Living in the Moment
Think back to your infant that was helpless and wanted to nurse/eat constantly. You think – I can’t wait until my child becomes more independent and doesn’t rely on only me to feed him/her. Then, your child achieves that and you think “Wow, now I have to do more grocery shopping and always be prepared with food — breast feeding was so much easier than this!” But in reality, breast-feeding was just as challenging, but in a different way.
Or – “I can’t wait until my kids are in school because then I will have more free time to —” but then your children are all in school and you think “there’s so much to prepare now and we have to follow a daily schedule, it really was so much easier when we could just stay home and do whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted!” But again, in reality, each stage is challenging in it’s own right.
Parenting is hard. Well meaning people say “enjoy every moment – they grow up quickly.” Sometimes I want to tell those people to shut up — I want to ask them if their child was ever up every hour in the night. Or if their child threw tantrums over not getting to watch TV. And then ask them how they enjoyed those moments? It’s hard to enjoy every moment when many moments are just not enjoyable!
I once read that with parenting, “the days are long and the years are fast.” And I couldn’t agree more. After having my first, I realized that parenting had given me some of the hardest days of my life, yet it had been the best year of my life – try to make sense of that paradox!
Far easier said than done — but rather than trying to “enjoy every moment,” just try to LIVE in the moment – don’t long for the past or the future. Take each day, each moment as it comes. Remind yourself to enjoy the moments that you can, and for those moments that you can’t, remind yourself they will pass.
One of my friends told me that she was terrified of having kids because she knew it would be hard to get anything done. But once she had her baby, she resigned herself to the fact that when her baby was awake, she wouldn’t get anything substantial done. She enjoyed her time with her child without putting pressure on herself to do things that could wait.
Again, easier said than done but when I considered what she said, I realized I was a much happier parent when I focused on my little guy and really did try to live in the moment with him. When I’m trying to wash the dishes and he is tugging on my leg asking to be picked up, I feel annoyed that he wants to be picked up. But if I can push the dishes aside for later, pick him up, snuggle and enjoy his hug, we both benefit more.
Of course, I can’t do this all the time — sometimes things just need to get done and I can’t spend my entire day cuddling and playing for many different reasons, but I can choose tasks that are easier to put aside temporarily, such as folding laundry. So when parenting is hard and tiresome, don’t look to the past or the future. Try your best to live with your child in the moment, today.