When I’m out and about with my three little ladies, I often get comments like, “That phase goes too fast!” or, “Oooh they are so cute! Enjoy them now before they turn into teenagers!”.
And I want to shout, “I AM! I SWEAR I AM!”
I get so defensive (even though I know they are well intentioned!), and I think it’s because when I hear stuff like this, I get a little panicky. Am I enjoying these moments enough? Am I stopping to lovingly watch my daughters play together enough?
Am I of young motherhood enough before we move into the next phase of parenting? Will I one day be old and gray and saying, “I wish I enjoyed that trip to the park on May 1, 2017 more because it was a beautiful day and the kids were playing so nice and you answered that work email and you shouldn’t have because you could have watched your daughter swing on the swing for another thirty seconds and man! You really messed up.”
But then last night, I had a rough night with the kids.
My 3-month-old cried for a full hour and a half while I was attempting to make dinner while I was also feeling anxious about the messes and the piles surrounding me while also knowing my husband was coming home later than normal while also trying to get my two and 4-year-olds to eat their dinner while also giving up on getting them in the bath while also knowing I had some work I wanted to finish up when this was all over while also feeling exhausted.
So, to the “Cherish the moment!”-ers, I have a few questions.
How am I supposed to cherish the stress I feel while trying to complete five tasks at once but really not completing any and instead, just causing my blood pressure to rise?
How am I supposed to while I’m also feeling the anxiety that is asking-the-kids-to-put-their-shoes-on-50-times-while-shoveling-breakfast-in-my-mouth-and-typing-an-email-and-running-late-for-the-dentist?
How am I supposed to feel when you tell me to “enjoy them before they turn into teenagers!”? Because if I’m being honest—that scares me. A lot.
Are you trying to instill a sense of fear? Is this some sort of hazing thing? I know each phase of parenting has its hardships, but surely they’re not going to turn into the Demogorgon from Stranger Things on their 13th birthday are they???
Something I’ve realized as of late, though, is a shift in my perspective.
Instead of feeling this pressure to enjoy every second of every day—every puke, every dirty diaper, every meltdown, every harried moment—I’m trying to be okay with unapologetically feeling all of the .
If I’m happy—to pause in that moment and take a mental photo (or a real one!) and remember the feeling of pure bliss. To bask in the feeling of ‘Dang! Motherhood is amazing, isn’t it?!’
If I am impatient or frustrated—to acknowledge to myself that I am on the verge of losing my cool. To then transition to dealing and coping and calming with deep breaths or taking a break or knowing what I need to do to work through that feeling.
If I am sad or in a funk—to let myself cry, to sit with my sadness, to let my guard down and talk about it with my husband or a friend. If I am asked what’s wrong—if things aren’t actually fine, I’m learning not to just say ‘fine.’
What I want to do is get real. There are so many different truths of motherhood for different people—and that’s what makes this sisterhood beautiful. So let’s talk about them! Let’s celebrate them!
‘Mother’ is the most complex role I’ve ever had. And what a good thing that is. Because complexity is interesting. Complexity is what makes us different, yet still the same. Complexity is my truth. And as Oprah says, “What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”
And my truth?
My truth is that being a mom is exhausting and energizing.
My truth is that being a mom is heart wrenching and heartwarming.
My truth is that being a mom is painful and beautiful.
My truth is that being a mom is frustrating and inspiring.
My truth is that being a mom is confusing and validating.
My truth is that being a mom is complicated and easy.
My truth is that being a mom is all of who I am and only a part of who I am.
In one single day, heck, some days in one single hour, I can go from happy to frustrated to mad to okay again to laughing to feeling sad to needing more caffeine to gushing over something cute my kid did to feeling impatient back to happy and laughing and also wondering why time is standing still.
There’s a lot of feelings. And these days are going too fast, I know.
But, regardless of time, I still have feelings other than happiness and awe and inspiration.
So, I’m going to feel all the feels.
Not just the moments of pure beauty and love, like when my 3-month-old giggled at me for the first time (THE BEST!) or when my 2-year-old says, “Guess what?” then whispers “I love you” in my ear (my heart melts every single time) or when my 4-year-old tells my husband, “We need to buy Mommy a special gift because she’s such a good mommy.” (I mean….I can’t even.)
Because 2018 is the year of truth. And I’m ready to live it.