There’s a simple saying that has the power to send my mom guilt skyrocketing through the roof.
“Cherish these moments.”
The saying is innocent enough in itself, however sometimes instead of cherishing, I feel like I spend more days simply surviving. It’s on these survival mode days that my parenting mantra seems to become “This too shall pass.”
For example, the other day I was playing referee to my two oldest children who were preparing to go to battle over a lost Shopkin, when my ever adventurous two-and-a-half-year-old climbed on the kitchen counter, pulled his underwear down, and peed.
In the kitchen where I cook. On the counter where I had just prepared breakfast. I was horrified. Naturally, I pulled out my handy-dandy bleach and cleaned up the ocean of disgusting pee. What I failed to notice in my bleach cleaning frenzy, was that my dogs had dug eggs out of our trash can.
I stood there dumbfounded with my kids fighting in the background, holding my pee rags, and standing in egg shell nastiness.
And in that very moment of time I took great comfort in the thought that this too shall pass.
You see, sometimes the days are long. And it’s pretty darn near impossible to cherish every moment when motherhood is not wrapped up in a pretty bow like it is made out to be.
However, a couple of nights later I was tucking my kids into bed, and I looked into their big blue eyes and wondered where the time had gone. How do I have a second grader when just yesterday I was rocking her to sleep in her crib? How is it that my son knows all of his letters and can write his name? Where did my little baby go? Right then and there, I cherished the moment and longed for someone to push the pause button.
And that, my friends, is the bittersweet tangle of motherhood.
Motherhood is a complicated mixture of wanting time to speed up and yet longing for it to slow down. Half the time I want to freeze these days. I want to soak everything in, and not forget a single memory. But some days I guiltily want to hit the fast forward button.
I realize it is unrealistic to think that all the times are going to be wonderful and amazing. It is obvious that not every single moment will be cherished. This is real life after all. Some days will drag on a little too long. There will be nights that will feel like they contain 475 hours. But at the same time, everything is going too fast in a whirlwind of laughter, cuddles, and never ending growth spurts.
Ultimately, I suppose it all balances out. The survival mode days fade into distant memories. The hard moments have finally passed by and we are no longer drowning. Instead we are left cherishing the sweet moments with our precious babies who are growing up way too fast.