I remember it like it was yesterday. But really it was this morning. I think. It’s hard telling. When you’re the parent of small children, roughly one thousand things happen between now and 30 minutes ago. Most of them involving bodily fluids. So, time is fluid, to say the least. (Shut up, I’m writing this on two hours sleep).
Awful puns aside, the other day I was playing with my kids at the park when a pair of elderly ladies passed by us. While I was innocently watching my children put things in their mouth that did NOT belong, these ladies oh-so-rudely interrupted our private stick-gnawin’ good time with the unsolicited demand that I “enjoy this, it goes by so fast.” To which I replied “UGH, I’M TRYING!” but the women were already gone because I was too busy pulling the aforementioned sticks out of both kids’ mouths before I could respond. I would have been irritated by the whole thing too, except I then had to immediately teach my toddler to “discreetly” go potty behind a tree and wrassle a squirrel away from the baby (who, despite my best efforts, has turned completely feral).
Is there any phrase we busy moms hate to hear more than “enjoy it, it goes by so fast”? Yes. “Uh-oh, Mommy, I pooped my pants” is pretty high up there. But the former is in at least the Top Five.
If there is a refrain to the melody that is modern parenting, that’s it. Enjoy it! It goes by so fast! *intense pots and pans drum solo* Repeat 1,000 times. Win a Grammy. (Grammy, in this case, means a grandmother, who you call crying hysterically, demanding they come visit immediately if they want to continue having grandchildren).
I don’t know if it has always been this way, since technically I only became a mom three years ago when a gigantic red-headed Viking baby exited my body, but there does seem to be immense pressure put on parents today to enjoy every single little moment. We are told this by strangers we pass on the street, by our own parents, by friends whose children are now awful, moody teenagers. I was even told to “enjoy it, it goes by so fast” by another mom whose daughter was only 6 months older than my toddler.
So, let me put this in no uncertain terms. I do enjoy spending time with my children. I enjoy the crap out of it.
NOW GET OFF MY BACK.
I put my phone down when they are playing at the playground, lest I miss one glorious minute of them going down the slide and/or eating old cigarettes butts from the ground.
On the flip side, if they even DARE touch my phone to play some annoying game while I am busy staring deep into their beautiful eyes, I throw the phone out the window. What’s the cost of a new phone compared to the possibility I might miss one of their adorable blinks?
I hold them. All the time. At this point, my body is like one of those foam memory mattresses, molded to the exact shape of my kids’ bony-ass bodies.
I once thought about getting a babysitter to go get a haircut and maybe a glass of wine but decided against it at the last minute. What if while I was gone I missed a major milestone? Like my baby saying her 17th word or my toddler discovering that all breakfast foods are not, in fact, icky? I may have stringy witch hair that hangs to my waist and look like an Amish cautionary tale, but I WAS THERE THE DAY MY SON ATE HIS FIRST POPTART, DAMMIT.
And while, and please don’t judge me, I let them watch (gasp) TV, I make sure to record them watching these shows, which I will rewatch while lying in bed instead of going to sleep because EVERY BREATH THEY TAKE IS PRECIOUS.
Ok? Ok? OK!?! IT ALL GOES BY SO FAST. I AM WELL AWARE OF THIS. And even me reassuring you that I am doing my best not to miss a single moment is making me miss a moment. A moment I will never get back! I haven’t even peed since they’ve been born! Too much time away from them! And yet, there you are, making me miss precious seconds with them so I can let you know I don’t want to miss a single second with them!
So, no need to remind me that it’s more important to play with them on the floor than to clean the floor. My floor is super gross. So is my kitchen. So is my entire house. Not an episode of “Hoarders” gross but it definitely is “my kids have wicked strong immune systems” gross.
And now all I want is to sit back and relax and enjoy the fact that I’m enjoying everything. Which I will do. As soon as I finish negotiating with my son how many chicken nuggets lawfully equal a popsicle for dessert and pull my baby out from under the couch where she is currently hiding with the squirrel she stole from the park.