One thing that is especially frustrating about parenting is that whatever stage you are in at the moment, it is the most difficult stage yet. While you are knee-deep in diapers and onesies and no sleep and spitting-up... it is exhausting and impossible and overwhelming. While I was only there for the day, it was just such a quieter, calmer day than if I would have been at my own house. It just started to make me think... if only I had appreciated it more when I was in that newborn phase. No one thinks it is easy while you are in the trenches. Sometimes it very well feels like the most impossible task in the universe and you constantly feel like an epic failure and not fit to be a parent.
I look back on it and laugh about the simplicity... but hindsight is 20-20. It always seems easier once you are past it. You remember the sweetness and ease and the cuddling and the "I love you mommy." The endless needing mommy, cutting up food, wiping butts, buckling carseats, tantrums over being given the wrong plate... those things don't always come to the forefront, just like I barely remember the tears of exhaustion during middle of the night feedings, endless screaming, projectile spit-up, and being pooped on from the newborn phase.
I find myself looking around at the pool and awaiting the day that I can actually just sit and read a book while the kids are off (safely) swimming with their friends. But I don't want to wish away these moments when they are begging me to play with them in the water.
The hardest thing is just appreciating the stage you are in for what it is. And don't always look forward to the next stage because you think it might be easier. It will be easier in its own ways, and then it will be a schmillion times harder in its own ways. There are new challenges with every single day of parenting. There are new fears and worries at every stage of the game. Its funny to think about the stresses of even before you have a baby. When you don't want to get pregnant, you are scared that you will. When you want to get pregnant, you are scared that you won't be able to. When you do get pregnant, you are scared of a miscarriage, Down Syndrome, birth defects, a stillborn, the list goes on and on. When you actually have the baby, you worry about SIDS and check if they are breathing constantly. As they grow you worry about autism, developmental or physical delays, getting hurt, germs, etc. And this is just in the first few years of life.
A couple months ago I read a blog post that dealt with the idea, "Am I wishing away what someone else wants?" The answer, quite often, is yes. Now that I'm aware of this thinking, I'd like to make an effort to change. Appreciate this time more. (Don't worry, I will still be full-on sarcastic and cynical and ranting on here... this is my outlet).
I saw a post on Facebook recently that hit home majorly:
There was never a more true statement. All the days that I truly don't think bedtime will EVER come and I want to tear my hair out and hide in a cave... they seem endless. But the fact that Summer will be going into 1st grade, Layla will be four years old next week, and Livi is (hopefully) broaching the end of diapers??? It just can't be so.
I am going to be hanging a version of the quote above and the one below somewhere in my house where I will see them daily, because I want to remember this every day:
The dishes can wait. My girls can't.