At the top of my “Things People Shouldn’t Say to Moms” list is, “Sleep while the baby sleeps.” I understand what the well-meaning individual is saying, but the reality of the situation is I have a house to clean, dishes to do, and a meal to eat sometime before the my kid graduates high school.
The second item on said list is, “Enjoy every moment because they grow up so fast.”
The kind hearted soul is trying to let me know that the small things don’t matter, that before I know it my kids’ll be moving out, and I should just enjoy the age they’re at, the learning they’re doing, and how cute and wonderful they are.
But sometimes saying, “Enjoy every moment,” causes guilty feelings to emerge and fester and the last thing I need more of on my plate is guilt.
When I hear I should be enjoying every moment, I feel shame and remorse because I’m not enjoying every moment and evidently I should be. The reasons for not enjoying every moment are endless. First of all, I don’t have time to enjoy every moment. Remember that house I cleaned while the baby was sleeping? It needs to be cleaned whether or not the kid is sleeping. And the dishes and laundry and bills to pay and grocery shopping to do so my kids I’m supposed to be enjoying can eat? That’s all gotta be done too.
And sometimes, there aren’t moments to enjoy. Sleep training my kids was not something I wanted to enjoy. Lillian defying me through the terrible twos isn’t a moment I want to enjoy or even remember. When Levi fell over nothing and somehow got a cut right next to his eye by hitting the couch of all things, I wasn’t thinking about enjoying that moment. I was thinking, “Oh dude, are you okay?” followed by, “We’re going to need to up our insurance coverage because it won’t be long before your clumsiness lands us in the ER.”
Of course there are moments where I do sit down and just hang out with my kids and I do love those moments. And I don’t think I’d be human if it didn’t make me sad to think that one day my kids will be out on their own, living their lives, and hopefully not saying what their therapist said about me when they call every Sunday to catch up.
But enjoying every moment just isn’t possible. Please stop telling me to do it. It just makes me feel bad. I don’t need another cliche about raising kids. What I need is a nap followed by a beer, a big plate of nachos, and another episode of Gilmore Girls.