When you become a parent, you hear the same advice over and over again: Enjoy it while it lasts, it goes by so fast, you’re going to miss these days, etc. I find myself looking at my current situation and knowing with all my heart and every ounce of my soul how true those cliched phrases are. I wake up every day and know this is the time of my life that I will look back with wishful thinking.
I’ll wish I would have paid less attention to my phone and more attention to the kids. I’ll wish I would have taken them outside more. I’ll wish I would have yelled less and listened more. I’ll wish a lot of things. But I’ll also (try to) remember the every day struggle to do those things. I have my phone on me at all times because I literally do everything on it- its my calendar, my social outlet, my to-do list, I do the majority of my shopping online, and most importantly it’s my digital scrapbook. I record things to Facebook and Instagram because I want to remember those moments- both the good and the bad. I’ll say I should have taken the kids outside more but I’ll also remember that it was 95 degrees outside after school and the mosquitos were biting like they had never eaten before in their lives. I’ll hopefully remember that “Pinterest crafts” look great in pictures but the reality of spending 2 hours setting up and cleaning up for a craft that lasted 10 minutes is absurd.
Even after saying all that and being acutely aware of how great this time in my life is, I still already miss tomorrow.
This feeling was especially strong when my babies were newborns. The newborn phase of life is so unique, so special, and way too short. It’s my favorite phase, but it also gives me the most anxiety. I worry so much about how fast that phase goes that I find myself struggling to enjoy it to its fullest while it’s happening. I mean seriously, this is why moms are sometimes so crazy. Being a mom totally messes with your ability to have rational thoughts. I have gotten better about this with each baby, but it’s not easy. It took until my third baby before I said “You know what? I’m not going to do anything besides sit down and hold my baby. No cleaning. No house projects. No doing anything that isn’t 100% necessary.” And you know what? Nothing happened. No one starved, my house didn’t explode, and everyone was happier. In those moments I can truly say I wasn’t missing tomorrow because I was fully and deeply involved in the “today”. The newborn phase is totally over for me now. No more babies. No more sweet newborn baby noises and cuddles, and I miss it. Already I miss it. I know next week I’ll miss today because by next week my precious baby #4 might be crawling and I’ll be sad that I won’t have a (mostly) immobile baby who doesn’t get into everything.
How do we enjoy our moments without feeling the impending anxiety of their passing? How do I find joy in my toddler being an absolute nightmare at every nap-time and bedtime? Can we live in and enjoy our present moments while simultaneously wishing them to pass?
When the day comes that all my children can get themselves ready and go to bed without needing me, I’ll be sad. That’s the “tomorrow” I’m already missing. The best I can do right now is wake up every day and remember that in 10 years I’ll long for this day that’s ahead of me- naptime struggles and all. In ten years I’ll probably give anything to go back to when my babies were little, even if just for a short while. To go back to today. So enjoy your today, no matter how challenging it may be. One day you’ll miss “today” and wish you would have savored it just a little bit longer.