I cannot even believe I’m about to write this post, but guys? It gets so much better.

You see, this was my summer four years ago:

Yes, they were cute. Very cute. Yes, I miss babies sometimes. But in addition to adorably squishy babies, I see sheer, draining exhaustion when I look at these photos. That particular summer pictured above, with a 2 year old and a newborn, was a rough one. My firstborn wasn’t a great sleeper, and I was nursing a baby around the clock. It was an especially hot summer, and I learned quickly the unpleasantness that is nursing in 105 degrees fahrenheit in the sand. Did I mention I was also in graduate school at the time? I love nothing more than day trips with my family, but it was admittedly hard to get out the door for groceries that summer, let alone a day at the Peabody with lunch at Pepe’s.

This summer, however, I am able to take a breath for the first time in nearly eight years (because let’s face it, the summer I was in my third trimester with baby #1, I was also unable to relax). The other day, my children swam in the Long Island Sound while I sat on a blanket and drank iced tea. It’s almost too much to bear. At four and six years old, these boys need me less and less. My older son swims with no help (closely supervised, of course), and my younger son does just fine with swimmies. They can finally get their own snacks. They can ride bikes, and they don’t require pushing in strollers or those giant, plastic cars. As much as I loved baby wearing, no one is strapped to me in the heat and humidity. No one needs to be rushed home for a nap. There are nsippy cups in my cabinet, and I’ve lost exactly zero of those plastic leak-proof-vent things. It’s kind of glorious.

So if you are in the thick of a “hard summer” with little ones, know that it will get better. You will come out on the other side, and it’s filled with chilled drinks and beach chairs. (Side note: I need to buy myself a beach chair, because I don’t own one currently, as I haven’t been able to sit down at the beach in seven years.) However, if you’ve found some magical way to freeze kids at their current ages, give me a call or shoot me an email…because these are great ages.