Friday, February 3, 2012

Don't Carpe...

"Last week, a woman approached me in the Target line and said the following: "Sugar, I hope you are enjoying this. I loved every single second of parenting my two girls. Every single moment. These days go by so fast."

At that particular moment, Amma had arranged one of the new bras I was buying on top of her sweater and was sucking a lollipop that she must have found on the ground. She also had three shop-lifted clip-on neon feathers stuck in her hair. She looked exactly like a contestant from Toddlers and Tiaras. I couldn't find Chase anywhere, and Tish was grabbing the pen on the credit card swiper thing WHILE the woman in front of me was trying to use it. And so I just looked at the woman, smiled and said, "Thank you. Yes. Me too. I am enjoying every single moment. Especially this one. Yes. Thank you."

-Glennen Melton


If you have read any of my posts on parenting, especially the one when the kid's flooded the house, then you probably know that when it comes to being a mom, I am a realist.  Which is to say that I love my children and the journey of parenthood, but I also acknowledge that while the joys are many, so are the sacrifices.  Or in my case, crazy moments... where I just can't take one more second of fighting over who gets to play Angry Birds on the Ipad, so both kids end up banished to their respective rooms, me standing in between them.... poised for battle, wooden spoon gripped in white knuckle bluff, yelling threats... That's right, I admit it.  I have my moments.  Moments where I can rationalize why 5:30 pm seems like a perfectly reasonable bedtime.

Just recently, I was musing over the interesting duplicity of yearning for the kids' increasing independence, and yet lamenting how fast they are growing.  I was thinking about putting these thoughts to paper when I stumbled upon an article that says everything I was thinking, only better.

It's by Glenn Melton and called "Don't Carpe Diem."  The premise, excerpted above, is tied around the all-too-familiar refrain of an older woman putting her hand on her heart and giving the admonition to relish every, every moment.... and why the author doesn't entirely agree with that premise.  Like yesterday when I found the contents of a bag of chocolate chip mini muffins Mia had wedged and speared between the cushions of our slip-covered couch.  Or better yet Aidan, my current seven year old, was a voracious biter in his toddler years.  I remember putting him down for a nap when he was 18 months old and he would bite the nape of my neck in protest.  Did you get that?  The nape of my neck!  You know, that soft delicate skin between your chin and collar bone.  He would bite it--hard!  Enjoy every, every moment?--I don't think so!

Melton compares mothering to any other job, and how no one, in her right mind, says she loves every moment or that this is even a reasonable expectation.  So, too, the job of being a mother is the same.  There are hard times, joyful times, funny times... that all coalesce in this grand adventure of parenthood.  Just yesterday the weather was a crisp and sunny 75 degrees.  Mia and I shared a snack at the park and then swung on the same swing together like a spider.  She was facing me and as we were arching through the warm air, when she put her head against my chest, squeezed me hard around the waist, and sighed, "Oh, Mommy, I love you."  And we keep swinging and soaring.  Or when Aidan, who is often more of a closed book, comes and tells me with a fire in his eyes about something wonderful he learned at school.  And we connect and I feel his passion.  Those moments are the moments to live for!  But it's okay to be honest about the journey....  or that sometimes, Glenn says: "my favorite part of each day is when the kids are put to bed and Craig and I sink into the couch  to watch some quality TV, like Celebrity Wife Swap, and congratulate each other on a job well done. Or a job done, at least"

If want some encouragement and a good belly laugh, you can read Glenn's article HERE.


Mande said...

Read that post too. So true to life, her posts. If I had a dollar for every comment like that I would be a wealthy woman. I want so badly to be that together mom in the checkout with the well behaved children, but I am not. Oh well, loving every minute of this insanity though. ;)

Thank you Jess for always keeping it real.

W. Wilson said...

Please, please, please make more women's shoes!!!! Love them!

Simone Howell said...

I read Glennen's post too and it was definatley one of the more memorable blog posts I have ever read! I was also struck by one gal who commented that she could not belive anyone would talk about their children like that and how she cannot imagine spending the day with her child and the best part of it being bedtime. This gal was preggers-- after many invetro treatments, she had just blissfully moved to a new house so that they would have enough room for her mom to permamently move in with them so they'll have help! ha ha ha! I had to laugh. Yeah, that's a reality for everyone!

They do grow more indepentent, but then different challenges come with that too! I was up until 11 last night talking to Olivia about why her best friend can be so mean to her sometimes! I WISH I could blog about it, but I know there are a lot of local moms who read my blog and don't want to air it. Parenting IS the hardest job in the world. It's not all peaches and cream, but those sweet moments make the not so sweet ones so worth it! Have always loved your parenting posts Jessica!


I read this last week - love that it used the term Kairos moment. Reminded me of huddle :)

Brianna Stafford said...

I had a similar experience the other day...

I was in a Sams Club Bathroom changing my 4 month old. He had succeeded in pooping out both legs and all the way up his back. And he was screaming!! A making himself choke kind of cough. I tried to peel off his clothes and and not get covered in poop. Which I did not succeed. A woman came in and started talking to me. And as I turned to try and redress him, stepping in poop she told me to remember every moment. And I wanted to scream shut and go away, or help me. So I agree, selective memory loss is helpful in parenting.

Anonymous said...

I read that post as well, and felt really heartened by it afterwards. I appreciate when mothers can be honest about their parenting journey. If we could all be honest that it's not ALL joyful, I think we would all feel better about ourselves and feel a lot less guilty. There is no ONE right way, and we're all just trying to figure it out!

mommyMary said...

There is not a single week that passes by in which I don't think about how wonderful it would be for my kids (all three under the age of five) to be able to bathe themselves, or pick up the toys, or get along with one another for a few hours without me having to raise my voice and wanting to rip my hair out in the process... nope not a single week that passes that I don't wish they were older and a little more independent. BUT at the same time there is not one week that passes by where I don't take a few moments to rub my cheeks against their soft baby skin and sniff the back of their heads and marvel at the wonder of how they came to be and how I came to be their mommy... nope not a single week that passes by that I don't marvel at their wonderful existence. Yes, parenthood is hard, but its because of the difficult times that we are able to appreciate the Kairos moments much more.

Anonymous said...

The days are long, but the years are short... pick up those Lego pieces and Barbie shoes that you constantly step on and put them in your change purse, because someday they won't be on the floor anymore and you'll wish they were. (Advise I received some time ago and have never forgotten)

K8 said...

I love your realness. And your talent. And your story, the story of your life. I stumbled upon your blog a year or so ago (back when your Joyfolie posts on Facebook went viral, I believe). anyway, I've been cheering you on from a distance & figured it's finally time to say "hi!" :) You are the real deal. I can't wait until I have kids so I can dress them in your wears!

Fee said...

The nape of your neck is the back of your neck, where the bottom of the hairline ends, not the front.

I had one quiet gentle son, and then a complete tornado of a son, for whom I apologised dozens of times. I love my children but I like them too. It doesn't make me blind to their faults, but it does mean that I can say I enjoyed every minute of their childhoods, despite difficult circumstances. I adored being their mother, and the time flies soo quickly.

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