Have you ever been out shopping and see a sweet old lady cruising by? Or maybe you don’t even see her because you are too busy picking up spilled goldfish from the grocery floor or breaking up a sibling fight. And then she appears right in front of you.
And without any invitation from you, she comes up and gives you some advice (unsolicited I might add). It usually goes something like this: Enjoy it! Enjoy those babies. It goes so fast.
“Mama, you’re gonna miss this.”
And despite the fact that she looks like the sweetest old lady, you don’t want to hear it. It is almost irritating. The kids are acting like terrors in public, the baby is screaming and people are staring – how could I miss this?
And why are you telling me that? There are days where motherhood is not fun and here you are telling me to love it.
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Momming Is Hard, Did She Forget That?
Motherhood is so hard. Hard doesn’t even seem like a worthy word.
It is exhausting. Absolutely exhausting.
And that old lady at the store surely doesn’t remember what it is like. It has simply been too long since she was in the trenches of mothering little ones.
Motherhood is Physically Exhausting
Going to bed at night your body aches from toting around a 35 lb toddler because he says “Peas hold me” all day long.
Scrubbing the house because you want to keep the flu germs that have been floating around daycare at bay.
Taking kids from school to practice. And then doing it all over again.
Shopping for groceries, prepping lunches and preparing healthy dinners.
Motherhood is Mentally Exhausting
Once you finally get in bed, your mind won’t turn off and the mama checklist starts.
- Need to pack up the 12 month clothes and donate those. My kid is 2 why haven’t I done this already?
- Did the kids eat enough veggies today? Did they even eat anything good for them?
- Dress up week at school is next week – we need a superhero outfit, an all red outfit, a 50’s dress up costume, a hero costume and a school spirit shirt. Wait, was that last week? Did we miss it? No, she would have come home upset, we didn’t miss it.
- Target List: Diapers, Goldfish crackers, maybe a face mask in case I get some me time (yeah right).
- Are we relying on screen time too much?
- When is the last time I got down in the floor and played with the kids?
- Oh yeah and my marriage – don’t forget my poor sweet husband.
- Add that new recipe from Pinterest to my meal plan and maybe one of the kids will eat it.
So Why Is The Old Lady Giving Unsolicited Advice?
The reason that it doesn’t offend me when the sweet old lady tells me to enjoy it is because I know, deep down, that she is right. (Even if I don’t want to hear it at the time)
She has lived through it.
She looks at my babies and lovingly recalls her own children at that age.
That old lady had some of the same struggles years ago that I have today. Her kids didn’t sleep. She experienced the unglamorous days of diaper changing, spit up, wiping noses and picking up 7,000 tiny toys per day.
She packed lunches and worried about her kids eating their vegetables.
She broke up fights and probably lost her cool on occasion. And then the mom guilt set in about yelling.
Maybe she didn’t have to worry about what age is too young for an iPhone. Or what exactly are the kids watching on YouTube, but I bet she had something on her mind that was relevant at the time that seemed just as important.
She lived through those long days. There were days without a “thank you” and days where a smart mouthed teen made her cry.
There are no telling how many cups of coffee went cold while she was doing things for others.
She hid in the bathroom to get 5 minutes of peace from a chatty 5 year old or a demanding toddler. Some things never change.
The only difference is that when she was hiding in the bathroom it was 20, 30 or even 50 years ago.
And here she is. Looking at YOU in the middle of the grocery store, juggling a screaming baby with bags under your eyes and unwashed hair and she misses it.
The old lady smiles warmly at your kid that is acting like they have never been in a public space before.
She tells you to enjoy it. Mama, You’re gonna miss this is her wise advice.
And she is right.
No, you might not miss the pain of giving birth. You can probably be completely happy in life forgetting about all of the sleepless nights in those early newborn days.
Misplacing the memory of stepping on all those Legos in the middle of the night or the piles of laundry that come with kids would be just fine.
But Mama, you’re gonna miss this.
The weight of your toddlers body as he falls asleep on you.
The way your daughter appears in her best princess gown after you asked her to go get dressed.
Those sweet mispronounced words.
The joy in your kid’s eyes when they see you after a long day at Mother’s Day Out.
The special snuggly bear or blanket that they couldn’t sleep without.
Those chubby cheeks and toothless grins.
The days are long and difficult. The tasks that we do seem to never end. But one day the struggles won’t rule your memories and Mama, you’re gonna miss this sweet baby in your arms.
As you age, you might remember that motherhood is hard. But you will mostly remember the good.
And one day you will see the young mom with her kids and you will remember yours at that stage. And you will smile. You might even tell that young mom to enjoy it because Mama, you’re gonna miss this.
So the next time that little grandma stops me at the store and tells me to enjoy it. I’m going to do just that. Stop my complaints and look at the beautiful kids sitting in my cart.
I’m going to thank God for the blessings that I begged Him for.
Hug my kids. And remember that no matter what kind of day that I’m having today, in 50 years I doubt I will remember the day that my little one threw a fit at Target but I will remember the sweet days of their childhood.
Mama, don’t miss it.