Can You Not?
Just please stop telling me how many summers I have left with my kid. Stop telling me to “enjoy every second.” Please. I get your sentiment, I know your intention is good but frankly, you’re making us all feel like shit.
I am fully aware I may come across as a total curmudgeon and I am sure there are some super moms out there that rarely feel this way but I think this might resonate with lots of mamas.
So you’ve all seen that article floating around the internet, the one about how many summers you have left with your kids and that you should enjoy every swim and hot dog and ice pop and I get the sentiment. Really, I do. My time with my child is precious. There will be a day that I will wish for these moments back. And I love my daughter, more than I’ll ever be able to explain. Even still, that headline makes my blood boil. It inadvertently makes me feel guilty and not "mom enough."
It’s the blog post equivalent of a stranger telling a new (sleep deprived) mother to, “enjoy every minute.” Really? You’re going to tell me to enjoy every minute, right now? I created, grew and birthed a tiny human. 2 days later, I went home scared stiff because I was tasked with keeping this sack of potatoes alive. For the first time in my life, I get basically no sleep. Oh and another thing, I’m sitting on a pillow because someone just sewed my you-know-what up like a pin cushion. But yeah lady, I’ll go ahead and enjoy all that. The miracle of life is miraculous but it’s also damn hard.
I remember before I had Mary Clare, someone told me, “don't feel obligated to enjoy every moment because you won't.” It really struck me and was probably the pre-baby best advice I got. Not until I had Mary Clare, did I truly get it though. What Mom enjoys every single minute? I have to challenge that notion. It’s not possible to enjoy every single instant as a mother, or really anything. There are highs and lows in everything, that's what makes us human.
Who enjoys baby's first vaccine?
Who enjoys a teething baby?
Who enjoys that first night home when your baby attaches herself to your boob from 1am until 7am?
I'd venture to say, NO ONE - or if that someone exists, she should donate her brain to medical research.
The good news is, the moments where you could just burst with love, joy and pride outweigh those helplessly low moments. Like when your baby smiles for the very first time. Or when she looks at you and says, "mama." Or when she takes her first step. You’ll never forget the way it makes you feel and it makes all those moments you don't enjoy worth it.
So can we shift the enjoy every moment to... Enjoy every moment you can and don’t feel less than when you are sad or annoyed or confused. When it is tough, know that it will get better, it will pass and if it doesn’t, reach out for help. Arrange for a babysitter, text your best friend, meditate, take a walk, call your doctor, get a massage.
You can NOT enjoy your children if they’re being difficult AND love them endlessly at the very same time. It’s allowed. It’s normal. We all do it.
I only have about 10 months of experience under my belt but as far as I can tell, the good moments shine so brightly that they seem to dim the challenging moment.