These are the long days of our lives raising kids….and we aren’t getting any younger.
It is no secret that raising a child is one of the most challenging jobs in the world. Like many parents, I have experienced self-doubt, frustration, fear, and those long days I felt may never end. But, I also know that deep guttural love you have for your child and the lengths and obstacles you will plow through to keep them safe, happy, and healthy- even when every limit you thought you had has been pushed further.
There are days as a stay-at-home Mom that I find myself spinning in circles, literally.
I cannot tell you how many times I think my three-year-old is settled to play on his own for a bit, and just as I sneak away to accomplish something from my to-do list, I am interrupted by one of my teenage daughters, virtually schooling from home, looking for a meal on demand and a caffeine boost. My sidetracked brain is continually struggling to meet a deadline or stay focused on the task at hand some days. I am in a perpetual pattern of making food, cleaning up dishes, forgetting to switch the laundry to the dryer, singing Abc’s and building rocket ships, all while scrubbing out the carpet where the dog got sick and scratching my name on a permission slip. I know I am not alone. This is the life of a parent.
The long days run together when the routine and the grind of work and school settle in, but I realized one day it was true what they say…these are the days of our lives. There is no dress rehearsal for life, and we’ll never be younger than we are today.
Showing up tired in my pajamas or dressed and showered with makeup on is still showing up. It doesn’t matter if I am not the best crafter or seamstress or sandwich maker. I am present. My kids see a Mom who may not have the latest dance moves nailed yet or the trendiest clothing, but I am a Mom who will always look them in the eye and listen. I am a Mom who is okay with my kids watching me make a fool of myself figuring out a workout video, see me cry when I am frustrated, or listening to me belt out songs from my favorite musical in the car while I wait in the pickup line. I want to be a Mom who shows my kids that I am living my life and growing.
My husband and I have never been shy about showing one another affection in the presence of our kids. From the occasional smooch to dancing in the kitchen, we have always wanted our kids to see us showing love, laughing, and being ourselves with one another. We hope that they can see that just because we are parents does not mean we stopped dating one another, and you should never stop making new memories together.
I will look back fondly on the sleepless nights and the cozy snuggles of the younger years. Whether we had a bath that day or not, the scent of my children’s little heads will always be my favorite. I will look at the marks on the table from late-night school projects that made me pull my hair out helping with, and remember the alone time spent with my child. The glitter that stuck to me for days, the hurried drive to pretty much everywhere-these will be things that annoyed me then, but they are are part of the colorful story of us.
In a not so distant future, my kids will be busy grown-ups. My house will be clean, and my calendar will suddenly be less crowded. My husband and I will tackle that list of things we want to do now, but can’t. I hope we will look back in those memory books and photos and say we lived it well. We danced, we sang, we laughed, we cried, and we sometimes disagreed-but we LOVED. Sometimes life is messy and hard and relentless, and most times, it is fun, adventurous, and silly. Even when a year like 2020 arrives and throws you a pandemic and a ball of unwanted chaos, uncertainty, and unpredictable turns, it is important to remember we have to find the fun. These are the days of our lives…so we must live them as best we can.