As I stand in line at the grocery store, I feel my face getting red and my blood pressure rising. My 4 year old is asking for everything on the candy shelf, and my 10 year old is helping by pointing out all the great things her little sister should ask mom for. I take a huge breath and sternly look them in the eyes as quietly as I possibly can (only because I am in public) and say, “For the 5th time, the answer is NO. Do not ask me again.” The elderly lady behind me smiles with a look as sweet as pie and says, “Honey, cherish every moment. They grow up so fast.”
Here’s my response, “I KNOW!!! Please don’t tell me that anymore. Please don’t remind me of that anymore. Please don’t make me feel guilty anymore when I attempt to discipline my children. Please don’t make me even more aware of something that I already know and feel the ping in my stomach about every single day!”
My aggravation doesn’t mean that I don’t cherish every moment.
Did I really say that to this sweet lady? No, of course not. But my brain and heart surely said it inside. Just because I’m aggravated at the moment does not mean that I don’t cherish every moment or know that they truly do grow up fast.
How many times have we as moms heard that saying from our “older and wiser” fellow moms? It’s a statement that well, I will admit, DRIVES ME NUTS! You know why? Because we feel that stomach ping each and every day that we don’t get to do something fun with our kids. We know that in a very short time, they won’t want to do anything with us. We go to sleep feeling guilty each time we miss reading them a nighttime story because we’re still doing the dishes from dinner. We know that in merely a few months, they will no longer need us to read to them. We cry alone in our rooms each time we must discipline them and they cry. All we want to do is hug them and never see them upset.
We live it! We know it! We don’t need or want anyone to remind us that they “grow up fast!” It feels like only yesterday that I held my 10 year old in my arms as I rocked her to sleep. I am already sad that she has grown “so fast.” I feel like my four year old just started walking last week when, in fact, she is already learning to read.
As much as we want to, we can’t stop the clock.
So to the sweet lady in the grocery store and to all the other well meaning veteran moms out there, please take a word of advice from the “newer” moms. Instead of telling us they grow up fast, tell us, “you’re doing a great job” or “you’re a wonderful mom.” Tell us anything, but the one obvious thing that we already know. Trust us! If we could keep them this age or stop the clock, we would.