If I had my child to raise all over again I'd build self-esteem first and a house later. I'd finger paint more and point the finger less. I would do less correcting and more connecting. I'd take my eyes off my watch and watch with my eyes. I'd take more hikes and fly more kites. I'd stop playing serious and seriously play. I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars. I'd do more hugging and less tugging. Diane Loomans
This was posted on a friend's facebook status yesterday. And I have to admit, my first thought was, "Yeah, right." I find that quite often this advice from those who have passed through the young years of motherhood frustrates rather than encourages me. Here's why. Here in the midst of the trenches...the days and hours feel LONG despite being told a THOUSAND times by well meaning women that, "it flies by." I mean, I KNOW how quickly it is passing in reality. My baby is a teenager and I swear it feels like a blink. But back in the day when he was my only baby and I was walking the floor with him and crying because neither he nor I were getting any sleep, I did not need the, "Enjoy this, it flies by" speech. I needed the, "Can I come help you today?" speech. And when I read the poem above I find myself cynically saying I KNOW I should spend more time enjoying life but WHO will do the laundry, or school the kids, or clean the messes, or give baths, or run errands, or pay the bills...do I need to go on? I mean, I need to stop and smell the roses but the stench coming from the bathroom seems to pervade my senses instead!
I guess what I am saying falls into two categories. ONE: I DO need to heed this advice. I gave it some real thinking yesterday. Even though it chokes me to hear it now...I know that one day the house will be quiet and will stay clean. Some day I will go back to doing laundry once or twice a week. Some day there will be no handprints on the door and no toys scattered everywhere. And I WILL say, "I miss it, where did the days go?" Maybe that is what makes me the craziest. I know they are RIGHT! I will miss it. I will long to have little arms squeeze my neck. Or a little four year old who walks through the room on his way to somewhere else and says, "I love you mom" for no reason other than he does! I don't think I will miss the messes. I gotta be honest. I know the messes represent people and life...but I think I will miss the people...not the messes. And with so many children...I expect to have MANY messes from little grandchildren. SO after contemplating it at length yesterday I realized it would take a concerted effort for me to put down my work and enjoy life more. I would need to pass by a mess and a pile of laundry and say..."Not today...today I am playing with my kids." You see, I am a worker. I enjoy a clean home. I NEED order. But, I need to enjoy my life. I need to laugh. I need to stay in my jammies all day. I need to run outside and play on the trampoline. I need to pack a picnic and take my kids out of here. Order is over rated and a tool satan uses to keep me miserable. SO, let me heed the advice.
But secondly, when I get this type of knowing advice from a seasoned mom what I really want to say is this...HELP ME! Don't tell me how I will miss it. Remember with me how hard it is. Remember with me how trying the days are. And though you may know more than me and maybe you are right...it really doesn't minister much to me when I am in the trenches. I am hoping that when I have daughters in laws someday that I can say to them, "How can I help?" so that I can ease their days. Some day they WILL miss it but on that day...they just need a break.
But for today....with a house FULL of children and messes...I am going to PLAY! And LAUGH! And find my joy again! Because, some day...I will wish I did! And I do not like regret!