Why I Refuse To Enjoy Every Moment
The grandmotherly woman who delivered our Instacart order this afternoon very nearly got punched in the face as a tip.
She looked at my two-year-old thrashing and screaming and pelting me with raisins, smiled at me and said, "Oh I miss those years! I hope you're enjoying every moment".
You read the part where I said that SHE SAW THE TANTRUM IN PROGRESS, right?
She missed the part where my daughter got up off of her potty, sat on my lap and peed on me. She missed the part where she screamed at me and hit me when I brought her inside because it was raining too hard for us to keep playing.
She missed the part where I haven't had a full night of sleep in five years.
She missed the part where you don't tell someone who is actively being tortured that they have to enjoy it.
THINGS I HAVE TO DO:
Love her, actively, all the time.
Raise her to love herself.
Teach her to be a good person.
Do all of those things for my son.
THINGS I DO NOT HAVE TO DO:
ENJOY ANYTHING THAT IS NOT ENJOYABLE
Why do we have to keep saying this? How many articles, blog posts, podcasts, cartoons, songs, hell - I'm sure there are even TV episodes about this - do we have to produce before people just stop saying this?
I closed the door slowly but firmly. I dodged raisins, comforted my daughter (who was angry that there was water on the window because of the rain) and explained for the millionth time that day that we do not throw anything inside the house. We sang a song from Daniel Tiger together and cuddled.
And guess what? None of that was fun. I can, at the same time, give her all the love, direction, and attention that she needs and also be pissed as hell that there is a raisin in my ear and that my living room has been toddler-trashed. It's called being human. It's called motherhood.
It's not like I don't know what's coming. I have friends with children at all of the ages and stages headed my way. I understand that in just a few years this day will be covered with the sheen of nostalgia. But I refuse to let another person's nostalgia shame me.
No, this is not as complex as what is waiting for me in the tween years, or the teen years. Yes, she is still adorable and hilarious (even while throwing a tantrum). None of that means that I'm not soaked in my child's urine. None of that makes me less exhausted. None of that makes me enjoy any of this.
Life doesn't exist in a binary. Life is not either/or - it is both/and.
I love my children AND they make me want to tear my hair out. I am grateful every day for their existence AND need my own space. I am doing my best to be mindful of every stage AND there are some that just suck.
And that's the truth. Two and three years old - these ages are my kryptonite. They were with my son and they are now with my daughter. I don't like them. I've read about them, I'm prepared for them, I do the best I can for all of us through them. Annnnnnd they suck.
Newborn through one year, that was the sweetest. I love four and I'm really excited about five. Who knows how I'll feel about six and beyond - we'll find out when we get there.
I will do my best to be present, to love and guide them, to support and protect them, to give them roots and wings and teach them to respect the power of both. I will do my best.
We're all just doing our best.
Whether we enjoy it or not.