There’s always one meme or another floating around Facebook that says something to the effect of “you’ll miss the shit your kids are doing now when they get older” or “the hardest part of parenthood is the kids growing up” or whatever. You get the idea. I saw one the other day and I rolled my eyes so hard that I think they hit the wall. It’s hard to tell, though, because of all the oatmeal that’s still there from breakfast three days ago.
No, I don’t think I’ll miss having young kids when they’re older. I really don’t. Some aspects of them, sure. The baby snuggles, the hilarious things they say, the current obsession with naked tabletop dancing to the Hamilton soundtrack (it’s a thing, really).
But the rest of it? You can keep that shit.
I’m serious. I’m tired of it. Adam’s tired of it.
Sitting here tonight, I started listing all of the things I’m tired of, but then I realized that that’s not really the point.
The point is this: Telling stressed-out, exhausted, scared, worried parents that they need to treasure these days of hell because they’ll miss them when the kids are grown up totally diminishes and dismisses what these parents are going through. It totally glosses over their struggles as unimportant. You’re saying that they are wrong for feeling how they do.
When you dismiss someone’s feeling or struggles like that, they will eventually begin to feel GUILTY for feeling the way they do. I know I do. I feel like a shitty mom every single day because I am constantly being told/shown that I should be cherishing these fucking precious moments. I do not cherish them. People tell me that I am amazing and I feel guilty for that, too, because how can I be amazing when I am struggling so? I feel guilty because our day-to-day life is chaotic and messy and loud with lots of tantrums and yelling. I feel guilty because it seems like I must be letting my kids down or somehow damaging them because I am not this smiling, laughing, happy Mom-type person who can manage to take everyone to the zoo and then come home to make cupcakes and precious memories while keeping my hair and nails perfect.
I have three very young children, two of them with special needs and the third is showing signs of an anxiety problem. My house is a wreck. I am a wreck, emotionally and physically. I cry frequently throughout the day. I yell at my kids. Two of the kids wake up at the ass-crack of dawn every day; the other kid can’t fall asleep at night. We’re all exhausted and on edge. We have no local friends. No local family. No babysitter. No help.
I am, quite literally, counting the days until they go back to school so I can maybe actually sit down for five minutes without someone crawling all over me. So I can maybe get some work done (my book ain’t gonna revise itself, yo). So I can clean. So I can rest. So I can breathe and work on figuring out WHO I am besides this broken, tired creature called ‘Mom’.
And what happens if this is as good as it gets? We don’t know what the boys’ diagnoses will mean for them in the future. What if it never gets better than this?
Most days I feel like I am screaming into the abyss and getting nothing back except for a smirking reminder that I am supposed to be enjoying all of this somehow, because, hey, I’ll miss it someday.
I highly doubt it. But I give you all full permission to call me out if I start complaining in five or ten years about my babies being all grown up.
Just do me a favor while we’re waiting for that to happen, okay? Don’t tell me I’m supposed to be enjoying this. I don’t need that added guilt.