Just like every mom, I have “those days.” The day when I feel like nothing is going right and if you asked my toddler, he’d tell you the same thing, especially since he didn’t get his milk the exact moment he asked for it and putting on his shoes interrupted his playtime. The day when I am late to every single outing for all sorts of reasons, but one of my “favorites” is the good ole’ “load up the diaper right after being buckled up in the car seat” trick. The day when I feel “cute” because I have on mascara, my hair is in a braid instead of balled up on top of my head, and dressed in something other than my daily uniform, a flowy cotton t-shirt and yoga pants, to shortly realize that my effort had been “smeared” away from my little explorer’s wheel-dust covered hands. I should have known to stick with my tried and trusted yoga pants instead of trying to look “cute”—at least the greasy handprints wouldn’t show up on my yoga pants! The day when I pick up my daughter to give her loving snuggles and sweet kisses to all of sudden realize that my hands are covered in the poo that is leaking out of her diaper and all over her clothes! The day when my car “jams” consists of my little ones’ “talented” vocal chords…some days I think I’m raising the next Mariah Carey as my daughter serenades me by practicing her high notes the whole way home. Every day, without a doubt, is eventful. There are some days where I feel like I am going to break, but after a recent eye-opener I realized that yes, the tough days are exhausting and they’re hard, but they’re also short-lived.
What brought me to this revelation? She happened! I was at the DMV the other day with my two children and an older lady asked me “can I just look at them?” I happily invited her to say hello to my children and immediately saw the joy that flooded her body as she was interacting with them. I saw it in her eyes, the replay of when she was strolling her children around while running errands, or when she was balancing a baby on her hip and the hand of her small toddler fitting snugly in hers as she walked through the store. As she stared at my little ones, her smile brightened and her demeanor softened as if she instantly began daydreaming; daydreaming about the day that her children were that little. I absolutely loved that my children had such a positive impact on her day and as I continued to observe this pleasant scene, a variety of emotions consumed my presence. My immediate reaction was feeling my heart as it warmed to see how happy my children made her, but as the distance grew between us and we attended to our tasks in the DMV, a bit of sadness started to consume me. I started to think about the day that I would be that older lady. The day when I would no longer be carrying them on my hip, but carrying my daughter’s wedding dress home from the alterations shop or keeping the ring my son purchases for his fiancé safely secured until he pops the question; the day when my children would be all grown up.
Not only do I fear the day my children are all grown up, but I fear what our future relationships will be like. Will my daughter call me when she needs someone to talk to? Will my son still prioritize our relationship even when he is married and has a family of his own? Will my children live near so that my husband and I can see them often and watch our grandchildren grow up? Will my children let me live with them when I am older (my husband is 12 years older than me and I am terrified of being without him and alone—this is another topic for another day). While I could make myself crazy thinking about these things, I try not to think of them too often and instead, I just try to cherish every moment with my children. Well…just about every moment…I could live without the behaviors that come along with “toddler-uberty”; the screaming fits and the random outbursts of frustration accompanied by a toy truck being chucked across the room.
I recently had two very trying days with my son. One night ended with a glass of wine and discussion with my husband on all the things my son did to upset me that day and how I felt like a bad mom for being frustrated with him, basically I was having a total pity party for myself (did I mention I am an only child, haha?). The second night ended by being able to spend some alone time with my son—it was exactly what we needed. Earlier that day while my son was napping, I was working on this blog piece and was re-reading my words and my advice to all my fellow mamas. What perfect timing because it was just the reminder I needed, the reminder to let go of the sourness of the last couple days and move on because I still had a few hours left in the day to soak up my son’s youth (and sassiness, let’s be real). There is no doubt that standard toddler behavior is sincerely tiresome at times, but it’s also funny, silly, and sweet other times. It’s inevitable that everyday won’t be “peachy” and that I will feel beaten down by my mini irrational tornado, but I have made a pact with myself to keep my eye set on the blessings that accompany the “Mom” title and the moments with my kids that will be everlasting memories. Even the moments that I don’t necessarily want to relive, I will grin and bear because they’ll make for great stories (and laughs) in the future.
The sweet lady at the DMV isn’t the first who has made these emotions bubble up inside me, she is just the one who stopped me in my tracks and made me reflect on the invaluable blessing of these days. Mama’s everywhere…I write this piece, not to make us all sad about our babies growing up, but to keep this reminder in our back pocket for when we have one of “those days.” There is an endless list of funnies and frustrations that occur with raising kids, but in the big scheme of things, do the little things like “staying clean” really matter? Well, yes, it would be nice to stay clean and look put together now and then, but isn’t that random kiss your little one gives you or the tune of your toddler saying “mommy, mommy, look—a car” even better? Who needs a cute outfit when you have a cute child whose gestures will leave permanent memories on your heart?