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Caught Between “Enjoy Every Moment” and “I Can’t Wait Until You’re Older”

Life is such a funny thing. With two babies under two and a half, I cannot tell you how many times I have heard “enjoy these moments; they fly by so fast”, which I totally get as my firstborn just turned two. Being in the thick of motherhood, I can totally agree that the days go by extremely fast and all of a sudden, you blink and your life has miraculously fast-forwarded five years and your baby is starting kindergarten. It’s not something you can explain in words; you just have to live it to experience it.

On the flip side, I find myself mostly on the other end of the spectrum: the “hurry up and get through this phase because I just can’t take it anymore” or “I cannot wait until you can do more things for yourself and I might get a second to breathe”. It’s no secret that when you have babies 10 months apart, your life is guaranteed to basically be a full-time circus. I get that. But I feel like I’m stuck in between these two momentous statements and am constantly pulled back and forth. Time slow down. Hurry up and do this. Repeat. Repeat.  

Let me give you one example that might help explain my thinking a bit better. At around 13 months old, my son started to protest the car seat. I’m talking stiff as a board, kicking, arching of the back and total refusal to get in his car seat for who knows what reason. Unfortunately for him, I have to strap him in his beloved car seat twice a day to get him to and from daycare. And while this phase only lasted a few weeks and I was able to figure out ways to distract him until the phase ended, it was exhausting.  I remember thinking to myself “I cannot wait until he can buckle himself into his own car seat”. Or better yet: “I can’t wait until my kids aren’t in car seats at all anymore!” But then I had to stop myself and realize that my baby isn’t going to be baby forever and he’s learning things so quickly these days, so shouldn’t I just be soaking up the moments: the good, the bad and the ugly? I enjoyed a month or two of peacefulness without a battle every morning for the car seat and then, just a few weeks ago, my 14-month-old daughter decided she didn’t like her car seat anymore. And the cycle started all over again. (Yes, I realize most people don’t have their kids so close together and there is usually more time between these “tough phases” but nonetheless, it’s still where I’m at!)

Before I had my babies, I was showered with advice and cliche catchphrases that we’ve all heard a million times before.  “Enjoy these moments; they go so fast”; “Soak it all in”; “Even on the worst days, remember they are only little for so long”.  And don’t get me wrong: every single one of those statements has some heavy truth to it. But if I’m being totally honest, I am actually looking forward to the day that both of my kids can eat a meal without looking like a tornado hit our kitchen, use the restroom independently (and all the other bonuses that go along with that), tell me exactly what they want without an endless guessing game, and get themselves dressed and out the door without a huge production. I can’t wait until they can play together upstairs without me having to worry if they’re jumping out a window, throwing toys at the TV, or turning on the bathwater to flood the bathroom. I have said to my husband so many times “I can’t wait until they’re a little older and we can do ________________” (insert any fun activity that is enjoyable for anyone without two toddlers). I’m not going to lie: it sounds pretty great right now.    

However, I recognize those wishes are still a ways off from my reality. I also fully understand that once I get to that point with my children, I will beg for these days to return and give anything to be back right where I’m standing now. This is exactly why this thing we call parenthood is such a huge conundrum. We are constantly stuck between “hurry up” and “enjoy every single moment”. So I guess I’m just going to attempt to teeter between both; enjoy those moments that are special and won’t ever happen again, but also relish in the idea that one day, they will get there and things will be easier. I have to learn to appreciate both sides of parenthood because that’s my reality. I mean, whoever said we had to choose just one side?

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