There are so many reasons that I love my friends with young kids. Chief among them, the ability to text them at 9 pm with whatever absurd parenting experience I’ve had that day and they know just how I feel. We share similar parenting styles. We all have kids that are pre-elementary school. All of us are struggling with the decision to go back to work, how much do we work, how do we work and be the kinds of moms we want to be? Or, how do we stay with these kids all day long and be the kinds of moms we want to be? We understand each other and we relate on almost every level you can think of.
But there is one thing that I don’t see the same. One small area that when I see the Facebook posts and Instagram pictures, I think “Really? Not me.”
I hear plenty of parents of young kids say things like, “It’s going so fast! I wish time would stand still!” That’s just not a sentiment I share. Please don’t get me wrong here: I am not wishing my life away or for my children to move into their college dorms tomorrow. But the newborn phase? It’s hard. The baby phase? Not my favorite.
It wasn’t until my oldest was creeping towards three years old that I really felt myself coming into my own as a mother. Now she’s an ancient four-year-old who has conversations and opinions and all kinds of free will. Her little sister just turned two takes some cues from big sister—some wonderful, some frustrating. I love being a mom. But I can’t say I feel like it’s “flying by.” I feel like I have been a mom for exactly four years, two months and six days. I have felt every day in its entirety. And even though squishy babies are the cutest, I don’t wish to go back there with my girls.
Sometimes it makes me feel guilty—that I don’t wish the years would freeze where they are. Especially when I see a picture of a fresh little two week old with a caption that reads, “He’s already getting so big! I wish he would stay this little forever!” My very first thought is “REALLY?! You want to stay in two-week-old-land for ALL ETERNITY?!” And then I remember that every mom is different. Everyone enjoys a different favorite phase. You might be the mom who loved every second of those first few months. Me? I couldn’t wait for my life to return to some semblance of normal. And if I’m being totally transparent? My preference would have been to speed through those early, colicky months if given the option.
I am fully aware of the years of parenting ahead of me.
Parents of teens often warn me, “One day you’ll miss this!” and, “It’s still hard when they’re teens—just a different kind of hard.” I truly believe you, teen parents. And maybe then I’ll look back and think ,“Wow. How are they sixteen already?” But right now I don’t look at them and feel like they were newborns yesterday. It feels distant, and a little foggy. Because it is becoming distant.
There were so many things that I thought I would never forget about my babies when they were babies. But even now, those memories are blurred around the edges. I love watching them grow. And every time there is a new word or a new question about the world, my awe over them grows. I love their little snuggles and how they fight over who gets to sit next to me on the couch. However, even with these sweet moments, I really am OK that they’ve grown a little each morning. I know that I might miss the little things one day.