As moms, we are constantly bombarded with the message, “Enjoy every minute it goes so fast.” As a mom of three, I think I am now officially qualified to say this.
You won’t enjoy every minute, so stop pressuring yourself.
As my girl friend Katrina put it, “Enjoy the good things and forget the rest.” (Or on a bad day, “for everything else, there is wine.”) Because yes, babies are beautiful and wonderful and changing every day. But they are also messy, mundane and yet unpredictable. Toddlers are winsome but irrational. Preschoolers are precious but bossy and on it goes. You can’t possibly enjoy every moment. (I mean, maybe if you are on some serious drugs or have taken to drinking in the mornings.)
Because there are lots of things about kids that aren’t fun. I used to believe that when my kids were unpleasant it was my fault. Wasn’t childhood supposed to be magical? What was I doing wrong? Then I realized, there is nothing wrong with me. My kids are human. Humans are flawed and messy. Yes, I have a responsibility to guide them, but I cannot control them. How hard that has been to accept.
Because I want to believe that if I could just check all the little boxes off, in the right order of the proper list, everything will go according to plan. But all things tend toward disorder and dysfunction. It is the nature of life.
What’s more, I give you permission (not that you need it) not to like your kids. Because while we would lay down our lives for these little creatures sometimes it’s awfully hard to deal with the day to day drama. My kids have said and done so pretty awful things to me. It doesn’t go by without consequence, but that doesn’t stop the hurt. All I can do is kind of grit my teeth, pray for strength and lean in instead of away. (Though there is nothing wrong with walking away sometimes).
So next time someone tells you to enjoy every minute, you have my permission to smile, nod and ignore them. Or if you are feeling gutsy, tell them “Thanks, but no. I’ll chose sanity instead.”