One of the things that has always bothered me about parenting is that weird pressure to love every second of every day. “Don’t blink!” say parents of older kids. “Some day you’ll look back and wish you could do this again!” they admonish; if a parent dares to complain about some parental chore, another parent is apt to tell them. “You’ll miss this some day!”
My God. Enough.
My experience is that parenting, like every other part of life, is sometimes great and sometimes hard and sometimes tedious. And always changing. I remember being awake for 35-hour stretches; because Cameron was up either nursing or screaming all night long, and then I had to go to work the next day. I don’t miss that. Gabby was also up a lot at night- Dave and I spent many middle-of-the-night hours driving her around when that was the only way she would sleep. I would gladly have blinked those nights away. And actually, Addie J was a dream baby and my memories of her infancy are colored with sunshine and happiness… and I don’t miss those days either. I do remember fiercely loving them and being proud of every little thing they did… and those things are still part of my life. What is this insistence that we be grateful for everything, even colic and tantrums and diaper blowouts in Target? Why can’t I acknowledge that some aspects of parenthood kind of suck, and it’s okay to be glad when they’re over?
I love being their mother. I LOVE it. Watching them grow into their own people is such a joy and a privilege, and I am in it for the whole process, not just the fleeting years where I get to buy hair bows and Hot Wheels. I don’t miss what it was like to be their mother then. Why would I? I am still their mother now. And, just like when they were tiny, sometimes it’s great and sometimes it’s hard and sometimes it’s tedious. They will continue to change and grow, and so will I.
So quit telling me not to blink. Don’t insinuate that I should feel guilty because I hated pushing the kids on swings then, and sometimes I just don’t feel like driving them to their activities now. I’m not going to tap out when they turn 18. I’m their mother forever. It’s okay if sometimes I blink.