Oh, mommas of babies and toddlers, I totally get it. It’s exhausting. The no sleep, leaky boobs, choking hazards, diaper blowouts, colic screaming, and days and nights all running together. Grocery store trips that take Jesus, a binky for the baby, and a bribe for the toddler to make it through. The judgemental looks from other parents when the toddler bribe fails and the 2 year-old melts down in a puddle of tears and pee and God knows what else in the middle of aisle 9.
The hours and
of walking, bouncing, rocking, and jostling a teething, screaming, feverish baby. And then, to add insult to injury, enter the sweet grandma lady who takes one look at your smelling-like-baby-vomit, wearing-two-different-shoes, haven’t-showered-in-days, looking-like-you-got-punched-in-both-eyeballs, rear end and says the worlds seven most annoying words.
“Enjoy every moment. You’ll miss this someday!”
Yet, as annoying as that phrase is….they’re right.
But not in a “they-grow-up-too-quickly” way.
More like in a “this-was-so-much-easier-when-they-were-a-baby” way.
Can I tell you something? It just gets harder. I’m sorry to break it to you. I know in the middle of the night, when you’re so tired you’ve shoved the bottle (or breast) in your baby’s ear and stubbed the same toe on the same coffee table for the 4th time, you whisper to yourself, “It’ll get easier as he/she gets older.”
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s just a lie we tell ourselves.
Trust this momma with two teenagers, a neurodivergent preteen and an 8-year-old who thinks she’s 30 and exudes sarcasm from her very pores with the vocabulary to use it….
It’s physically easier, but it’s also the emotional and mental equivalent of trying to swim the English Channel while holding an infant in a car seat over your head.
Looking back, it was so easy when they were little. If my kid was in danger, I could simply scoop them up and out of harm’s way. If they got hurt, I could soothe them with cuddles. My biggest worries were hazards around our house. Diaper rash. Maybe an illness. The correct car seat seatbelt placement. Even amid a meltdown, I knew if I just kept my cool, they’d come out of it sniffling and needing a snuggle. I’d give anything to be able to soothe owies again with a binky or a nursing session, or even a homemade chocolate chip cookie.
Now it’s frenemies and hormones, mean girls and unrequited first crushes, internet porn and hard conversations. It’s bullying, not only at school but online, social media depression, cyber predators, catfishers, gaming additions, and fentanyl. It’s teaching my son AND my daughters that yes means yes, and no means no. That boundaries can be painful, but they need to learn how to make them.
And then keep them.
It’s teaching them that there is no such thing as anonymity on the internet and anything that they post will live F-O-R-E-V-E-R.
It’s holding my ground as a parent even though now the temper tantrums involve ugly words I didn’t realize they knew screamed at me and doors slammed in my face. And it’s knowing that the most effective place now as a parent is on my knees in prayer.
I think experienced parents should be more honest at baby showers. Instead of giving advice like, “make sure to sleep when the baby sleeps,” we should give expectant parents a combat helmet, a bottle of whiskey and tell them, “tonight, we dine in hell!”
But we don’t because…well….misery loves company… And because no one would ever invite us to anything ever again if we did.
Honestly, though, it’s because we know even if someone had told us how hard it is, we’d still do it all over again.
Because the joy outweighs the sorrow.
Because love wipes away the tears.
Because it’s worth it.
And honestly, I’m so much more than I was before kids.
Wiser (and grayer).
Parenting has made me a better person. Jesus is still working on me, and I’ve got a long way to go, but thankfully I’ve also got a lifetime of parenting left.
Besides, when things get bad, I know there’s always