My Mama Never Said There'll Be Days Like This

My Mama Never Said There’d Be Days Like This

My Mama Never Said There'll Be Days Like This

Anybody remember that popular Shirelles’ song from the 60’s? “Mama said there’ll be days like this, there’ll be days like this mama said….”?

So the other day, I was humming that catchy tune as I finally got a free moment to pick up some toys and sweep up crumbs off the floor. (Why was I humming while doing such work? After 9 days of illness, 2 ear infections, sleepless nights, breathing treatments and enough snot to fill a swimming pool, having a moment to actually clean the floor felt like a vacation!) Anyway, it occurred to me: my mama NEVER told me there would be days like this!

She never told me that this would be the hardest thing I ever had to do — that I would be sacrificing my entire being most every minute of every waking hour of the day. She never told me that I would be pulled in a million directions, going from child to child to child, getting snacks, wiping bottoms, helping with homework. That I would have 3 kids crying (or yelling) at the same time.

But I don’t need to go into details — you KNOW what I am talking about. You live the same thing I do. But the question is, did our mothers?

I never get the sense it was like this for my own mom. When she gets a glimpse into real life around here, all she does is smile. She doesn’t say, “Oh, I am so sorry. I know just how hard this is. I went through the same thing with you and your brother and sister.” She doesn’t have horror stories of kids vomiting at the dinner table while the in-laws are over and the baby is throwing food on the walls. Was she not pulled on by one kid while trying to check out at the grocery store while another begged for gum and the baby pulled tampons out of her purse? Or is it just me? Do my kids misbehave more than we did? Were things not as complicated? As busy? Did she not try to do as much?

Some people say it’s because nowadays we have things like Pinterest and all this pressure to be crafty and creative in everything we do. But, honestly, my mom was the queen of the hippy crafts in the 70’s — she made driftwood mobiles and macramé wall hangings with the best of them.

Others say we put our kids in more activities now, so we are being pulled in a million different directions, whereas before, kids just ran around unsupervised all day long. But, honestly, I remember doing Brownies and gymnastics while my brother played soccer and went to youth group and my sister went to high school dances and wrote for the school paper. So, I am not sure it’s a scheduling issue either.

But where does that leave us? Why does it seem like it was easier for our parents’ generation?

I think that probably leaves us with 2 possibilities. The first one is behavior. Perhaps we were better behaved as children. Not as demanding. More respectful of adults. Certainly not as entitled or full of expectations that our parents’ mere existence was to be at our beck and call. I don’t remember ever asking my parents to do things like make my lunch look like an underwater ocean scene with an “octopus” hotdog.  Or expecting that my mom would entertain me all summer long with special activities and a summer bucket list!

So, that leaves us with just one explanation: that it was just as hard for them as it is for us, but they have forgotten. That they have developed selective memories. Maybe they blocked out the hard stuff. (Like those crazy women who keep having babies and going through labor again and again!) If that is indeed the case, then there’s light at the end of the tunnel. The middle of the night wakings with sick kids, your heart breaking for your son while he struggles socially, the fighting between siblings, the crying, the whining, the discipline issues? Those memories will fade.

Maybe we will just be left with the good stuff. Maybe instead of the stress of a sick baby, ear infections and breathing treatments, I am just going to be left with the memories of rocking that sweet, sweaty, pink-cheeked baby to sleep.

Or maybe instead of the frustration over my son’s frequent meltdowns, I am just going to remember that, even during a major meltdown, I was the only one he would talk to, the only one who could comfort him during a rough time, and that’s going bring a smile to my face.

Maybe it will be the same kind of smile that my mom has when she sees me struggling with a baby on my hip while two others are wrestling at my feet.

And no matter how much I tell myself to the contrary, maybe when my kids are grown and feel like they are drowning under the demands of it all, I will pass on the same message to my own kids: that there is nothing better than this motherhood thing and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.