“Ugh. I just can’t wait until we are past this stage.”
These are the words that my husband and I have been muttering quite a bit lately. Especially when our youngest wakes up in the middle of the night, crying until we cave in (which I’ll admit, doesn’t take long) and bring her into bed with us. Or when our four-year old throws herself on the floor in the morning because she doesn’t like any of the outfit choices we have given her – oh the horror!
We’re tired. We’re cranky. We’re the parents of young people.
I can usually put on a good front but the truth is, my inner mom has been pretty cranky lately. She’s whining about not getting enough sleep, how stressed out she is, how she would love the chance to kick back and relax. I know, the nerve, right? These are the moments that I catch myself thinking about how I can’t wait to get past the stages that my kids are in now. That maybe things will get easier once we turn this corner.
And just like that, mommy guilt comes a-knockin’ on my door. I start feeling guilty about wanting to rush time during my moments of weakness because the truth is that it is moving way too quickly as it is. There are just so many moments that I wish I could saver for a bit longer. So many aspects of these stages that I’m going to miss. So many things I already do miss – toothless smiles and first words to name a couple.
There are going to be challenges that accompany every stage of development. It’s a given. But maybe instead of looking forward to when I THINK it might get easier I can focus more on the here and now and what makes THESE ages so wonderful. It’s far too easy to wish our lives away. We do it enough when we’re younger; constantly looking forward to those milestones – sweet 16 (Yay! I can drive!), 18 (Woohoo! I’m an “adult”), 21 (Cheers!), to name a few.
I’m just not convinced that parenting any particular age is “easier” than the others. As parents, we pretty much have to learn as we go. There are bound to be new challenges that come with every age. But focusing on the abundance of moments I know I will miss one day makes it a little easier to handle the challenges of today. I know that one day I will look back and it won’t be the tantrums or the sleepless nights that will come to my mind. It will be the times I tickled my girls so much they got the hiccups. Or the times I watched them “read” books to each other. These are the moments that make me want to press the pause button.