There are certain things that parents look forward to seeing their children do for the first time. Watching them take their first steps, saying their first word, and losing the first tooth. These are all really important milestones that you don’t want to miss as a parent.

Typically, with your first child, you meticulously journal every single “first” they do, probably even take photos to document and fill out every single page of the baby book. Then the second child comes along. You do the best you can to document the same things as frequently as you can, but not with nearly the same momentum as with the first baby. Then the youngest comes along. She hardly has any photos, no journaling, and little to no documenting.

But as a mom of three young children, there are some other amazing “milestones” that I want to mention. These are not the usual things you think of, but to me, these things are BIG DEALS. You are not going to find these gems in any of the baby books. When you children can do these things, it means that you have survived some of the worst times of the early years.

These folks, are the real parenting milestones.

  1. Your child figures out how to blow their own nose with a Kleenex and figures out how to keep the snot from shooting out of their nose or mouth when they sneeze.
  2. They poop in a toilet AND wipe their own butt independently. They may not always do the best job, but they can do it.
  3. When your child can climb into their own car seat and/or buckle their own seatbelt. You no longer have to wrestle them into the seat and use physical restraint to buckle them in…they just do it.
  4. They can put on shoes without help, probably at a snail’s pace, but still…they can do it.
  5. When they can put on their own snow pants, hats, mittens, and boots without help and stay outside playing longer than three seconds.
  6. When they can barf in the toilet or into the bucket and not all over the couch, floor, bed, and carpet. This my friends, is a glorious day.
  7. When your child bathes alone and can get themselves dressed. No water all over the floor, no toys all over the shower, no crying about soap in their eyes.
  8. When they learn how to turn on the TV and switch to Netflix without assistance. Say goodbye to trying to figure out what the “monkey show” is or the “movie with the car”. They can find it themselves.
  9. When they learn that it is not a good idea to go running blindly into parking lots. They can get out of the car and stand there until you get the other children out. Truly amazing.
  10. When they can make their own breakfast. Mom can enjoy her coffee before it gets cold. Ok…probably not, but it was a nice thought.
  11. When they sleep in longer than you on the weekend. I haven’t experienced this one yet, but I hear the day is coming.

Every day as a parent is full of new experiences we get to enjoy and remember and challenges we have to survive. Every milestone is important. Yes, it might bring a tear to your eyes thinking back on all these little things…but once you reach them, it sure makes your life as a mom just a little bit easier.

Congratulations, you made it through this phase! On to the next.

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