Wisdom for the ages, on motherhood, from a man, no less.
Thank you so much for your perspective! We're expecting #7 and I am desperately overwhelmed. It's good to remember that at some point I will look back and miss these times.
And with that, I wanted to hasten to add to the mothers of young children, that even though I long for those days in theory, I wouldn't really want to do them all over again. It was achingly exhausting, to the point of tears frequently, and there was no earthly way I could do all I needed to do well. It was triage every day. Fact of the matter is, it is still triage every day, but now I am more used to it, and do not take it personally.
Here is a story to elucidate the point I am trying to make. Approximately six years ago, when I had six small children eight and under, every time I went out with them all I would either get the, "are they all yours", or, "you have your hands full", or the completely exasperating, "Oh how I wish my kids were still that age. Enjoy them, these are the best years!". My heart would sink. Really? Honestly? The best years? I can barely form coherent sentences, I haven't slept in three years, and I feel like every last nerve has put in it's two week notice, and these are THE BEST YEARS?? God help me, or take me now, whichever. Because that really depressed me.
Then one day, I had all the kidlets with me at the hardware store, looking for a Christmas gift for their dad. I was gritting my teeth, speaking softly but promising dire consequences to any child trying to escape or touching anything, feeling like maybe a pack of light bulbs would do so I could get me and this circus out of the store. A 60ish man (man, not woman, notice), walked over to me, and I thought, "Here we go, he's going to tell me we should get a T.V., or that he's staring at a million dollars of education in that shopping cart", or some other nugget of wisdom I had heard before.
He gazed into my eyes, paused, gave a slight, sympathetic, knowing smile, and said,
"These years are much better as memories."
Then he walked away. I think he was my guardian angel, because ever since that day, I realize that the cuteness of children can not be outdone, but Praise God that when we look back, the bad stuff fades. The good stuff sticks. And THAT, my friends, is why every mother with grown children long for the sweetness of the past. I don't think anyone in their right mind would do those years over again if the TRULY remembered what they were like.
So, please know that if I HAD to do it over again, I would probably be just as exhausted, but I would relax about the "little stuff." I would write down more about them as they grew, and I would ASK FOR MORE HELP.
Other than that, there is no easy way out of this parenting thing. I love the life I have now, and I think that much of my sadness is simply the acknowledgment that my life is passing. My time is finite on this earth, and my children growing up are a daily reminder of my life oozing out of me. The other part of the sadness is just that children are so very innocent and have such a pure joy about them. And try as you might, you cannot prevent that from being lost in your children as they grow up.
So to wrap this up, please know that I appreciate the overwhelm and fatigue of you moms with small children, and in no way am trying to guilt anyone into loving every minute of it. I appreciate that I have more time for other pursuits now, I appreciate my children as I watch their personalities unfold (sometimes more so than others), and I love getting to take showers uninterrupted.
But while you have the little ones, love them up, but good.