The baby years are short — kinda like five minutes…UNDERWATER. –Jen Hatmaker
The other night I asked my husband what I should blog about next. He asked, “What have you been thinking about this week?”
What a loaded question! The short answer is, a lot. I mean the abbreviated version includes: what to eat for dinner this week, our budget, yoga routines, the general details that surround keeping my kids alive and well, thoughts/various frustrations over physical appearance type things, then the inevitable ensuing frustration over said frustration (it’s a stupid vicious cycle, I know), thoughts about God and who he is and who I am, Uber (Oddly enough. I guess because I heard a piece about the digitalization of our money. It was related somehow…), and this whole death penalty controversy really has my mind working overtime. WHEW. And that’s just the condensed list!
The more extended version? Well…that’s a little more complicated. But then I read Hatmaker’s quote today and I was like, “Yes! That is exactly it.” No matter what else is orbiting my brain at any given moment, this, THIS is what is really consuming my mental and emotional energy this week.
All week I’ve been caught between desperately wanting to enjoy these years when my kids are little, and struggling with the endless temptation to beat my head against the wall rather than spend one more minute trying to get them to do something that I know they will not do. Ever. No matter what I say. No matter what I do.
They may be small, but ohhh are they mighty.
Fellow blogger, Allison Hart from Motherhoodwtf, said: “I think my kids are an endless source of amusement and misery. Often at the same time.”
Geesh. Ain’t that the truth.
So this week, well this week has been a bit of a struggle. I know these early years are precious, and I want to enjoy them and recognize them in all their specialness. But I also need the freedom to admit that “special” doesn’t mean “easy.”
The crying, the whining, the neediness, their strong willed personalities, the independence that is great for an adult but infuriating in a toddler. These are the things that make up a toddler that make me crazy.
But then their is the sweetness, the naivety, the innocence, the curiosity and creativity. These too, make up a toddler. And they make my heart soar.
Life with toddlers is full of contradiction. Minutes crawl by yet the days are over in a blink. You want them to cuddle on your lap yet get tired of them invading your personal space. You love the creative way they look at they wold, but good grief, will you please just sit still and eat your dinner???
You get the picture.
All these contradictions can make a person (me) feel crazy. Life with toddlers is wild and wonderful, and yes, not forever. So I want to enjoy it for what it is. But it is also hard. So I want to give myself the freedom to say as much, without all the mom guilt. I don’t want to idealize the baby or toddler years and think that once they are over, I won’t experience new, sweet experiences with my kids. I believe that each stage will have it’s own specialness along with it’s own challenges.
At the end of today, I’ll reflect on my oldest son throwing toys at a receptionist and feel really, really frustrated. But then I’ll also remember how he sweetly yelled out as he was leaving “have a nice day!” and just sorta melt.
Contradictions. I’m telling ya.
My husband told me that it’s unrealistic to think that I can enjoy every single minute of motherhood, and he is absolutely right. The realistic version is being open to recognizing the good moments when they occur, because they do happen. Usually they come sandwiched in between two moments of complete horror and frustration, but oh well. The important thing, is to not let the frustrating events completely overshadow the good.
Take the good, leave the bad, and just give yourself a break already.