I am home all day with my lovely little girls who are both under two years old. Raising two under two has its perks—we’re getting all the diapering and sleepless nights out of the way all at once, but it has significant challenges that are amplified due to the strong-willed temperament and opinionated nature of my children. They cry, whine, fuss, and yell a lot and, honestly, this makes my girls hard for me to love at times.

For a while, I felt like a bad mother and was riddled with mommy guilt over not being gaga for my babies all the time. I’d roll my eyes when they demanded to be held constantly. There were times when I’d just yell at them in exhaustion, knowing there were still three hours left till bedtime. That said, once we invested in a video baby monitor, I was able to utterly and completely fall in love with my difficult, fussy, strong-willed babies. Here’s why. 

When my girls are awake, they’re demanding, unforgiving, and sometimes violent with each other and with me. They’re an intense pair: an infant and toddler who have inherited a feisty streak that runs in both sides of the family, as it turns out. Neither my husband nor I were easy babies and our siblings were a bit challenging as well. My youngest child demands to be held on one hip while I stand or walk and no other arrangement will do. This means I’m holding my 20-pound 10-month-old while walking around my home for sometimes three hours at a time to keep her from having a tantrum.

My toddler demands my full attention most of the time and will repeat herself, “Mommy, I ate all my applesauce!” over and over again louder and louder until I reply appropriately, “I’m so proud of you for eating all of your applesauce, honey!” and then, “Mommy, are you so glad? Mommy? So glad? So glad, mommy? Are you? Mommy?! Mommy?!” On top of that, she often wants to be held simply because her sister is being held. Honestly, I don’t know why I don’t have Jillian Michaels’s biceps since I hold a 35-pound kid on one side and a 20-pounder on the other for several hours a day.

Read related: The Bad Moms Club

This is tough and there are some days I hate being a stay-at-home mom. Seriously, there are times I wonder why I can’t just drive away and leave these needy, constantly fussing children under someone else’s care.

But…after my babies finally drift off into dreamland, I look at them in the video baby monitor and I love them, unconditionally. I see my little girls with their eyes softly closed, their breathing slow and steady, and a peaceful, expressionless face, I love them in a way I simply can’t when they’re demanding my attention and being fussy all day. Through my video baby monitor, I get to see the babies that other mothers talk about. I can imagine that they smell sweet and feel so soft and warm and only want to snuggle and rest. Only then, as I watch my opinionated, passionate, headstrong little girls sleeping in peace (even if I know they’re waking up to nurse in a mere 45 minutes), I love them with the fierceness a mother is supposed to feel. I understand the storybook love and the need to hold your baby close, feelings I simply cannot feel during the day when they’re awake. 

Truly, my video baby monitor helped me love my baby in way that no other book, toy, or parent resource could have. For that, I am grateful. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch my baby on the monitor…she’ll be up in about 20 minutes!