It used to happen every time I took my kids out. Some older lady would invariably stop me and say: “Enjoy them while they’re young.”
And, every single time I had the same fantasy of scooping up my three littles, plunking them in HER cart and running for the nearest exit while yelling, “YOU enjoy them while they’re young!”
It seemed that these well-meaning older ladies had forgotten the reality of raising young children.
They had forgotten post-partum depression and wild hormonal mood swings. They had forgotten breast infections and the soreness of childbirth. They couldn’t remember the overwhelming exhaustion that comes from having babies in the house. They didn’t remember that more often than not, a mommy never gets to sleep through the night, because feedings, nightmares, and illnesses make sleep impossible.
These sweet ladies had forgotten that young families often have financial problems, and cars that break when you need them the most. They had forgotten the stress of trying to pay bills and keep your family fed and in diapers.
They forgot that children tend to get sick in shifts and that young mommies often spend a month or more nursing their families through just one illness (often while sick themselves) and that usually the next illness hits before there is time to rest up from the last one.
These little ladies had forgotten that young moms rarely have time alone. No time for book reading, lazy bubble baths or even GOING to the bathroom at all!
I imagine they were remembering the early years of mothering with what I call: “Photo Album Memory”. You know what I’m talking about. We tend to put only perfect pictures in our albums, the ones where everyone is smiling. This gives us a false sense of what life was really like at the time.
And so, I made an oath. I promised myself that I would never, ever turn into an older lady who says to a young mommy “Enjoy them while they’re young.”
And, I never have.
To you young moms out there, I say this instead:
I see you. I see your tired faces. I see the worry lines in your faces as you wonder if you’re doing this whole mothering thing right. And, I see how hard you are trying and how much you give up to make sure your children are okay.
I’m not going to put any added pressure on you to “enjoy them while they’re young”. These years are hard and I can tell that you’re doing the best you can. I salute you instead and say, “God bless you, sweet, tired little mommies!‘