It’s been a while since I raised kids (like, a long while!). I’m now used to midday naps, going to bed as late as I want to and sleeping until I wake naturally. I can sit and watch a TV show uninterrupted and read books whenever I feel like it. I can visit on the phone without stopping to yell at someone and I can plan menus without worrying about picky little minions who refuse to eat anything resembling a vegetable.
They say hindsight is 20/20 and that can be true. I have the luxury of looking back and seeing all the mistakes I made while raising my kids (most of them involved worrying too much about things that didn’t matter).
But, hindsight isn’t perfect. We tend to gloss over the bad parts and view the past through rose-colored glasses. I intellectually know that motherhood is hard, but emotionally the reality was slipping away from me the longer I had an empty nest.
Well, I had my grandkids for the weekend and the reality of that 24/7 responsibility smacked me right back in the face! Here are a few memories that were jogged into my consciousness:
- No matter how independent your kids are, you will never have a large chunk of time to yourself. Even when they’re quiet, you will be on guard constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. And, it will drop.
- Kids will play happily together until the second you sit down to actually enjoy some peace. Then, all heck will break loose. Every. Single. Time.
- No matter how firmly you set boundaries, kids will test them daily. Are they still in the same place? Are they moveable? Can they be negotiated? Let’s take turns trying!
- Whatever you cook for dinner, even if it was their favorite last week, at least one child will decide they suddenly hate it.
- There will be spills. Lots of spills. Usually on your favorite clothes, linens or furniture pieces.
- You will never be caught up on laundry (see above).
- Almost toilet-trained kids will pee the bed the very night they have freshly laundered sheets (see above again!).
- You will rarely get a full night’s sleep. This will make you so hyper-sensitive to sounds that even if your kids do sleep through the night, you likely won’t.
- Every errand will take at least 10 times as long as it did before you had kids. Each one of your kids will want to show you every item that catches their eye. Plus, kids have a talent for being in your way no matter which way you turn your cart. By the end of the shopping trip you may be tempted to mow them over with said cart.
- Kids will have to poop at the most inopportune times. Count on it.
- There will never be an opportune moment for you to poop.
- Older siblings know what annoys their younger siblings the most. They will proceed to do those very things repeatedly until someone screams and cries.
- And, a single day can feel like a thousand years!
This is why I vowed as a young mom never to be one of those old people who approach moms to say: “Enjoy them while they’re young, it goes by in a flash.” Really, grandma? Does it? What kind of crazy rose-colored glasses are you looking through? (I’m proud to say I’ve kept that vow, I wrote about it here: https://www.allmomdoes.com/2016/04/21/ill-never-tell-you-to-enjoy-them-while-theyre-young/).
Last weekend I was reminded of the constancy of motherhood. No matter how many kids you have or whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or a working mom, motherhood is tough and exhausting and non-stop.
Sure, when you look back on it, the time went by in a flash. But, that’s hindsight. And, hindsight isn’t always 20/20.
Read more of Ann’s contributions to allmomdoes here.