We’ve all heard this at one point or another, probably at 5 million points and counting. It’s always a well-meaning grandma, empty-nester neighbor, or random older parent at the grocery store who thinks they’re encouraging you, but oftentimes they are heaping on shame and mom guilt that we don’t enjoy every single solitary moment of mothering. Even I have been guilty of throwing out this phrase in my weaker moments, but while we don’t always love this reminder, we can pretty much all agree why people say it:
Because it’s true.
Hear me out, tired, touched-out, desperate mama: I don’t mean you have to relish in the cracked nipples, toddler tantrums, or endless messes that may seem to define your everyday life of late. It’s okay to admit that motherhood sucks sometimes and that you have been known to lock yourself in the bathroom and cry because this is just so freaking hard. (Um, yes, me.) But at the same time, on the good days, you can also see why people say it. These babies really are amazing, and it is an honor to be their mom.
These days I’m not worried about timing baby’s last feeding or what color my toddler’s bowl is or praying this last pack of diapers lasts until we get paid. My four kids range from ages 6 to 14, and oftentimes I think I would trade middle school drama and teenage hormones for teething and nap schedules in a heartbeat. It’s true: I do miss walking out of the bathroom to find my toddlers gave each other Sharpie tattoos, describing to other moms about the diaper blow out in Target that made it all the way to her hair and I had to buy a new outfit because I forgot to put a fresh one in the diaper bag, watching “Tangled” all by myself because my daughter fell asleep on my lap and I didn’t have the energy to get up and take her to the bedroom (also Rapunzel is the best Disney princess; fight me).
But the truth is, I’m going to miss this phase too.
I’ll miss the days when my daughter asks me at 6am to curl her hair before school because it will look great with her outfit. I’ll miss being a low-key hero when my son realizes right before baseball practice that he left his cleats in the garage, and I manage to bring them back just in time so he doesn’t have to run laps. I’ll miss hearing their stories about what happened at school while we’re driving home when one day they can drive themselves. I’m going to miss when my son asks for help picking out a Valentine’s gift for his girlfriend, because what says “I like you but we’re only 12-years-old”? These days, my upstairs always smells like feet, the toilets are never clean, sibling fights are known to draw blood, and we’re constantly running out of snacks, but at the end of the day, this wild season of constant dirt and noise and emotional overload is temporary, and I know I’ll be sad when it’s gone.