The mere utterance of the words “I will not forget” is so fate-tempting and fool-hardy to be absurd, but I’ll say it anyway:
I will not forget what it is like to be the parent of a little one.
I will not forget how the tiredness of those early months makes you say crazy things and act like a version of yourself that the old you would be both awed and horrified to meet.
I will not forget how even after they start sleeping through the night, the bleary-eyed exhaustion seems to barely fade. The rigors of the waking hours pick up as you try to stop them from bashing every bit of themselves against a hard surface.
I will not forget how things like germs, improper neck support and nutrition (or imagined lack thereof) cause persistent anxiety and are therefore very serious matters.
I will not forget how badly you just want everyone to SHUT UP for a minute so you can hear yourself think. But how the sound of silence fills you with instant dread, as you wonder what your little one is doing if not raising holy hell.
Too many parents these days seem to have forgotten how obliterating these early years are. They laugh at our attempts to shelter our children and care for them the best way we know how.
“We never had any of this …” “I never worried about that …” “They’re too young for that to matter …”
People used to smoke on airplanes. Things change.
I’m tired of having to defend my parenting, or rather, the way my parenting causes me to act.
Yes, I’m tired because I’m always moving, engaging with my child and tending to their many needs.
Yes, I’m stressed out because infants are relentless and toddlers are infuriating.
Yes, I’m happier, more fulfilled and more centered than I’ve ever been in my life. I love trying to be a good mom and make a difference in two peoples’ worlds, if no one else.
I’m glad that your kids are older and you are far from the sort of mind- and body-numbing blur that is caring for little ones. I look forward to having a drink with you someday when I get there.
But for now, I’m in the thick of it.
And years from now, when I see the next generation rubbing their temples and sighing, I’ll tell them they’re doing a great job, that their kids are amazing and that I miss those days.
I won’t ask them why they seem tense, why they look so tired or why we have to keep it down after 8 p.m.
It’s a tough job parenting little ones, and parents deserve all the slack they can get.