I Really Thought I'd Miss The Baby Years, But I Don't

by Annie Reneau
takayuki / Shutterstock

I am a baby lover. I mean, seriously. Babyyyy lovaaaahhhh. Always have been. Can’t get enough of the tiny humans. The way they feel so soft and smell so amazing and look so pure. I just love all the newness and innocence and adorableness of them.

I can’t even describe to you how much I loved my own babies. I mean, if you’re a mom you probably get it, but you probably have to be a babyyyy lovaaaaahhhh yourself to really understand the depths of my ga-ga-ness for my wee ones. It was like I was addicted to them. I couldn’t get enough of them. Even with the fussy cries and the diaper blowouts and the sleepless nights that made me want to curl up and die, I was unbelievably smitten with being a baby mom.

The whole time they were growing from helpless newborn to fun baby to crawling wonder to crazy toddler, I kept wishing I could freeze time. I wished they could be babies forever, and I thought for sure that I’d miss those baby years once they were gone.

But I’m surprised to find that I don’t. Not one bit. My oldest is 16, my youngest is 8, and I don’t wish for those baby years for a second. I still love other people’s babies, and I jump at every chance I get to hold and gawk at one. But then I happily hand them back after a while so I can return to the glorious freedom of older children.

Babies are awesome, but damn, they are they a lot of work. Older kids are a lot of work, too, but it’s different. It’s more emotional work, but you also get more breaks. They can tell you what they need, and their physical needs are not constant. And part of your job with older kids is to have them take care of their own needs when they are able to. With babies, all of their needs have to be taken care of by someone else — mainly you.

When I see moms out with their babies or toddlers, I marvel at their patience and stamina. I often think to myself, “How did I even do that?” It’s like you have some kind of baby mom superpower that kicks in that allows you to carry around those squishy little buggers for hours on end or follow their little curious, toddling selves around constantly so that they don’t accidentally off themselves.

The freedom in not following my children around constantly to make sure that they don’t fall down the stairs, or choke on something, or run out into the street, is nothing short of delicious. Being able to go to bed at night knowing that I won’t have to get up in a few hours to nurse a crying baby is heavenly. I don’t miss any of that—the constant needs, the constant watching, none of it.

I don’t even really miss the things that were wonderful about it. I think I drank in those years so fully and reveled in them so completely that I got everything that I wanted or needed out of the baby stage. I loved my babies thoroughly. I cared for them with everything I had. I didn’t leave anything on the table. And once those years were gone, I was happy to move on to the next stage.

I will still ask if I can hold your baby if you’re willing to let me. I may even appear to fall head over heels for him or her. I am still a babyyyy lovaaaaahhhh, and there will never be anything quite so sweet to me as holding a new life in my arms. But any wistfulness I express is merely a momentary memory of my own babes-in-arms. It’s not a desire for another. It’s definitely not a wish to return to those years.

I loved being a baby mom, but I’ve been there, done that. I wouldn’t trade the freedom and benefits of the older kid years for anything — not even for that sweet baby head smell. (Seriously, somebody figure out how to bottle that stuff.)