There is a lot of commentary circulating around the web right now about the unsolicited advice to "Enjoy!" your little ones. I hear it ALL the time. And, not to ruffle the feathers of those who despise that saying, but I love it. And, here's why...
The women who say it to me most are typically a grandma or older age, they appear to be women who have survived the toddler years. Women who have lived to tell about it. So, until I heard all of the negative hype, I took it as encouragement. Perhaps I'm in la la land about their intentions, but I don't take it as an expectation to enjoy sleep deprivation, smelling like spit up, never finishing a conversation or a blog post for that matter! But, as a reminder. A reminder that amidst the chaos that is parenthood (particularly parenting wee little ones) to look up from the dishwasher, the laundry pile, the stove top and let myself laugh at my 2 year old walking around in high heels, yelling at the neighbor's dogs telling them, "hey, quiet, we have a baby!!" Looking down at Levi covered in sweet potatoes that he detests, watch him suck on his toes and giggle with delight when he notices sister doing a princess dance to the song we've listened to roughly 87 times that morning. A reminder that in all the hard work, hands down the most difficult job I have ever had, to reward myself with the hard earned joyful moments.
I thought of this post as I rocked Levi in the middle of the night, and instantly I thought of a lady I had a very brief encounter with when Georgiana was about 5 months old. My grandma and I were at the Tacoma Home Show and a woman very casually starting talking with us while I changed Georgiana's diaper. She started telling me how fast rearing her children went, how when they were little she hated changing them in public bathrooms because it seemed like so much work, and then how she woke up one day and they were all grown. That she had accidentally wished it all away. She encouraged me to enjoy the bathroom changes, to notice how cute they are and soak it up.
I too hate bathroom changes, her simple words didn't really change that, but as simple of a conversation as it was, so similar to dozens upon dozens that I've had, it nestled in the back of my mind. Just a reminder, that this too shall pass, it doesn't last forever.
I do not delight in lugging my life around in a diaper bag, I do recommend one with backpack straps however, but anyway the point is, I TRY (notice how try is in all caps). I most definitely do not succeed in this, but I put effort toward enjoying chubby little legs kicking at me while I take care of poo poo in inconvenient places. Because, I don't want to end up like that lady, practically crying in a public bathroom telling a stranger that my biggest wish is that I hadn't wished it all away.
I choose to believe that I am told to "Enjoy," because the woman telling me knows it's not easy to enjoy. But, she also knows that if I don't I will greatly regret it. This is hard. I have no idea how to balance a baby boy who cries hysterically when I set him down, just to try and go the bathroom and a little toddler girl who wants to be held so badly "mommy will you hold me, mommy will you hold me (repeat x30 minimum)" badly enough that I practically rocked her while I was having time with the commode the other day (how's that for TMI!!!). Brother screamed, Georgie cuddled, and I thought, well, add this to the list of things I never dreamed I would do. Also, how in the world can I keep a clean house?? My laundry is finally caught up, Praise the Lord oh my soul, but the toys have exploded and I am a load behind on dishes. I have some friends who have immaculate homes, the kind that you could stop by at anytime and eat off of their floor if you so desired. I would love to be like that, I am trying, and I am failing. I really really really genuinely enjoy a super clean house, mine is not. But, someday I am going to be like the many retired people in my neighborhood, they have more done by 9am than I do in a week. I had an hour to clean without my helpers the other day while Kelly took the kids to the park, it was amazing what I got done, I am a much faster mopper when it is closer to noon than midnight. The point is, someday I can have a clean house, one that when I clean it it stays that way until I or Kelly mess it up. That day is not today. I read on fb a while ago something to the affect that cleaning with toddlers is the same as brushing your teeth while eating oreos. You get the point.
So, please apologize to your children in advance, I am almost certain that I am going to be one of those old lady's saying "enjoy." I only hope they'll know I say it because it is so hard to do.
Levi is waking up for the third time during this post, so I leave you with this...
"Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18