By Ambrosia Brody of Random Aspects of (My) Life
“I’ll never forget this,” I vowed to my husband as we drove to the hospital three years ago. “It hurts so bad.”
In that moment, it is unthinkable to imagine a time when you won’t remember how a contraction feels, the tightening and pulsating, the lightning of pain that radiates throughout your stomach and up your back as your body prepares for delivering the biggest and most important package of your life.
Those first months back home, you remember the pains of afterbirth, how your nipples ached during the first days of nursing when the baby was still learning to latch and you were worried about producing enough milk. Can you recall how uncomfortable sitting, standing, walking was during those first few weeks at home? Or how tired you were due to round-the-clock feedings and nighttime diaper changes?
“This is so hard,” you whispered to your husband late at night as the baby fed. “I’ll never forget how hard this is.”
Then the infant stage passes like a blur, and you enter the toddler era where meltdowns and endless energy abound. Afternoons are spent playing many roles: a playmate chasing your child in a game of tag—you’re always it, playing doctor, offering hugs to cure boo boos or taking on the role of bad cop handing out time outs to teach right from wrong.
“I will never forget not to leave you alone with a marker again,” you tell your daughter as you scrub her artwork off the wall.
Then comes potty training, and you quickly learn it’s much harder to get your daughter out of Pull-Ups than anticipated. You spend the days chasing after a naked toddler, asking, “Do you have to go potty?” every two seconds and cleaning up the mess because she said no but meant yes.
“I cannot do this again,” you tell your husband while mopping up a pool of pee on the floor. “I will never forget the misery that is potty training.”
Evenings are filled with messy dinners, bath time and bedtime rituals. Once you succeed in negotiating two books instead of five and your daughter is tucked into bed, you begin your nighttime chores—washing dishes, picking up the playroom, responding to emails and texts that have been sitting in your inbox all day. It’s only once you relax into the couch cushions, turn on your favorite show, that you remember all the to-dos on your list that have yet to be checked off.
So it goes. This routine called motherhood where you are responsible for remembering so much—doctor appointments, play dates and birthday parties, due dates for bills, books and writing assignments—that your calendar is covered in post-it reminders.
But as much as there is for you to remember, there is an even amount of things for you to forget.
Perhaps you’ve discovered as I have that being a mom means having the ability to forgive, forget, and move forward. For me, my toddler’s smile or the infant’s laugh resets my memory bank, pushing out all the bad of the day—the blow outs, the frustration, and the meltdowns—and replacing those feelings with a sense of happiness and contentment. Some days that button has to be pressed several times before I can shake off the bad and move into the good, but for the most part, it works.
It’s that reset button that allows us to forget the pain and frustrations that come with parenting small children and moves us into a clearer state of mind. One where all that matters is that smile, those laughs, the tight hugs and grasp of little hands on ours as we cherish these moments because, as we moms know, they are fleeting.
About Ambrosia Brody
Ambrosia Brody is a full-time editor, journalist and mother to two spirited daughters. She lives in Southern California in a beach city but hates the sand; enjoys people watching but hates small talk. She started to blog at Random Aspects of (My) Life when she realized everything she knew about parenting was wrong. Connect with her on her blog, Facebook or on Twitter.