As a mom of three young children, I am fiercely aware of how quickly time goes by. I literally feel as if I just saw the positive sign on a pregnancy test and now that positive sign is a sweet, sensitive, train-loving, and puddle-splashing three-year-old boy named Theo. I am still reeling from the shock of discovering that we were spontaneously expecting twins. Now our sweet girls, Josie and Margo are 15 months old. I remember my tiny, 3 and 4-pound baby girls hooked up to tubes and wires in the NICU, and now they are strong and chubby with vividly distinct personalities.
I have so many favorite things about motherhood. I love when my son wakes up in the morning and is so excited about life. He shouts “I’m ready to be awake, mommy!” and smothers me with hugs and kisses.
I love going into my twin girls’ room after their nap to see them standing in their cribs babbling to each other.
I love watching my children love each other. Oh lord, this one really makes me tear up. The first time Margo said “hi” and waved at Theo, his face just lit up with the biggest smile I have ever seen. When Josie started signing more and Theo took full credit for teaching her, I had never been so proud of tiny people in my life.
There are so many things I love, but I do not enjoy every moment of motherhood. When my children are awake, not a minute goes by they don’t need me for something. Sometimes it’s cuddles and a playmate that they need, other times it’s to prepare endless amounts of food, break up fights and clean up poop.
Sometimes we all roll on the floor together and laugh deep belly laughs and I can’t imagine anything that could possibly make me happier. Other times they all desperately need me at the exact same time. They will then cry and cling to me, trying to shove the other ones out of the way so that they can get the comfort they need from mommy.
When I was in graduate school at the University of Miami, I frequented the workout classes at the gym. There was one particular instructor who taught my favorite class, guts and buts (I could definitely use that at this point) and during planks, she would scream at us “Only 15 more seconds! It’s only 15 seconds! You can do anything for 15 seconds!” I find myself channeling this instructor on my toughest days. I remind myself I grew these three humans inside of me, I survived a hospitalized bedrest with my twin pregnancy, I endured leaving my babies in the NICU, I lived the first several months of having 3 under 3 on approximately 1.5 hours of sleep per night. These children will not break me now, and it’s only 1 hour until naptime. I can do anything for 1 hour!
I somehow wrestle my 3 darlings down for a nap and collapse on the couch where I catch up on social media, and my favorite bloggers. It doesn’t take long for me to stumble upon an article that immediately sets my mom guilt into full gear. Something with a headline like “They Won’t Need You Forever” or “Young Moms, Savor Every Moment Before They Move Away To College.” I know those articles are well intentioned, but you know what? I want to be real. It’s OK to not savor every moment! That doesn’t make you less of a mom or mean you love your children less. It means that while motherhood is beautiful and fills up your soul in a way nothing else ever can, it also can tear you apart and drive you to the brink of insanity.
I’ll continue to experience mom guilt for replying to an e-mail during breakfast or putting on another episode of Daniel Tiger instead of doing puzzles with my 3-year-old, but the guilt of not enjoying every moment of motherhood? I’m letting that go.