“Look, mommy, I drew a man with very long and skinny legs!”#dirtymindsthinkalike
The other day, I waited patiently with the other moms to pick up our children after school when my son ran toward me to proudly present his latest painting of a man with very skinny legs. “You just have to laugh about it all and enjoy every minute. Time flies. Soon he will move out”, one mom said.
Nothing makes me feel quite as overwhelmed as the words “enjoy every minute”. Like what do you mean? Enjoy every minute, while my kid walks through that huge puddle on the playground and cries because he is soaking wet? Right now, when he flushed his underwear down the toilet to see what happens? Right now, when he tells me he played with his poo in the toilet, smelled it and cleaned his hands on his pants? Do you mean when I made supper and he cried because the food smelled or looked weird? Do you mean when I cleaned the toilet and I wondered (again) how pee can be under the bathtub? I mean, I do it all because I have to, I mostly love it and it is worth it to me. I made that decision to have a child so I take responsibility. But to enjoy every minute is a different type of pressure. To be honest, there are many minutes I feel very annoyed or tired.
I think all moms can relate: raising a child is hard work but that is okay. It is okay to admit it. It is also okay to cry and vent about it from time to time. That does not make me a bad mom and it also does not mean that I love my child any less. He is everything to me. But I have limits, too which makes me human. I do not try, I DO the best I can with the situation given right now.
I did not enjoy all the sleepless nights that lasted for about 9 months after my son was born. I could fall asleep sitting or standing up anywhere because I was so exhausted. I gained a bunch of weight, was anxious, a bit depressed, and overwhelmed but sometimes I wish I could turn back time.
The other day when I went for a run, I saw a friend of mine with her newborn baby in a stroller. I stopped to say hi and asked how she was doing and she started to cry. Completely exhausted. I most certainly did not tell her to enjoy every minute. We did not get to have a real chat because her son started to cry and she needed to go home. But I will tell her and would tell any mom with a newborn child to just breathe and that it is all going to turn out fine. I would tell her that it is okay to feel overwhelmed sometimes because all mothers feel this and that she is a fantastic mom. I would tell her that she does not need to question every single move and that it is okay to cry and scream sometimes. I would tell her that motherhood is insane on so many levels and that we are constantly reminded that we are becoming someone we did not use to be. That transition was very hard for me to fathom.
I would tell her to never lose herself. To take your child everywhere. Go out. Socialize. Meet friends, especially those without kids. Talk about anything but kids with them. I would tell her that she is enough. That it is okay to microwave your baby’s food. That you do not need to feed your child organic food only and that it is not necessary to sign them up for baby yoga or baby-anything. It is okay for the laundry to pile up for some time and that it is more than okay to not enjoy every minute being a mother. I would tell her to always speak how she really feels about being a mother to other moms. I met some awesome friends that way.
I consider my son “an easy child”. Usually, I don’t have issues with him. He is a good, smart, polite kid but I still don’t enjoy every minute. Not even close. Sometimes I struggle really hard to be present. There was never a time when I pick him up from school and he is tired and annoyed by everything and I thought “this is so enjoyable”. What I thought was, PLEASE, UNIVERSE, SEND ME MORE ENERGY TO GET ALL THIS DONE SO I WILL NOT LOSE MY MIND. Of course, what all mothers usually remember are the highlights and we conveniently forget all the sweat and tears that come with parenting. The pain of childbirth or C-section recovery? Totally forgotten, right? When I remember how my newborn son snuggled in my arms after I fed him, my heart breaks. It was the best and most wonderful time.
Hey… don’t get all squishy now. Remember with me just for one second your sore nipples. The sleepless nights and the tears of exhaustion. Remember all the messy parts of raising a child, especially if you are a single parent. Remember the constant-constant of being a mother and that you will be a mother forever.
Sometimes, and I said this already, I wish I could slow time down a bit. Especially when my son asks me to measure again how much taller he has gotten in the last couple of months. In my opinion, he is worth every tear, every struggle and every glass of wine. He is worth it all. When all these sweet childhood moments are gone, I know I will wish for them all back. But I keep in mind that it is hard, too and that is okay.
While I put his snowsuit up to dry because it was soaking wet he asked me to kiss him goodnight again. This was the time when I saw his latest Sharpie-drawing on his pillow and bedframe which actually looks pretty epic.