The Baby Years: Looking Back

I'm officially past the baby years--those years last a long time, and the days are long and busy.  Babies and young children require hours of care and nurturing each and every day.  What they need in many ways stands in contrast to our busy, commercial United States' culture.  Young children thrive with steady, predictable, safe routines and attention.  They need caring people more than store bought items.

As working parents, my husband and I always felt stretched during the baby years--there was never enough time. We often felt guilty because we just didn't have the energy to do all the things we wanted to for extended family members and friends as work and babies took up the lion's share of time and energy.

Now that I'm past those years and can look back, I'm offering the following thoughts to young parents.
  • Keep it simple.  You don't need a lot of things to create a happy, healthy home.
  • Find time for small pleasures such as a hike in the woods, reading stories at bedtime, building with blocks, watching a family movie and afternoon naps.
  • Simplify traditions.  Leave more time for fun.
  • Spend less.  The money will be valued greatly when it's time for college bills and retirement.
  • Get involved in organizations and events that attract other young families.
  • Build memories by engaging in age-appropriate activities and endeavors.
  • Foster a sense of family by including cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents and other family members in celebrations and big events.
As a culture, we can help young families by advocating for laws and practices that support what's best  for healthy, happy children and families.  If families have time and resources to support children well, our collective culture will benefit.

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