Have you ever come across a social media post that seems to represent the opinion of ALL mothers…yet it doesn’t resonate with you? The internet is full of endless information, and much of it is simply based on personal preference, not facts.
I’ve seen young mothers online, expressing their discomfort when they hear the following phrases: “enjoy these years”, “they grow so fast”, or “you are going to miss these days”.
I understand how these phrases might feel invalidating to a struggling mother who has young kids. When you’re overstimulated, anxious, touched-out, depressed, or lonely; when you’re in survival-mode, you don’t want to be told to cherish each moment.
I’m going to offer a counter-opinion here; a different way of looking at this. I appreciate the sentiment to cherish this phase of young motherhood. It usually reminds me to focus on the big-picture. It helps me appreciate my babies more.
Why Do They Say Those Things?
These phrases are typically said by older women or men who have raised their families and no longer have small children.
Maybe those seasoned parents have forgotten what it’s like to have babies. It’s also possible that they can see their young parenting years with more clarity now that they are beyond them.
Let’s think about it like this. If you could have a chat with your younger self when you were in high school, what advice would you share?
I would be tempted to say, “Don’t worry so much”, “Just enjoy yourself while you don’t have responsibilities”, “Life just keeps getting harder”. These things are true, but would I have appreciated them? Probably not.
When we are removed from a situation, we can see it more clearly.
We typically have regrets or at least things we would do differently. We have good and bad memories. We emerge more wise and more prepared for life’s next phase.
I value the sentiment to cherish this season, because I know that each stage of my life will bring insights into the previous stages. I hope to learn from others that have completed raising their families. I treasure their knowledge, even though sometimes it isn’t delivered in the most validating way.
You Don’t Have To Love It All the Time
All that being said, you have permission to hate some days. Everyone has bad days, no matter what stage of life they are in. Some days, weeks, and months are just going to be worse than others. Take a minute to breathe. Care for your mental and emotional health. Seek help when you need it.
And when you are able to, soak in the baby snuggles. Put away the distractions. Take a minute to write down the funny things that your toddler says. Forgive yourself for wishing time away.
It is possible for us to struggle with our children on a daily basis AND to miss these same days when they are behind us.