A lot of my friends and I are in the stage of our lives where we have young kids. Many of us have toddlers AND newborns. We are all living on caffeine and dreams (and dry shampoo). I see my friends post things on Facebook or Instagram about how hard a particular day or moment has been and I sympathize. Because oof; I’m right there with ya.
And then I see the comments. Sigh.
Why do parents with older children constantly tell those with young children to “enjoy it.” “They grow so fast.” “You’ll miss this.” “Just wait until…”
We see our toddlers and realize how quickly they went from baby to kid. We watch them hit milestone after milestone and see how fast time is escaping us. We are aware of how many days there are until they graduate high school (for my oldest it’s 5,641 as of this post).
But in the thick of struggle, we don’t need to hear “enjoy it.” “You’ll miss it.” What we need to hear is “How can I help?” “Do you need a hand?” “Can I watch the kids?”
I miss holding and rocking Henry to sleep; I don’t miss crying while doing it because he just wouldn’t go to sleep. I secretly miss sleeping next to him and waking up to his perfect little face; I don’t miss the three months I spent sleeping next to him on a futon mattress on his floor because he refused to sleep in his crib.
I know I’ll miss the funny things he does and says as a toddler; I don’t think I’ll miss the constant power struggle over every. single. thing. we ask.
I know I’ll miss Charlie being this tiny, perfect little bundle of amazing. But I’m not sure I’ll miss being unable to communicate with each other. I’ll miss holding and staring at him while he sleeps; I won’t miss the (seemingly) endless back pain brought on by his need to be held.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore each and every age and stage we’ve gone through, but that’s because I’m looking at the whole picture; if I look at individual pieces, there are some I’m glad we are past.
And so, Parent-of-older-children; I know you’re well-intentioned, but those comments aren’t helpful. Yes; they grow up so fast. The days are long, the years are short. We know. But because parents must have a selective memory, you don’t remember (or are choosing not to remember) how hard this stage is.
Right now, we just need a sympathetic ear. And maybe a ten minute break to drink the tea or coffee we’ve warmed up six times today because our kid is crying about socks.