Skip to Content

9 Ways to Appreciate Your Kids While They’re Still Little

How to Handle Kids Growing Up

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 and how to handle kids growing up.

A good friend’s husband dropped a bomb of a statistic on me this morning that has been stuck in my mind all day.

He said “95% of the time we’ll spend with our kids happens between the ages of 0 and 18.”

We know logically that we’re going to see our kids far less when they’re grown, but this quote kind of shook me to my core.

Believe me, there are days that our baby crying and household chores are enough to make me crazy.

Having small kids is incredibly stressful. 

At the end of the day though, I’m committed to enjoying every step of this “mommying” journey, and I still fall short sometimes.

Here are my best tips to push the sadness aside and to reclaim some of the time we’ve wasted by getting caught up in mundane day to day activities.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Try to really appreciate the little things.  We cosleep 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!”

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


  • 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!

  • 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.

Here is an awesome resource for practicing mindfulness.  I’m not associated with it at all, but I’ve had great results in my own life just by going through a few of the lessons.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Finally – 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 e-mails 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 “holy crap, 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.

2021 Life Update – we now have 4 kids and have had two miscarriages.

When all else fails – there’s always wine!

What do you do to really appreciate your time with your kids?  Do you feel like you’re mindful in your journey as a parent?


Parenting Advice from a Mechanic - Simple Living Mommy

Saturday 26th of August 2017

[…] are grown and leave the house, make sure you can say beyond the shadow of a doubt that you truly enjoyed them while they were little, appreciated the sticky floors, and made the most of what you had while you had […]


Thursday 24th of November 2016

A great read, thank you. I do try and be present in the moment and just take a second to really listen to what my 6 year old son is saying to me. I find when things are testing it's usually when im not 100% there. Things become so much easier even though nothing has changed except my attitude towards the situation. Xoxo

Andrea Gonzalez Hanson

Thursday 1st of September 2016

Loved your article! Will definitely look into "mindfulness" Thanks for sharing.


Thursday 1st of September 2016

Thanks Andrea! I hope you like mindfulness meditation as much as I do :-)


Thursday 11th of August 2016

Thank you for this!!!! It's just the reminder I needed. God bless you :)


Monday 15th of August 2016

Hi Kris - I'm so happy you liked it! :-)

Carmen Feliciano Marrero

Wednesday 10th of August 2016

It is very important to enjoy your children. It is a magical time. I did and continue to do now that they are 34 and 22. Summer time with my kids was and still is the best time to make memories. Now I'm looking forward to grand kids. Children are the best reward that life can give.


Wednesday 10th of August 2016

I completely agree, Carmen. My kids have added a whole new dimension to my life. :-)

Comments are closed.