To The Parents Of Small Children: Trust Me. I Speak From Experience.

A friend alerted me (us?) to this article on Huffington Post in her Facebook status with a hearty “Amen!” When you bring an exclamation like “Amen!” into the picture, I am intrigued.

So, I read the article. It’s about something I am very familiar with. Infertility. And then pregnancy. And then getting what you want, only to turn around and say, why did I ask for this?

The chaos. The sleep-deprivation. The frustrations.

I know this, having two boys only 10 months apart in age, all too well.

I remember just weeks from my due date and my husband and daughter were teaching our middle son to crawl. I screamed, “Why are you doing this? I can barely see my toes. How am I going to chase a crawling gremlin?!?”

And then, just as our youngest was learning to crawl, my husband and daughter were teaching our middle son to walk. I screamed, “Why are you doing this? I can barely keep up with one little gremlin. Now you…”

But I stopped, mid-rant. What was the point?

Yes, it was tough. Yes, I snapped on more than one occasion. And when people said, “Enjoy these moments now. They grow up so fast!” I knew exactly what they were talking about.

My children are 10 years and then 10 months apart in age. I benefited from the experience of having been-there-done-that with my oldest.

With my daughter, when people would tell me to “enjoy her now” and that “they grow up so fast,” my eyes would glaze over and I would nod politely. I never quite felt the same anger towards those well-meaning people as the author of the Huffington Post article does, but I certainly agreed with him (at that time in my life) that their comments weren’t helpful. His annoyance is much stronger than mine was. He threatens to “break up with you” if you say it to him. He begs all well-meaning people out there to avoid that advice.

Well, with my “wealth” of experience, I’m about to rock his world.

I say?

Say it! Shout it! Climb onto the roof-tops and shout to every stressed out parent out there:

“Enjoy every precious and not so precious moment! They grow up so very, very fast!”

As annoying it may be to hear it the second time around, it made me pause. It reminded me to stop, take a breath and breathe in their sweet, grubby goodness. When my boys were 2 and just turned 3, my daughter was 13. Not needing me. Only around the house between school and gymnastics practice. Hugs were less frequent. And a tuck-in and a kiss goodnight was met with, “Mom?!? I’m not a baby anymore!”

My daughter, 10 years older than the next child, is a constant reminder of how fleeting those baby-toddler-childhood years truly are. Now in college, needing me so much less and at a university 4 hours away, I am missing her so much more. The grimy fingers. The skinned knees. The silly songs. The talks in the car. The butterfly kisses. Even the whining.

Oh sure, there were times when I’d hide in my closet, tears welling up because I thought I was going to lose it. I gave myself time-outs when I’d catch myself at the end of my rope. Parenting is not for the tender-hearted, and yet, it is.

Parenting is tough. Parenting can make you say and do things that you wish you hadn’t. But you pick yourself up, you learn from your failures (and we all have them) and you move on.

Much too quickly.

Because before you know it, they’re grown. They’re independent. They’ve taken all the skills you armed them with.

And they’re gone.

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8 Comments

Filed under children, Lessons Learned

8 responses to “To The Parents Of Small Children: Trust Me. I Speak From Experience.

  1. I read that article and found myself nodding along in recognition, but you are right that even the crazy/messy/whiny days are worth cherishing.

    • I know. I did, too. But then I took offense when he said he’d break up with me (even though we didn’t know each other) if I ever uttered those dreaded words. As annoying as they are, they are very, very true and should never be forgotten. (Welcome home, by the way!)

  2. Don’t worry. Grandchildren will make it all better.

  3. Rob

    My children are five years apart. When they were young, I thought I would remember every precious and not-so-precious moment. IT IS TRUE! However, I don’t remember them all.

    But those moments that were hard – I do cherish them fondly. I laugh at my daughter’s difficult independent temperament and how I winged it through those days – putting her in her room so she could cool off (usually she kicked at the door and screamed – she was a determined child). Or how my quiet compliant son could not stand any sort of confrontation (look back to the last sentence about my daughter) and he would barricade himself in his room for protection from the unpleasant noise between mother and daughter. (By the way, as adults, my daughter and I are best of friends.)

    I never took offense when someone told me how quickly the time of parenting would pass, how fast they grow up – independent of me – their mother. It always sounded well-meaning; like a kind warning not to miss out while I had the chance. I thought I had all the time in the world. I was wrong. They do grow up fast.

    Truth – I totally freaked out when our son (the youngest) went away to college (9 hour drive), and our daughter (obviously, oldest) was getting married – approximately at the same time given the five year age difference. Depression, anxiety, panic attacks? Yes, yes, and yes. I am a mother. Now what would I do?

    Now I am a grandmother. This is so much fun. Trust me – even though it is cliche – it is all of the fun without the work of parenting.

  4. I don’t think they’re gone….just different…and now I realize i have no right to even comment….because I don’t have kids…

  5. I definitely try to appreciate them every day…even when I’m exhausted and they’re driving me crazy!

  6. But they come back again! I hope. :)

  7. Great post. I tend to tell new parents “It’s all a phase,” hoping to remind them it all goes too quickly. Because I’m expert since I survived 3 terrible-twos. I know. I rolled my eyes too.

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