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Friday, January 20, 2012

Seize the day or something like that.

Yesterday, I noticed that a couple of people had shared an article on Facebook entitled "Don't Carpe Diem."  In the article, the author discusses how people often come up to her in public, usually at the grocery store, when she's in line with her three young children and tell her that she should be enjoying every moment of her children's childhoods because they will be gone before she knows it.  But, she doesn't enjoy every moment, and consequently feels guilty for it.

Well, first, the people who say they enjoyed every single moment of parenting are full of shit.  It does go by fast, and there are a lot of things I miss about when Gavin was younger, but to say I've enjoyed every single moment would be a big, fat lie.  Sure, I miss holding my tiny son in the wee hours of the morning and snuggling him without protest, but I don't miss not sleeping. 

I don't miss being so tired that I wanted to strangle the breath out of my dog for barking while my infant child was napping. 

I also don't miss having spit up in my hair or running down my back. 

And, while we're at it, I sure don't miss cleaning up disgustingly messy diapers in the dark after just two hours of consecutive shut-eye.

I'm not ashamed, nor do I feel the least bit guilty for admitting those things.

But, I must say that I think the comment of "enjoy every single moment," is taken a little too seriously. I think the advice people are trying to give is to enjoy most of the moments, or enjoy more of them than the ones you don't enjoy.  Maybe, what they're trying to say is that, at the end of the day, you should spend your time reflecting on the good moments rather than dwelling on the bad ones.

Or, maybe you can't enjoy the moment at the exact time you're in it, but maybe you can later embrace it with humor and nostalgia.  I sure wasn't happy the day Gavin decided to take a shit in the deck box, but I can look back now and laugh.  I was pissed the day he put large scratches in my kitchen table with a wooden hammer, but now I look at them with fondness. 

Maybe what  they're saying is that when you're tired and cranky and stressed and feel like you can't take anymore, you stop.  You stop and you take a deep breath and you say, "Hey, I'm tired and I really want to sleep.  But, it doesn't look like that's going to happen tonight.  So, instead of being grouchy and angry, I'm going to try my best to make the most of this time I have to spend with my child and know that one day I will get to sleep again." 

And, if you take a deep breath and try to embrace the moment, but find that you're still cranky and tired, at least you tried.

So, maybe the focus of this advice got a little lost.  Maybe, instead of feeling guilty for not enjoying being peed and puked on, we try to enjoy more moments than we don't.  Perhaps, we remind ourselves that parenting is the hardest job there is, and we try to do our best.  And, just maybe, we do stop to take a breath, look around, and capture the moment that we're in - good or bad.

1 comment:

  1. I also read this article...sort of. It was filled with grammatical and mechanical errors, and all I could think while reading is, "How can she get a writing gig with Huffington Post, and I can't?" Still, I get the subject of her message, and I think people who say to love every second look back on their child-rearing days with nostalgia, wishing they could relive the wonderful times they had. It doesn't bother me one bit that people say that, nor does it bother me that I don't enjoy every moment, particularly the ones you describe above.