Those little things I miss

Written by Kris Bales of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers.

You know how everyone is always talking about the things you’re going to miss when your kids are older? When you’re knee-deep in diapers and toddler tantrums, sometimes you don’t believe those older moms.

I’m not going to lie to you – I don’t miss diapers or tantrums. I have been known to whisper to my kids that I’m glad they’re grown when witnessing one of those tantrums.

As I – and my kids – have gotten older, I’d started to think that maybe I wasn’t as sentimental as most because I wasn’t exactly pining for those younger days. However, in recent weeks, those nostalgic feelings have hit with a vengeance – particularly in the face of teen trials.

I’m not sure which is worse, dealing with a toddler tantrum or worrying about your 19-year-old who is out on a date – because, you know what? When I look at her, I still see that cherub-faced toddler. Cherub-faced toddlers should not be dating!

If you’re in the trenches with little ones, I thought you might like to know what I’m missing, lest you think that being a mom to older kids is all rainbows and unicorns.

Oh, and while you’re thinking about what you might miss, keep an eye out for all those “lasts.” The firsts are easy to recognize – first tooth, first steps, first dance. The lasts are a little trickier.

I remember squeezing into a rocking chair with an 8-year-old boy who was almost as big as me because it had been such a long time and I knew very well it might be the last. Just last week, I enjoyed nearly an hour of curling up in bed, snuggled up with my 13-year-old for the very same reason.

Make sure you’re savoring those little things that your kids are outgrowing. You don’t want to overlook the lasts because you’ll miss those moments when they’re gone.

I miss tucking my kids in at night. These days, they typically stay up later than I do. They may or may not tell me goodnight, but the only tucking in I ever do anymore happens when someone is sick or on those rare occasions when I happen to sneak into their rooms after they’ve gone to sleep.

I miss reading bedtime stories. That book that you’re sick of because you’ve read it over and over and over again? One day, you’ll look at it longingly and daydream of reading it to your grandkids.

I miss having everyone tucked in to a sleeping, quiet house. It’s not just the tucking in I miss. I miss going to bed in a dark, quiet house after everyone else is asleep. Every once in awhile – typically on a Sunday night when everyone has had a long day of church activities – I’ll get a little taste of it. It seems an odd thing to savor, but I always do.

I miss them needing just one more hug.

I miss the days when a kiss and a band-aid could take away the hurt.

I miss being their favorite person in all the world. Maybe I still am, but it’s not as easy to see sometimes.

I miss strapping everyone in to those confounded car seats. They were a pain, but those car seats meant I was the one doing the driving.

I miss cheap kids’ meals. Teenagers can pack away some food, y’all.

I miss being their safe spot. You know how a toddler or preschooler will cling to you in a new situation until they feel secure enough to wander away? Yeah, that.

I miss when blowing bubbles could provide an afternoon of quality entertainment.


Photo by Pixabay

I miss Play-doh and coloring pages.

I miss being the one my son wanted to marry.

I miss my husband being the one my daughters wanted to marry. She shall remain anonymous to avoid embarrassment, but at least one of my daughters was willing to share him with me.

I miss them wanting and needing to hold my hand.

I miss those little drool spots when one of them fell asleep on my shoulder.

I miss the way my boy used to have to twirl my hair with his finger to fall asleep.

I miss when an ice cream cone would solve all their problems.

I miss when their biggest worry was missing their favorite cartoon.

I miss going to the children’s museum.

There are so many awesome things about being a mom to teens, but there are so many things to savor and enjoy about being a mom to littles.

Don’t wish it away. Blow some bubbles for me today.

What do you – or will you – miss about the little kid years?

About Kris

Kris Bales is the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest voice behind Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She and her husband of over 25 years are parents to two amazing teens and a homeschool grad. Kris has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. She also seems intent on becoming the crazy cat lady long before she's old and alone.


  1. I’m in the same boat over here. Experiencing lasts at least once a week these days.
    Hannah’s latest post: In Search of the Flexible Life

  2. As a mom to a 13, 10 & 10, I hear you loud and clear. Every word of what you said is something I can relate to.
    For the younger mamas, you’ve heard the typical “enjoy this time”, and you should, but I would also like to encourage you to let an afternoon of bubbles be the entertainment. The amount of planned (and expensive) activities I took my kids to was silly. It would be better for me to have that money now to do some of those types of things with them. I’m not talking about travel, but I am referring to things like Disney on Ice and live Wiggles concerts. If I could go back to do anything over, it would be the bubbles. Hands down.

  3. This was spot on! My 18 year old twins have done those last things and I do miss them. So thankful for my 9 year old who still gives hugs and sits in my lap sometimes.

  4. sarah davis says:

    What a great post! I’m seeing both sides to the story these days…I’m knee deep in the sweet and difficult times with a high-energy 4 year old boy who LOVES bubbles! Our oldest just turned 11 years old yesterday and hasn’t had the “need” to be tucked in for the past year or so. Sometimes, this makes things “easier” and sometimes I miss the tucking in a lot…the teen years are clearly just around the corner for her.

  5. Oh my gosh Kris, I can so relate! As the Mother of a 21, 18, 15 & 8 year old twins I definitely miss the days of being knee deep in Motherhood. Life was simpler. Less complicated. A hug from Mom solved most problems. I cherish my 8 year old twin girls because I know that they too will be grown in the blink of an eye.

  6. What a pleasure to get to the end of this piece and find out it was by Kris! Kris, you know I’ve been a fan of your work for years. My kids are getting older now too, and I can so relate to this post. This is what ppl need to know. And this is why I’m going to lay with my 9 yr old at night before tucking him in, as long as he’ll let me.

  7. Oh great. Everytime I feel firmly decided not to have a third, I read something like this. 😉

  8. Tears! I am mom to three (6, 5, and 3). Life is easier than it used to be but we are having A WINTER. I am trying not to wish it away because I know I’ll miss it all. Except for middle of the night puke and wiping bums. But, other than that, I’ll miss it all.
    Cait Fitz @ My Little Poppies’s latest post: Amazing Poetry Books for Families

  9. Sarah in Maryland says:

    Beautiful reminder! Today was a rough day in the “thick of motherhood”. My kids are 10 next week, 6, almost 5, 3, 2, & 7 months. I may be unusual, but I don’t long for days without cloth diapers and breastfeeding, bubbles and playgrounds, first steps and first words. Maybe it’s because I have seen my first couple of children outgrow those things too quickly. I’m loving this stage of having independent children and totally dependent babies. I can only hope that when all those ” lasts ” are over that I will have cherished these days enough.

  10. This post seriously made me cry! Maybe it’s because I have 4-yr-old twins and busy! Thank you for sharing specifics on what you miss. So many people say “you’ll miss these days when they are gone” but your specifics….those hit home. I know that I will miss the snuggles in bed, the sloppy kisses, “one more” hug, the assisting in getting dressed, etc, etc….. It put my stage of life in perspective a bit so….thank you!

  11. I can’t relate but I have really been feeling lately that have 2 elementary kids is very enjoyable time. They still want to cuddle and read stories but they are independent at getting ready and play so much of the day without me so I have time to do my own thing it is my favorite stage so far.

  12. Well … now you have me in tears over here. Mine are not teens yet, and no longer toddlers, so I’m letting your words sink in and will think of them often.
    Lacey Meyers’s latest post: I’m Too Old to Be Sulking {When My Circumstances Control my Mood}

  13. Such a beautiful post, Kris! I have goosebumps all over! I am happy to have read this one early morning!I will definitely cherish every single thing and more! Mostly like you rightly said, we ten to look at all the problems, but overlook all these joys!

    Thanks a lot!


  14. Thank you so much for this post! I’ve cried most of it! I have a 3 and 1 year old boys, who are so energetic and sure keep me busy. Many days I just can’t wait until it’s quiet in the house even for few hours, and this post was such a good reminder that I should cherish every moment with them because it won’t last forever. Thanks again!

  15. I’m crying! This is exactly what I needed to hear at this point of the game with a 9, 7, 4, and 21 month old. Yes. I see it coming. I wonder too, was I good enough for them? Patient enough? Kind enough? So much has already gone, memories formed, the bedrock placed. It is unbelievable. An older mom-friend recently said, “What I wouldn’t give to make toast with my toddlers….” I blinked and thought, “I still can….” I want to savor it wholly.

    In recent days, we’ve been in a smooth patch in our household and homeschooling daily life, which has allowed me to take a step back and do just that: savor our time. That in and of itself feels amazing.

    Thanks for the perspective. Its significance smites the heart and challenges us to hold on for the ride. It may be wild, and yes it is wild, but it is an amazing experience all in the same.

  16. As a newer mom (one 4 year old and one 4 month old), currently at her wits end with the tantrums, the whining, the tired arms from carrying two kids all day, and the all around exhaustion, this is a nice reminder to enjoy it while it lasts. Thank you.
    Cedar’s latest post: Picknicking in Early Spring

  17. Heather Pelletier says:

    Kris, I am fortunate enough to be a Mom of both a 3 yr old and a 16 yr old (long story). All those things I missed about my oldest I get to relive with my youngest. Although, they couldn’t be two more very different children. Even though I worry about my oldest fiercely, I know that I have to let go and let God. The girlfriend thing is an ongoing “battle” but overall he is a very well-mannered young man, if only on the tad bit lazy side. My youngest is a little daredevil like his brother was (one of the only similarities), so when Daddy is going fast enough on the snowmobile he wants to go faster. I thank the Lord I have a job that can afford me to homeschool him and not feel guilty. I see how much my oldest struggles in public HS with the pressures of living up to the expectations and standards of society. Kids are mean and cruel if allowed to be, thankfully he is not one of them and strives to avoid those kinds of influences. I’m going to be a wreck when he goes off to school, but I’m also confident he’ll be fine. Thanks for reminding us what it was like to look at the world through the eyes of a child, and I will definitely be more mindful of those pesky lasts with my littlest.

  18. What a great reminder to treasure these days! We are on the cusp of having a pre-teen…and I’m already dreading the ‘lasts’!
    Elaine’s latest post: Weekly Wrap-up: Robots

  19. Jessica Yang says:

    This post brought tears to my eyes. Its beautifully written, and definitely reminds me to treasure what I have today. Thank you for helping me to see into the future.

  20. A lovely post thank you Kris, my eldest is almost 13 and my youngest is 5, with a 10 year old with difficulties in the middle, she still seems more like 7 a lot so I seem to have two little ones and what a lovely reminder to treasure the lasts, my eldest is so independent now I miss it but I enjoy the moments he shares with me and is still my little boy, I distinctly remember the last time I nursed my youngest, she was just past 2, and i remember thinking this is the last time I will ever nurse and it was so special, my young ones still need me to tuck them in so I shall treasure it while it lasts, the other morning my youngest came into our bed and she loves to touch my belly ( funnily the bit I hate the most) and she always says oh I love your tummy mummy because god made me grow in it and I was thinking about how long she will still do this, it might have been the last time, I hope not. Thank you for the reminder, they grow up so fast, I shall try to treasure it.

  21. I have a 6 year old girl soon to be 7 a 3 year old boy soon to be 4 and i will miss them days so much but my 6 year old is still very much dependant on me even getting her dressed I’m 24 so would love more in few years but I said if I don’t have more then I will love to work in a nursery cos then I’m around toddlers every day and caring for them

  22. Also if u really miss it think of that maybe one day you will have grandchildren and wI’ll get to settle them for bed give them cuddles and enjoy when you get to give them back lol I have been depressed knowing one day my kids will be grown and like my mummy years are over but I’m great full I got to be come a mummy and God blessed me with healthy children x

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