Nothing makes me feel quite as overwhelmed as the words “enjoy every minute.” Like do you mean right now while my kid is spread eagle on the Target floor demanding a slushy? Do you mean when I make dinner and half of the family is crying because it looks weird? Do you mean when I clean the toilets and I wonder how the pee reached the corner under the trash can? I can do it; it’s worth it. But enjoying every minute is a different type of pressure. In truth, there are a whole lot of minutes I feel annoyed or tired.
Being a mom is hard work, and that’s okay. It’s okay to admit it. It’s okay to cry about it and to vent about it. That doesn’t make us bad at this, and it doesn’t mean we love our kids any less. It makes us human. It makes us “doing the best we can”. I didn’t enjoy every minute when my nipples were cracked and bleeding, when I was falling asleep sitting up because I was so tired. I was anxious, I was milk-soaked, and I was overwhelmed. When I look back at pictures of my babies during that time, I wish for them back. I wish so hard. It WAS way too fast.
BUT, if I look back at myself, a brand new mama, I wouldn’t tell her to enjoy every minute. I’d tell her to just breathe, it’s all going to turn out fine. I’d tell her she seemed like a fantastic Mom. I’d tell her it’s okay to be overwhelmed sometimes, and that we all are. I’d tell her not to listen to the voices that question her every move (whether internal or external). I’d tell her to enjoy what she could and cry (or scream into a pillow) when she needed to. I’d tell her that motherhood is a constant state of becoming someone we didn’t use to be, and that transition can be hard as crap. I’d tell her it would be worth it and she was going to do great.
I’d tell her not to lose herself.
I’d tell her she was enough (even though it is the hardest thing in the world to believe it).
I’d tell her there are other people whose microwaves look just as gross as hers.
I’d tell her to give away the pants that don’t fit.
I’d tell her that she will NOT under any circumstance be able to enjoy every minute.
I’d tell her to tell to speak her truth when it was hard. I’d tell her she’d find a wonderful community of women that way.
My kids are all past toddlerhood now and I still don’t enjoy every minute. Not even close. I struggle really hard to be present sometimes. There has never been a time when my kids were arguing or whining where I thought “this is so enjoyable“. What I thought was, GOD HELP ME NOT LOSE MY EVERLOVING MIND. I know it’s easy to remember the highlights and forget the sweat and tears that come with parenting, just like we forget the pain of childbirth. When I think of my sweet babies snuggled in my arms, a part of my heart breaks in half, because it was the best and most wonderful.
But would you remember with me just for a moment?
Would you remember the sore nipples?
Would you remember the sleepless nights and the tears spent wondering if you were doing it right?
Would you remember the fog that comes with being a mom in the thick of it?
Would you remember the messy parts of raising kids?
Would you remember the constant-constant of motherhood?
Would you let us know you remember?
I’m already sad that this will be over before I know it. I already wish I could slow time down, but that doesn’t make this less intense and constant. They are worth every tear, they are worth every glass of wine, they are worth IT ALL. When these moments are all over I’m positive I will wish for them all back. But this is hard too and that’s okay.
We will enjoy what moments we can like flecks of gold hidden in mountains of dirty laundry and a drawing I just found on my favorite couch pillow.