It has been a day. You are hurrying through the grocery store, trying to calm your screaming baby and hoping that no one is paying attention to your struggles with your toddler. He plants himself in the aisle, holding firm that No, he will not take one step further until you put the fruit snacks into the cart. You struggle to maintain any degree of dignity and calm as you lean down to talk quietly, hoping that your face doesn’t give away the intense frustration you feel. In the midst of this mini-crisis, a well-meaning grandma walks by and smiles at you. Her cheery voice rings down the aisle, “It goes by so quickly. Enjoy this while you can.”
We’ve all been there.
You manage to survive the situation and finish at the store, but you leave frustrated because deep down, you wished you could have looked her in the eye and simply replied, “I know,” with that look that all moms know. It’s the look of shared knowledge that while some moments are hard, it’s over all too soon.
Motherhood is a heroic job. There is nothing more grand than creating a tiny human and tutoring them as they grow and progress. It’s glorious. But it’s also hard. Some days feel like an eternity as you drag yourself from one mess to the next without ever quite managing to get the floor clean. Still, at the end of the day, as you snuggle your baby close and breathe in her sweet scent, you wish you could pause time or at least slow it down.
It’s not hidden from us, while in the chaos of the moment, that it passes quickly. We, mothers, rejoice each time our babies reach a growth milestone, and inside we also mourn that they are getting big so quickly. Each time we go to change out their clothes for a larger size, we hold up the tiny ones they no longer fit and wonder how this all happened so quickly. It’s heartbreaking when they can finally say “remote” instead of “monote” and when they stop asking for “paw-cworn.” We know it goes by fast.
When they say you’re going to miss this, they don’t mean the toddler tantrums. You’re not going to look back longingly at the days when everyone was fighting or sick. You won’t wish to relive the hurt from scraped knees. But it’s all-encompassing. Because with those tantrums, owies, and sicknesses, you get the hugs and slobbery kisses. You’ll forever wish to hold on to that sweet boy that brought you all the freshly picked dandelions. The moment when they first placed that tiny, helpless baby into your arms and you got your first glimpse of her sweet face–you’ll always want that back.
Mama, this goes quickly. You know that. Take a little extra time today to enjoy the small moments. Let the dishes sit in the sink for a few minutes and read that book your baby just brought. Pause and look when they say, “Mom, watch!” for the twentieth time. In that quiet moment when you’re all snuggled on the couch and everyone begins to giggle, pause and breathe it in. Let the struggles slide off your back just a little and forgive the tiny toddler fit. Remember what you already know–that it goes by fast.