As a mom of toddlers and school-aged kids, I’m tired. I’m beyond exhausted. All the time.
I think any mom feels me on this one. It can become a serious problem for some moms–the extreme fatigue that turns to total burnout. These darling, irreplaceable, cherubic lifeforms we create demand all that we have and all that we are from the moment they’re conceived until, well, honestly, I don’t know. I haven’t reached a stopping point for that in my motherhood.
I’m not sure there is one.
I certainly don’t mean to cast parenting in a negative light.
I love being a mom; it’s the most wonderful thing I could ever imagine, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world. But it is also really, really, really hard. And you know what makes it even harder for me? When the nice old lady at the grocery store, with every good intent, admires my cart full of rambunctious energy and says, “Oh, they grow up so fast. Just enjoy them while you can.”
Okay, okay, I get it.
There is a lot to enjoy about this phase of life, and I’ll miss the smiles and snuggles and innocence and pudgy little fingers grasping my cheeks to pull me in for a kiss that feels more like it came from a Great Dane than a human toddler. But that doesn’t make the sleepless nights or the endless sippy cup splatters or the incessant reading of the same board book 34 times a day any easier. I don’t enjoy all of it; it’s not all enjoyable. But there’s something else I try to do instead.
I’m learning to embrace.
Embrace this moment, embrace this life, embrace everything that it is and that comes with it. It is what it is, and some things aren’t going to change for a while.
If I fixate on what’s wrong or difficult with my current journey or contemplate how I wish things were different, I’m met with disappointment. There are many aspects of life that are not pleasant, and the advice to “enjoy the kids now because they grow up so fast,” slides across my conscience like sandpaper. However, if I can accept and embrace the difficult and unpleasant things, I can move on with my life and enjoy everything else.
I can accept the dark circles under my eyes that result from sleepless nights and enjoy seeing my children near me.
I can embrace the crumbs on the floor, accept the fact that I’ll be sweeping them up at least three more times today, and enjoy the floor we walk and play and read on together.
I can embrace the added padding on my thighs, stop trying to fit back into my pre-kid jeans, and enjoy the stretchy leggings that now comprise my wardrobe.
You don’t have to enjoy difficulties. You certainly don’t need to feel guilty about not enjoying difficulties. If you can learn to embrace your life with littles, you can free yourself from the stress and worry of wishing things were different.
After all, they really will grow up eventually and you won’t have to face these difficulties forever!
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