You know how it goes. You're in the midst of a toddler tantrum, or your newborn's witching hour, or your preschooler is exercising their independence and someone, very well intentioned I might add, tells you to enjoy it, it goes so fast, they're only little once, you'll miss this some day. You get the picture. And then you sit feeling kind of guilty that not only were you not enjoying it, but you're not about to start to because you need nap time/bed time/your husband to come home from work and relieve you from the chaos. Double guilt. The best kind.
I get stressed out by my child a lot more easily than I ever would have thought I would. It actually kind of surprises me. I don't know if it's because I want her to be happy, or everyone around us to not be annoyed, or if I'm kind of lazy... I think it's a combination of all 3. Parenting has, and continues, to show me where I need to improve, change, and grow. It has shown me how much strength I have, how to ask for help, and a love I never knew, but I see every single day ways that I need to work on myself. My child is not a problem. She's a child. A toddler. I am the problem. My sometimes-higher-than-her-developmental-age expectations are the problem. My letting society in my head that children are a nuisance or shouldn't be heard is the problem. My lack of taking 10 seconds to breath and press the restart button is the problem. So, honestly, I don't see myself enjoying the tough moments any time soon. But I don't feel like I have to enjoy them for them to bear good fruit. Those are the moments that will help me guide my daughter, that will teach me who I am and who I want to be, that will lead me to look into how I get there, and that will hopefully shave a bit of time off of purgatory ;).
But what I am working really hard on is enjoying all those other moments. I feel like I let all the in between moments go by unnoticed. The hard moments are noted very strongly. I note them to Steven as soon as he gets home from work (I'm working on that!). I note them in my head when I'm frustrated and not being the least bit productive. The good moments are noted strongly, too. Yesterday, after Felicity's nap, the weather was so nice (instead of just blaringly hot like it has been). I took her outside and she sat on my lap in the chair on the front porch and we chatted as we shared cheddar crackers and a cup of ice water. We sat that way for probably 15 minutes, my girl and me, just enjoying each other's company and a good snack. I thought to myself "this is what my dreams of having a baby are made of!". Once or twice a day, she will run up to me and hug my legs tight and during diaper changes she grabs my arm to her face for a hug. As I put her down for a nap today, she cuddled my arm up to her face and fell asleep that way. The good moments are so incredibly sweet and I savor them to the fullest, documenting as much as I can with pictures since it does go so fast.
But the in between moments, the many moments a day that aren't earth shatteringly cute or awful and trying, those are the ones I need to cultivate and pay attention to.Those are the moments that life is really made of because, in my experience, there are more of those than the good or bad. I need to work harder on finding joy in the slightly mundane, the repetition, in the normalcy. Instead of just letting those moments tick away, I need to embrace those more, notice them, feel them, and live them. I need to put the phone down and observe more. I need to sit on the floor and interact more. I need to slow down and take it all in because it really will be over much too soon. So that's what I'm working on now...surviving the tough stuff, thriving in the good stuff, and appreciating, even reveling in, all those moments in between, without any guilt for, only reflection upon, the moments that may pass me by.