Can we please stop telling struggling mothers, “you’re gonna miss this” and “just cherish every moment while you can”?
Here’s the thing: there are some things about the different ages and stages with my kids that I don’t cherish and can say with a lot of resolve that I am NOT going to miss.
I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Here’s the other thing: I’m not a monster for feeling this way.
And neither is any other mother feeling this way as well.
I’m allowed to feel frustration and complain a little bit through these rough patches. Telling me to “cherish the moment” or that I’m going to “miss this” is discounting my struggle. It makes me think I’m being ungrateful for the blessing in my life. It adds guilt to my already overflowing plate of that particular emotion, and frankly, no one has any idea what I will and will not miss when my kids are grown.
My kids are still young with lots of ages and stages ahead of us, but already, at the ages of two, four and five I have a growing list of things that I don’t – and feel pretty confident I won’t – miss.
1. Sleep Struggles:
I’m done with the battles to get my older kids to go to sleep and being
up through the night with my toddler who has diagnosed insomnia. I did and will cherish that middle of the night bonding time I had with my son when he was a teeny-tiny infant and those middle-of-the-night feedings were essential but that ship sailed at around eight months. Cherished doesn’t mean I want to relive any part of it, and what I miss is sleep!
2. Baby Gear:
Big, bulky and creating clutter throughout the entire house because there’s
not any real great “store but have easily accessible” (i.e. one handed) solutions. Believe me, I arranged and rearranged and rearranged again in an attempt to accomplish this very thing. Could we have gone without? Sure! That said, the gear made life simpler for a short time. I am thrilled that we were able to have these things and even more thrilled when I could get rid of them and restore some semblance of order. I don’t need this clutter reminder of “time gone by” – I have pictures and memories of the actual things that matter etched into my brain.
3. Getting Out The Door With Ease:
Remember the days you could get out the door in under 10 minutes? The days you didn’t need three days of planning and two hours of packing for all of the “just in case” scenarios tied to an afternoon away from home?
THAT’S what I miss!
I won’t miss being so exhausted by the planning and preparing for an outing that I don’t even want to attend. I won’t miss thinking I’m covered in the diapers and wipes department because we have a supply in the car, only to discover AFTER my son has had an epic blowout that the diapers in the car are two sizes too small and the wipes have long since gone dry. I look forward to and will rejoice when we can return to more easily and efficiently getting out the door.
4. Wiping Butts:
Whether in the form of changing diapers or through the potty training process, I’m majorly celebrating when each of my kids passes through the “can appropriately wipe their own butt” milestone. I still have one in diapers and another on the cusp of being able to handle this himself and I promise that once we round this corner of independence: I won’t be looking back!
The memory of my youngest learning the ropes of tantrum throwing, complete with a slow and careful fall to the ground, screaming into the carpet and then stopping to check if we are watching followed by continued screaming will forever be etched into my memory. I will look back on it with fondness and it will always bring a smile to my face.
But the legit tantrum throwing because of big emotions, wants and needs coupled with inability to effectively communicate? Or the fits that my older kids throw as a result of not getting their way? The tantrums and fits that are occurring far more often than any reasonable person can tolerate. The ones that leave me on the floor of the bathroom with screaming in my head and my own tears flowing? Yea, nice try, I will now and forever pass.
I understand the sentiment behind “you’re gonna miss this” and “cherish every moment” but can we get honest about something? Kids can be savages and raising them isn’t easy. Some things about being in the trenches of motherhood won’t be missed and won’t be cherished no matter how much we are told that that’s what we need to be doing.