke. Speaking of…
  • Puke – If you had a child with reflux you will be with me on this one. My son went through at least 5 outfits most days like he was the exorcist. I am pretty sure I smelled like regurgitated Gentlease for the first 10 months he was alive. Oh, and have you had a baby throw up IN YOUR MOUTH? I have. Both kids.
  • Putting everything in their mouth / nose – What was that stage? It’s like they just want to see how quickly they can catch a transmittable disease every time you go to a public place. My kids have licked lobby windows, handrails at Disney, and everything in between. I’ve called poison control after my daughter ate a silica pack (non-toxic by the way) and after my son ate an entire can of almonds while we were sleeping (stomach cramp city). I have FaceTimed my best friend who is a nurse practitioner while my husband has tweezed an Orbie out of Rex’s nose. Parenting is just not for the weak.
  • Temper tantrums – Our temper tantrum stage was short luckily, but even the shortest battles can leave you with PTSD. The days of picking up a wriggling, screaming, 25-pound Tasmanian devil off the floor of the grocery store are long behind me.
  • Sleepless nights – I like to sleep and barely got any of it for like six years straight. Somewhere along the way, I think my son actually sleep-trained us. He goes to bed in his room and has mastered sneaking into ours in the middle of the night without waking us up. Whatever, I will take it.
  • The runny nose – I would cringe every time I would walk into daycare and look around at all the little runny nose faces staring back at me because I knew it would only be a matter of time before my kids’ would be pouring like a faucet. The round and round of daycare colds will not be missed by me!
  • Potty training – Teaching tiny humans that can barely talk to use the bathroom is normally not an easy feat for any parent. I won’t get into the fact that having a son is basically potty training for a lifetime since you will be grossed out cleaning your bathroom for many years to come.
  • Lugging around all the STUFF – Carseats, strollers, breast pumps, bottles, diapers, wipes, pacifiers, extra clothes, lovies, toys, snacks, blankets, ahhhh it was like packing to go on vacation every time you wanted to go to the store. Leaving behind the bulkiness is so freeing, I do not miss being bogged down with baggage.

And all the great things that are happening at this stage:

  • Them being my sidekicks – Want to go to Target? YES! Want to go for a walk? YES! Want to paint the living room? YES! They are literally down for anything at this age. Even my daughter who scowls at me for a living lately is thrilled at the mention of going to do anything. They are my squad that I can always count on for a fun time. And it’s wonderful being past all the points I listed above.
  • Watching them grow into unique individuals – My kids are night and day from one another, they are so incredibly different! They have different strengths, weaknesses, interests, and talents. They both bring joy to my life but in their own special ways. My daughter is insanely creative and will watch an entire series snuggled up with me. My son is a prankster and comedian who loves the outdoors.
  • Teaching them about life – As they both get older we get the opportunity to share our life experiences with them and teach them everything they need to know. We all want our kids to do better and have better than we had, it is our chance to pass the torch on to them. I enjoy having serious discussions with them and hearing their thoughts and opinions. We have tackled serious issues like gay marriage and death, and also conversations like periods and puberty which usually end up with them cringing and us laughing.
  • Traveling more freely – We love to vacation but have not traveled to certain places yet because we want them to remember it. Disney World and the beach are one thing, but when I decide to bring my kids out of the country or to a more mature destination, I want them to remember the experience. Also, I am not looking to go far with ALL THAT STUFF they used to have.
  • Discovering their talents & interests – My daughter has discovered that her passion is singing and she focuses her time and energy on that. She’s also a stellar fisher and has started to go hunting with her dad. (I would have NEVER seen that coming!) My son is super analytical and has been building large LEGO sets since he was a toddler. Rex loves baseball and all things outdoors, he loves being athletic. Mila could never run again and not care at all. She loves English and the arts, he’s all about science and math. I love watching them figure out what they love!
  • Supporting them through good and bad – We’ve experienced school struggles, family issues, hurricanes, and a worldwide pandemic. We’ve celebrated wins, happy times, and our successes. No matter good or bad, us four have each other. I look forward to being there to let out happy screams and also there to give hugs and wipe tears. Life is difficult and knowing I can be there every step of the way for them gives me solace.
  • Creating more memories – As they get older, the memories we make together are changing. We were able to bring our kids to Jazz Fest for the first time this year, my son’s first concert was Red Hot Chili Peppers. We did a 7-mile hike to the top of a mountain this spring, the killed it! Our adventures together are getting more exciting as they get older, I know we have thousands of “good times” coming up still.

So while I may still get misty-eyed that I am not rocking any babies to sleep tonight, I will remind myself that the best is yet to come.

Dana Wattigney
Moving from Nebraska in middle school, Dana considers herself a New Orleanian 25 years later. She now lives in Belle Chasse with her husband Ryan, 12-year-old Mila, and 8-year-old Rex. As the Executive Director of the YMCA in her community, she is very involved in all aspects of family life. You can find her on the weekend doing DIY projects, cheering on LSU or the Saints, and spending time with her family. A lover of all revelry, there is no festival, concert, or event that she won't go to! Catch her with the Krewe of Cleopatra each Mardi Gras. She gets out of town with her kids as much as possible, they enjoy the outdoors, especially the mountains & the beach. Affectionately known as "Dana Dolittle" to her friends, you can expect her to have a random animal she is trying to help at any given time. Dana loves to write & says there are no topics off limits.


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