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Friday, February 20, 2015

Motherhood has made me fickle.

Since the birth of my oldest 5 years ago, I've often found myself wishing away the years.

Maybe not wishing that they'd disappear completely, but at least speed up a bit.  It usually comes in rather innocent thoughts - When they can all do "this" or "that", life will be so much easier.  

When they sleep through the night.

When they are onto solid food.

When they drop to one nap.  

When they're walking independently.  

When they can follow simple directions.

When I can trust them alone for more than 30 seconds.

When they're potty trained.  

When they're REALLY potty trained and can hold it for more than 4 seconds.

No, REALLY.  More like 4 minutes.  

When they go to preschool.  

When they can buckle their own car seat belts.

When they can help with chores.

When they go to real school.  

You get the idea.

Eventually you hit those milestones and it does get easier.  Don't get me wrong.  With two 3 year old boys and a 5 year old boy, it's still complete chaos.  But a slightly more controlled chaos.  

And in that chaos, I find the time to look at old photos and reminisce about how quickly my babies have grown into these cool little people.  People who sleep through the night and eat normal food and pee in the bathroom (even if it's more often around the toilet than actually in the toilet).  I long for the sweet baby days.  I rejoice with every step toward more independence.  It's a constant tug between the two.

I'm not going to tell you that you shouldn't think that way.  It's normal and natural and, sweet Jesus it's helpful.

See, those "speed it up" thoughts aren't bad.  They're one of many ways that Moms stay sane in the most trying moments. We just need to remind ourselves that it won't always be this kind of hard.  I think we all know that motherhood is hard.  And will always be hard.  But this kind of hard won't last forever.  The sleepless nights, the diapers, the complete dependence.  Eventually they will end.  And a different kind of hard thing will take their place.  We know this, but in that moment, we just need to remind ourselves that this - this hard thing that we're doing right now - it will not last for forever.

So while we're snuggling our babies at 3:00 a.m., it's fine to look forward to nights of 6 hours of sleep.  While we're up to our elbows in poopy diapers, it's perfectly acceptable to hope that your kid will decide to ditch the diapers at 18 months old.  When you're bundling and lifting and strapping your babies into their carseats for the 4 millionth time in a day, it's cool to dream of the days when they can hop in and buckle themselves, only requiring a check and a tighten from you.

Eventually all of those things happen.  The day comes when you ask your kiddo to go potty, get his shoes on, and buckle up his seat ... and he does it.  All three of them do it.  And all of the sudden you're wondering where the years went.  It feels like you blinked and the years flew by like minutes.  A tiny part of you wishes you could hold that tiny baby in your arms again.  But just a tiny part, because those sleepless nights were a bitch.  See?  Fickle.  We're all just fickle.

Those sweet little old ladies in the Target checkout line who pull you aside while your babies are grabbing things off the shelves while running in opposite directions to tell you to "cherish these times because they fly by too quickly"?  They can't help it.  They mean well.  It's just that motherhood (and probably subsequent grandmotherhood) makes you fickle.

So let's just roll with it, shall we?  Let's enjoy our big kids and our little kids and our babies.  Let's complain about the tough spots, look forward to the bright spots, and reminisce about our sweet babies.  Let's embrace the fickle.  

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