Before I had kids, I didn’t understand.
I didn’t get it.
I read that infamous Dear Abby letter where the woman couldn’t understand what stay at home mothers did all day long.
And I felt the same way.
Two kids and 1642.5 long days later, there’s something I want to say. There are challenges in every single season of life. It’s a given.
But it seems that “the grass is always greener” scenario plays itself out in my life on an almost daily basis. Most notably as I’m running errands with my two sidekicks- one of whom is 4.5 years old and the other is quickly approaching the dreaded 2s.
A couple weeks ago, I was trompsing around the grocery store with my two in tow. (I call it trompsing but really it should be “running frantically so I can get the hell out of there as quickly as possible and incur the least amount of damage.”)
Our nearly 2 year old is very, very vocal and has recently decided that she will climb out of the shopping cart at whatever the cost and scream about it until I free her from the confines of the safety belt (which by the way, almost never works and is almost always encrusted with some kind of unidentifiable, dried gunk, that grosses me out).
I was having one of those days (okay every day) where patience was in short supply and I just wanted to get in and out and done. But no. Emersyn was intent on running through the aisles chucking everything in arms reach inside our cart.
I was using my “public voice” you know the one where you’re saying “okay sweetheart, remember how mommy needs you to walk beside me? Lets move out of the way so we can keep shopping” but my tone of voice was “Emersyn dang it girl. MOOOOOOOVE out of my way so we can be done already, for the love!!”
An older, shall I say “seasoned” mama was in the aisle. She looked at Jackson at one end of the aisle and Emersyn now laying on the floor of the middle of the aisle crying for some unknown reason, and me on the fringe, negotiating the choices of balsamic vinegar. And she smiled that “knowing” smile. The smile that said “yep, I’ve been there.” And then she said “They grow up so fast, enjoy this, because before you know it, they will be gone. My daughter is 21 and my son is 18 and I don’t even know what to do with myself. It’s so quiet around the house now. Enjoy every second.”
I smiled and appreciated her comments, sort of.
I understand where she comes from.
I often think of Jackson and Emersyn in 15 years driving and cavorting around town with friends and start freaking out at how scary it will be when I don’t know exactly what they’re doing or who they’re with.
But right now.
At this moment, in my sleep deprived state.
Being at home alone sounds pretty heavenly.
The last time I shopped alone, I ran into a friend who was laughing at the perplexed look I had on my face. I told her that I was seriously befuddled by the fact that I didn’t have to go all “Supermarket Sweep” this time. I honestly was overwhelmed and lost in thought because I was alone and could actually think and look and shop!
I know seasoned moms mean well. But if I got paid each time I hear “enjoy them, it goes so fast”, I’d be hiring a babysitter to watch the kids while I shop.
I just want seasoned moms to know that every season of life has its challenges. And that the one I’m in right now cannot and must not be minimized. It must be felt and experienced and gone through because it’s part of life and learning and growth. It’s part of me becoming and growing as a mother. It’s part of my kids exploring and maturing and becoming big people. It’s exhausting and seemingly never ending and hard to understand until you’re there and then you “get it.”
But memories fade. Moms who have been there don’t remember it that way.
They don’t remember the inexplicable 2 (and 3) year old tantrums. They don’t remember the language barrier and frustration trying to communicate with each other and understand what it is your kid needs. They don’t remember the nights that go on for years and the kids wandering in and out of your bed like its their full time job. Or babies who get days confused with nights.
They just don’t.
When I finally get there.
I probably won’t either.
In fact. I know I will 100% agree with them and come to the exact same conclusion as they did. But it’s something I need to discover on my own.
So to all the seasoned moms out there..instead of the old “those were the days” speech to young mamas. It would be a lot more helpful to be told “Oh gosh, I remember the 2s, they are so challenging aren’t they? You’re doing great mama. Hang in there.”
Validation is awesome. Even if you have to lie a little and pretend that you remember. Because on those days, when we’re about to lose it in the vinegar aisle at the grosh, and feel like a ginormous failure…that would be amazing.
Better yet seasoned moms, if you see a young mama that you know, offer to babysit! And I guarantee you that you will be reminded in about 15 seconds how sweet it is to have independent people as your kids and how that quiet house you live in, isn’t so bad after all.
*photo by Eneas