The other day I was scrolling through my FB feed and I came across one of those share if you love your children things. (Bit vomit worthy really. Stupid things.) It was a poem about children growing up so fast and that one must cherish every moment you have with them. Seeing that little poem reminded me of a story a friend told me; of how at the supermarket in between dealing with a screaming baby needing to be fed and a toddler pulling things off shelves, an old lady stepped up into her face and cooed, “Cherish every moment. Every moment is a blessing. And they grow up so fast.” My friend didn’t find that moment much of a blessing; in fact she said she could of used a helping hand more than a few twee words.
Look, the sentiment is well meaning and it’s true, they do grow up fast. I have a 15 month old today. It’s crazy. I can’t express in words how much I love her, I don’t need to. When I hug her, the feeling between us is indescribable. But that doesn’t mean that every moment is cherish worthy. The same day that I read that poem I experienced some of the more, shall we say, challenging parent moments I’ve had. Addison woke at 5am and then screamed for 30 minutes for no real reason. She was cranky all day as a result of the early wake up and after her crazy short nap kicked me square in the face on the change table, drawing blood. I spent the whole day carrying her whilst trying to juggle all the stuff that needed doing. She was clingy and overtired. And I was exhausted and desperate for alcohol or chocolate. The day finally came to a close though and at bedtime we read our story and had a cuddle and as she slipped off to sleep in my arms, I filed that moment away. All that had happened that day was done with. The storm had moved on.
The truth is, not every moment can be cherished, nor do they need to be. Some moments are best forgotten (hello split lip and projectile vomit), others you can learn from (no shopping at 4pm or white pants at the park) and some you will remember forever. I don’t think we should feel guilty because we can’t find joy in every moment. Parents are not above being fallible, we are human and affected by difficult moments just as much as anyone. It does not make you a bad parent or person to admit this. Every relationship you have in life will have moments best forgotten, I don’t see why this relationship is any different. I’m not sure why we guilt ourselves so much. Or each other.
At the end of the day I do like those sayings and poems. There are moments when you need to pull yourself back into the present; into the moment. Smell the roses and all that. But don’t beat yourself up if you need to escape some of them, if you’re not loving it sick. The chocolate’s waiting in the pantry. I’ve saved you a square.