“Enjoy every minute of this time!”
I have grown to feel slightly resentful over this statement, and I feel like now is as of a good a time as any to address it.
These 6 words are typically a part of a conversation that would also include other parades such as “this time, it goes so quickly” or “these moments are all so special”. Then there is the newest tag line running all over social media that tells us “we only have 18 summers with our kids”.
I understand that these conversations are not intended to upset or judge anyone. I also understand that they often come with a world of experience. That experience proved to these well-meaning women (and men) that time does move fast, and that these moments with our little babies are special.
But I believe, to the core of my being that these statements are in fact wildly impossibly to achieve and only serve to perpetuate mom guilt.
My son is 16 months old and he is precious- I love him more than I could ever imagine loving a human! I do enjoy moments playing with him, watching him explore, and learn to do new things. I am also all too aware that time has been moving so fast and these years are such a short blip in our lives.
But! Please do not tell me I have to enjoy the temper tantrum in the grocery store, or that the worst explosive diaper that made a mess all over his crib and now all over his bedroom is a special moment. Don’t tell me I am supposed to enjoy trying to make a meal while he throws himself on the floor because I won’t let him play with the knives I am using.
Telling moms (and dads) that we are supposed to enjoy every moment only serves to make us feel more guilt than we already do. These years are short and precious and wonderful, but they are not perfect, and either are we.
Mom guilt is such a very real and vivid experience. It can feel all-consuming and affects every decision we make, and every part of our daily lives. Between complete and utter exhaustion and the overwhelming amount of work it takes to raise tiny, beautiful humans, we second guess everything. We feel bad when we go out, we feel bad when we go to work, we feel bad when we put the TV on, we feel bad when we give a cookie, and when we don’t give a cookie!
So, when I hear that I have to enjoy every moment it only serves to make me feel bad that I don’t.
But I am standing here today to say, I don’t think we’re supposed to. I think we’re supposed to love our children the best way we can. We’re supposed to find ways to make it through the days with as few tears, and as many smiles as we can. I think we’re supposed to teach our children how to be good humans and that is very hard work.
So, I thank you for your wisdom and your love, but please don’t tell me to “enjoy every moment”, because, I am trying, but it’s not always possible, and THAT’S OKAY!