“You’ll miss all of this one day,” older moms like to say when a young mom is exasperated and exhausted, in the throes of parenting small kids. “You’ll want these moments back.”
They tell us the days are long but the years are short, it all flies by, and while they’re probably right, the words don’t land the way they think they do.
D’ya know what a better thing to say when a mom is trying to wrangle her screaming toddler, who’s kicking and flailing and red-faced and Tasmanian devil-esque?
Can I help? You’re doing great. I know this is hard for you right now. Is there anything I could do to make this easier?
Or, just don’t say anything at all.
Because, here’s the thing: moms are fucking riddled with guilt. Whether we breastfeed, pump and bottle feed, or use formula; whether we use reusable or disposable diapers; whether we co-sleep or don’t; whether we work or not – moms (and especially young moms) are just trying to hold it together. When you tell us that we’re going to miss the moments when we’re so tired we can barely pick up our screaming kid, you’re telling us that we’re supposed to be enjoying moments that – frankly – aren’t enjoyable.
Our children are not delightful treats that we’re meant to enjoy every moment of the day. Parenting is hard.
And sometimes it sucks. Sometimes our kids suck. Sometimes we suck. Sometimes our spouses suck. And our jobs. And it goes on. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is acknowledge that it sucks.
For the most part, we don’t look back and remember those awful moments. We’re never going to wistfully spend an afternoon daydreaming about the time(s) our children were driving us batshit crazy. Like the highlight reel of our cameras and social media profiles, we look back on beautiful memories and we cherish them.
So, stop telling moms what we’ll miss when our kids are grown. We’ll miss it then, sure, but it doesn’t make the mountain we’re climbing right now any smaller.