A Letter To The Mother of Small Children Close In Age

Raidah Shah Idil
Nov 16 · 4 min read
Photo by Liv Bruce on Unsplash

Dear mother of small children close in age,

One day, you won’t be this exhausted. You will get a full night’s sleep. You will have long, delicious, uninterrupted hours, to do with as you please. You can go to the movies, alone. You can read books, alone. You can have long, warm showers alone, with the door locked. You will be so alone one day, you will not know what to do with yourself.

One day, you can use the toilet without one — or both, or more — babies screaming outside. You won’t have to carry one (or both, or more) of your babies in with you because you have the runs. You won’t have haemorrhoids that flare up up with every baby you grow and birth. You won’t have nausea so unrelenting, you can barely eat during your first trimester. You won’t have an insatiable appetite, with every baby you breastfeed. You will no longer experience the primal wonder and pain of labour, birth and postpartum recovery.

One day, you won’t have to potty train a distracted little human anymore. You won’t have to scoop up, or mop up pee or poop. You won’t have to play Elmo’s potty song for the millionth time, to coax your preschooler onto the toilet. You won’t have to frantically inspect each public toilet before your child does because if you don’t remove any evidence of imperfection, she will refuse to use it.

One day, you will miss the cuddles, kisses, and overall adoration. You will miss the way your babies cling to you, how much you are human velcro to them. You will miss how much they are fascinated by the soft doughiness of your perpetually postpartum body. You will miss how who you are, and everything you do, amazes them.

One day, you will miss how much they want you around. You will miss the way they crawl and run to you the minute you park the car in the driveway. You will miss the wonder of every new milestone, with every child you have, because of course it is special with each one. Of course it is.

One day, you will be thrilled you had your babies close in age. You will no longer have to referee their inevitable fights. You will no longer have to stay calm through chain-reaction tantrums. You will no longer stagger from one crying baby to another in the middle of the night. You will teach them how to problem solve so that eventually — eventually — they will work out their own solutions. They will develop epic problem-solving and conflict resolution skills that will help them for rest of their lives. You will be so relieved that they will support each other through highschool, university, and beyond.

One day, you will miss how desperately they needed you. You will be the one knocking on their bedroom doors. You will be the one asking them to please put down their phones so you can have a conversation with them. You will be the one trying to extricate just a tiny bit more information about their days away from you.

One day, going on holidays with them will actually be relaxing. You will only have to worry about packing your own suitcase, and even bring along luxury items like books and your favourite lip balm. You will wake up on freshly laundered sheets in a resort somewhere, with your adult children already helping themselves to the breakfast buffet. You will not have to worry about packing enough diapers, ever again.

One day, your marriage will actually be something that you can luxuriate in. You will remember how interesting and fun the father of your children actually is. You will actually not have to perform babysitting kabuki in order to secure just one movie together, in a proper cinema, with actual popcorn. You can decide to go for a weekend camping trips or long road trips, without your kids.

One day, you will be the one waiting for your kids to come home and visit. You will count down the days until they arrive, and stock up on their favourite food and treats. You will disappointed at how much you’ve missed out on, while they were away. You will be thrilled at how much they’ve grown, too.

One day, maybe, just maybe, you will become a grandmother, and marvel at the tiny, fresh newborn in your arms. You will learn an entirely different and yet familiar kind of love for your grandchild. You will be the one to reassure your sleep-deprived daughter that one day, it will get easier for her too.

Raidah Shah Idil

Written by

Mother of three, poet, writer, and dreamer. Based in KL, Malaysia. Always hungry. www.raidahshahidil.com

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