A strange realization hit me the other day: I’m going to miss this.
As tired and frustrated as I am with all the little unexpected things parenting entails, I finally understand why those kind people on the other side always say “enjoy every minute!”
I think even they realize the absurdity in that statement, yet at the same time recognize that this is such a sacred season of life.
I truly feel called by this role of motherhood, but I would be lying if I said I don’t long for the days when I’m back to only being responsible for one person: me. When I can wear regular clothes and dictate my own schedule and–gasp!–begin and complete a task in an appropriate amount of time.
Yes, for me, motherhood is a calling. I was always the “team mom” for various sports and activities I participated in during high school and college. Taking care of others has always come naturally to me. But even if this is a job I love, that doesn’t mean that it’s not hard, both physically and emotionally draining.
I have a sneaking suspicion, though, that when I’m no longer knee-deep in diapers and laundry (especially diaper laundry), I’m going to look back fondly on this time. I can get away with wearing the same sweatpants for days and still be the most beautiful person in the room to my babies. I can make goofy faces and sing silly songs and burst into spontaneous dance moves and have no one question my motives. I can answer all the questions, read all the books, wipe all the tears and all the butts (nope, just kidding, actually not going to miss that).
I’m old enough now to recognize the truth in the old adage: You never know what you had until it’s gone, and I wish I could hop into my time machine and tell my younger self to appreciate all those things I took for granted in my pre-kid days. Like a stomach that will never be as flat again or even a cup of coffee that hasn’t been warmed up in the microwave seven times.
But since I can’t go back in time, it’s even more important to live in the present despite (and maybe because of?) all its craziness. And someday, in the not-so-distant future, when I’m sleeping in on a Saturday or tidying up a living room that is not going to be destroyed five minutes later, I know I will miss those early morning snuggles and the creative games of pretend that involve every single blanket and pillow in the house.
For every young parent who dreams of a few moments of peace and quiet, there is no doubt an empty nester who wishes for a home ringing with the sound of children’s laughter again. Yes, friends, the grass really is always greener on the other side of the fence.
Who knew that parenting was just one big cliché?
What I do know is this. Parenting small children is hard. But it’s also intensely fulfilling. And someday, when I’m the one on the other side, I really am going to miss this.