I look back at high school and laugh at myself. Things that were such a big deal then are hard to even fully remember now. Break ups were the worst. School was hard. Getting up at 7:30am was such a nightmare. Juggling an after school/weekend job with school and band practice seemed overwhelming. I remember a particular break up where I laid on the bathroom floor crying while my dad consoled me. (Thanks Dad) It was the worst day of my entire life. Failing a test? OMG! My life was over. When I think of what I considered a serious situation back then, I roll my eyes.
Even today, after going through a fair amount of “bad stuff”, I know that I’m no where near the top of the wisdom pole. I like to complain about how busy life is. When I had Jack I thought my life was over when I realized I’d never sleep again. After Juliet arrived, I realized how easy it was with just one. I’m sure someone with three or four children looks at my life as a piece of cake. The thing is, no matter where you are in life. One kid. Two kids. No kids. High school. Retired….it can be hard. The hardest part of Jack’s life right now is that he has to go to school in the morning and to bed at night. Sometimes, the idea of taking a bath is just the most difficult thing you could possibly ask him to do. But what’s important to recognize is that even though it may seem trivial to someone who has already pushed through their terrible threes, for a three-year-old, it IS the most difficult thing they have to do-and his feelings about this complex situation are valid.
This brings me to what I like to call the “pick-a-little” ladies. These are the ladies who like to comment on those “need to vent” mom posts. For example:
Exhausted mom: I am so tired. My child has been a nightmare today and my baby refuses to sleep. I feel like I’m going to be reading Green Eggs and Ham until my eyeballs bleed and rock this baby until the chair falls apart from under me.
Experienced empty nester: Enjoy this time! They’re only little once. Read that boy his book and rock that baby all night because you’ll be old soon.
Her intentions are so well-meaning. She obviously misses her children being young. They don’t need her like they used to and she doesn’t want a new mother to take these moments for granted. I get it. I really do. However, telling us that these are the best times of our lives and that we should enjoy the moments while we are knee deep in baby poop is as useless as me telling Jack that taking a bath isn’t the worst thing that will ever happen to him. My little cousin who was 16 or so at the time was so upset that his girlfriend had broken up with him. It was SO hard for me not to laugh and tell him that it REALLY doesn’t even matter AT ALL because you’re awesome and this is just a piece of life you have to experience to prepare you for your future wife. But I didn’t. Because even though I can look back and giggle at my dramatic self, I had to experience those moments and those feelings to get to where I am today. His feelings are valid. What he needed was someone to listen and say, “Man, that sucks. I’m sorry. Break ups are hard.”
I like to express my motherly exhaustion in a humorous way on social media to seek out the comradery of new and more experienced mothers alike. It’s refreshing to read their stories and recognize that this too shall pass. A friend of mine was complaining about cleaning a car seat cover in the middle of the night due to an accident her three-year-old had. We’ve all been there, right? Most of us have, anyway. So this one lady goes on her post and blasts her for “exploiting her child” and “being negative all the time”. I’m positive this upset the mother because it really, really upset me. I can’t imagine motherhood without such a great source of encouragement and support found on social media. I seriously think I would be depressed if I didn’t have some sort of outlet where I can share my experiences. To be told that your very real irritation is invalid or that instead of feeling overwhelmed with your busy life, you should feel grateful at all times isn’t helpful. Sharing your own stories of motherhood, however, can lift up an exhausted mama in a second.
So, thank you to the listeners and the story tellers. I am grateful for my life. I already miss my three-year-old’s baby years. I know it goes by in a flash. I know they’ll be grown before I know it. I am so blessed to have this time with my babies. You don’t have to remind me that twenty years will be here tomorrow because I already feel it. It doesn’t, however, mean that I am not allowed to get pissed off every once in a while.