I’ve been up for the past 6 hours, well ‘officially’ up. I spent the night rocking two sick toddlers hoping they wouldn’t wake the third. This isn’t news to anyone with toddlers. Sleep is elusive as Curious George’s tail (thanks Rae, I’ll never consider him a monkey again!)
My morning has been spent making snacks on repeat, cuddling, sweeping and forgetting to press send on my text messages. I told my bestie ‘it’s a lot of Advil, Jesus and Netflix today’. These are the days I’d love to leave the house and get everyone out and about, but we can’t bring our germs on tour with us.
Even without the sickness running through the family, these days usually feel limited and exhausting. A result of the bizarre mundane chaos that happens in winter being at home with three toddlers. But there have been a few things I’ve heard here and there that are making these days bearable, almost easier.
I have some wonderful momfriends with young kids too. Like me, they are ‘rookies’ in the parenting game. We do life alongside each other and all of their support, presence, and messy floors make me feel normal and supported.
But then, there are the moms with grown kids. They have been there, and they don’t often give unsolicited advice, but they do have so much to offer moms with young kids.
There is something I need to hear the most from women who have been there. Simply dropping a couple of these lines in our conversation feels like a flood of warm balm over my chaffing heart. These are the truths that I’m a looking to catch as I wander around with my arms wide open desperate for a veteran to give me that nod of solidarity.
THIS is what moms of toddlers NEED to hear from moms who have been there
. . . . These are the hard days.
I have heard this a handful of times from moms with grown kids. It has been a game changer for me.
The first five-plus years of my journey in motherhood have been spent battling sleep deprivation, martyrdom, toddler tantrums, and eating protein bars.
There has never been a time in my life I have been so chronically physically exhausted. I’ve fluctuated in and out of anxiety as I’ve wrestled myself in motherhood. I’ve groaned and grown in marriage as we had to work through resentments, new responsibilities, and old issues. I have thrown my hands up in the air and cried hot salty tears of frustration before the clock even ticked noon. Simply because I’ve spent the past hours trying to coach three toddlers through ALL the emotions and got lost in the process.
Then another mom looks at me and my three toddlers and smiles, ‘you’ve got your hands full, dear’.
Well, a lot of things are ‘full’ around here. If they echo any sentiment like ‘I remember those days, they are hard but cherish them, they go so fast’ I want to nestle into their bosom for a hug that says ‘you see me’.
Usually, I don’t want advice from randos in the chip aisle, but this is the only thing I need to hear: These ARE hard days.
HARD! These days are HARD, and sometimes I forget this is the uncomplicated truth. If I forget then I fight against it and try to make it something it is not: easy.
Sometimes these moms with grown kids say nonsense like ‘the more the merrier’ or ‘these days are the best’ and I’m positive they have momnesia and forgot how not-the-best it is to have three toddlers who can’t buckle their own belts or keep their pants on in public.
Moms with grown kids have so much to offer us, and when they can give us a fresh pair of eyes, that aren’t stinging with lack of sleep and potty training horrors, we need to trust them when they say, these are the hard days and they do go fast so let’s find ways to cherish them (or, at least, take enough pictures and videos to feel like we did).
Love Shawna, Your nerdy girlfriend who is with you in these longest shortest days of motherhood