“Enjoy this while it lasts. It goes by in the blink of an eye.”
“Oh, I miss when my kids were little. Enjoy it while you can.”
You’ve heard well-meaning people say those things, haven’t you? Oh, I’ve heard it so many times. I wanted to take their advice, I desperately did, but it was so hard.
Honestly, it felt like I was just surviving the season, and their comments just added to the pang of guilt I felt.
Honestly, there have been many seasons like that.
When kids are little and their needs are so large, it can be hard to enjoy it.
It can be hard to enjoy getting up multiple times a night.
It can be hard when you try to babyproof, but they still somehow get into everything.
It can be hard being touched all day long by little hands and then finding the energy to spend quality time with your husband.
It can be hard when the temper tantrums come.
It can be hard being sacrificial in all the ways parenting demands.
It can be so hard.
There are hard things about every season.
As our kids grow up, the things that were once exhausting seem to morph. No longer is it about changing diapers and midnight feedings. It turns into big pre-teen emotions, mean girls at school, and teaching your daughter to stand up for herself.
The hard is always going to be there–it just looks different with each season.
I’m not going to tell you to enjoy this season–I know many people probably already do. I hated hearing that. I hated when people would tell me to enjoy it because they were so far removed from it. They had easily forgotten the weight that season carries.
I am past the point of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers. And if I were to give my younger self advice, it would not be to enjoy this season.
It would be to be present in this season.
Take each moment as it comes and don’t try to escape into the fantasy of what you think the future will be like (or what you miss about the past). Take on the hard. Roll up your sleeves and be there with those little ones–sticky fingers, potty training mishaps, and all the messes. Oh, so many messes!
The season you’re in right now will pass. It might be next week or it might be next year, but this temporary moment will fade.
It’s OK if you don’t enjoy it, but be present for it.