Parenthood might be one of the trickiest gigs ever. We are totally responsible for the care of these little people (if they grow up and rob a bank, that’s on us). There is pressure from every direction for the best way to guide them along the “right” path (whatever that means). It is exhausting, messy, frustrating, and full of physical and emotional extremes (I have been both the happiest and saddest in my entire life in the span of two and a half years). And, in the middle of it all, we are supposed to cherish every moment. Every. Single. One.
Damn. That is a lot of cherishing.
“It is hard to cherish the moment
that your toddler
is having a Britney-circa-2007 breakdown
in the grocery store.”
Since having my daughter two (wow, almost three) years ago, I have tried to live more slowly and be more present. I try to turn off electronics and get on the floor to play with her. I try to look into her eyes when she talks to me and really listen to those roundabout stories that never seem to get to their destination. Those are pretty easy moments to appreciate. Those are the gems that I live for as a mom. However, it’s isn’t all tea parties and mermaid-ballerina-astronaut shows over here.
It is hard to cherish the moment that your toddler is having a Britney-circa-2007 breakdown in the grocery store. It is hard to appreciate what a blessing your baby is when he is straight up refusing to eat or sleep at 3am and you are on day three of your spot-on zombie impression. When you are stuck at work and all you want is to be home with your little crazies, or you are taking a personal day to cater to a sick kid and just want to be in your quiet, germ-free office, it is a tough emotion to swallow. This is when it gets hard to slow down, be present, and live up to your Instagram account captions (#blessed #lovethismomlife #momlifeisthebestlife …ugh).
And this is where the lesson turns universal. It isn’t only moms and dads who should be “cherishing every moment” because, as it turns out, everyone is mortal. Everyone’s moments are fleeting. But that doesn’t mean that each and every one is perfect—and that is okay. It is okay to say, “This sucks,” when you are cleaning crushed Goldfish crackers out of every cranny of your car. You can give yourself permission to think, WTF when somehow that super important paperwork is not where you left it. This makes it all the easier to see the moments that truly are worth being present for and appreciating them for what they are. The truth that many parents don’t want to admit? Some moments I would rather forget to make room for baby smiles and toddler hugs that feel bigger than their little bodies could possibly create.
Of course you should look for the silver lining around each raincloud, but it’s also ok to just break out your umbrella and wait for the rain to pass. Maybe with a cocktail.