I wrote this post for the D&C blog I write, in April of this year. Some days this holds true, other days, not very much at all. My Mom said it sounded like I was having a really bad day when I wrote this post.. Maybe that was true, but when you are a Mom, not every day is going to be a good day, in fact you may have a lot of very very bad days.
When you become a parent there is a universal occurrence that happens to everyone from the very beginning. This phenomenon is something that always happens from the time that you announce your pregnancy. People start to give you advice. It seems like everyone has something to say about how to raise and care for your children. Some things you are told as a new parent are very helpful, some are outdated and some are so silly they are laughable. One piece of advice that I often hear over and over again is to, “enjoy them while they are young” or, “enjoy every moment.”
I know this is well meaning advice, I know I will look back and tell future or new parents a variant of the same exact thing. But honestly this is about the hardest thing to do sometimes. I’ll be completely frank and say that sometimes I just can’t enjoy the moment. In fact, sometimes, I down right can’t stand the moment. I know some of you are probably thinking, gosh, did she really just admit that? I did. I love being a Stay at Home Mom overall, but let’s face it, being a mom is hard. Even saying that “it is hard,” is a bit of an understatement. At times it feels impossible, it’s maddening, it’s frustrating, it makes you feel desperate, it’s thankless, it’s boring, it’s lonely, it’s never-ending, it’s physically and mentally draining, you lose your identity, you lose your hobbies, your freedom, your ability to take care of your own basic needs at times; and sometimes it’s just not very fun. So no, a lot of times I feel like I can barely enjoy or make it through a moment or a day, much less enjoy every little moment of every day.
Being a mom is like being in any relationship, you have your ups and you have your downs, and I don’t think that we should have to feel like we should love every little moment of being with your kids to really love your kids or to be a good mom. Going even further than being a Mom, being a Stay at Home Mom is this unique thing where it’s sort of a job, but at the same time, it is not. It’s an extremely taxing task, it feels like work most of the time, yet it’s not quite a job in that it never ends, you don’t get paid and you never get to punch the clock and leave, and you certainly don’t get to take sick days. It is work, but it’s also life and love and is everything you are all about. It’s a unique task, but if I am comparing it to a job, it’s just not fair or realistic to expect me to love every minute of it, as most people, even if they love their jobs, don’t love every minute they spend working.
From the time that my oldest was born, it all of a sudden became all about him and eventually now that I have three children six and under, my entire day consists of taking care and thinking about them. I understand being a parent is selfless dedication; I went into the job knowing this and have made it my mission to be devoted to them and make the right choices to raise them according to my values. But just because I am now a mom, I didn’t stop being a grownup with grownup interests and desires. I am not saying that I don’t want to be selfless and I’m not saying I am not up for this job. I am not even complaining that I don’t want to have this job or give up all the things I once thought were so important. I’m just saying I can’t be expected to enjoy every little moment. I just can’t.
Now that I am a mom I don’t read as much, I don’t sew as much, I rarely spend time with friends. When you are a parent, you sacrifice a great deal. I knew this was going to happen, but being honest, sometimes I don’t want to play Legos and sing the ABCs all day. No, bringing three kids to the Zoo or to the Museum isn’t always fun. And meal time. Well, let’s just say, that is never fun. Going places with my kids is stressful and crazy and to say I have my hands full doing things like that is an understatement. As a mom I do feel pressure to act like that stuff is fun all the time. No I don’t really want to play toys and have tea parties all day. It’s not like that stuff is all bad, but really, it’s not always that enjoyable. I am not saying I don’t like to play with my kids. I am saying don’t expect me to enjoy it every second of the day. Parenting isn’t easy when your kids are screaming and fighting and crying. As a mom I have to try to act calm even when I am sad or feel like crying myself. As a mom, there are moments I can’t stand. My kids can be clingy, cranky, messy, demanding and impossible to please, so sometimes when I hear, “enjoy it while it lasts,“ I am thinking to myself, I can’t wait until this very moment is long gone.
Overall, even after saying that there are many moments that I do not enjoy, being a parent is wonderful. I can’t say that I would trade being a mom for anything in the world, but there are single moments of Motherhood that I would trade for anything else in the world. There are moments where my child is having a tantrum and screaming and crying and I just want to run away. Just please let this moment pass. But then there is also that moment where my child is crying from sadness and I wouldn’t trade being able to hold them and console them for anything in the world. So I do buck up and I do take the good with the bad. This is what the job entails.
There have been moments where I’ve been proud or awestricken. There are moments when your child takes their first step or smiles for the first time or tells you they love you or says something so cute you can barely take it. Yes, I can get caught up in reckless playing with my children and just be having a perfect blissful moment. There are even moments that don’t mean anything that I love. Sometimes I can just look over at my kids and think, God, I love being their Mom. There are wonderful, amazing moments that catch you by surprise and make parenthood so special. I cherish those moments, and I know I will be sad when some of those moments are long gone. But I think it’s unrealistic to think that I need to cherish every single moment. So no, I can’t enjoy every moment, so let’s stop implying that we should. What I can do is try to enjoy enough little moments so that I can look back and think yes, I did okay.