“The Days are Long But the Years are Short.” Yes, but motherhood is still hard.I started a series of motherhood essays last year called My [raw] Motherhood Essays. However, in an attempt to keep them easy to identify, I am giving this one a name. Today I share with you the third installment: Long Days and Short Years.
It happened pretty quickly stepping into my entry level of motherhood. I read or was told, “These are the days” or “Enjoy it right now while they’re young” or “Oh, it feels like yesterday.” Parents reminiscent of the years that felts like only days earlier to them. Their best intentions of sharing their hearts became the best intentions of my mama heart.
Enjoying these moments and years no matter how long the days….because the years are short.
So when you enter my home and the living room is rearranged, half the contents of the playroom are displayed on my kitchen floor, my toddler is covered in jelly from breakfast number three and my eight month old baby is eating half of a dead stink bug (this really just happened last week), know that while I accept with a grateful spirit your words and genuinely love hearing them, this time is really, really hard sometimes too.
I know your words are true. Trust me I do. But this time of my life is still hard. I catch myself counting down the hours to nap time and then until my husband is home. I find myself scrolling through a list of friends and whether they are available this week to spend time with to make the mornings go by a little faster. I’ve found myself yelling at my son because my patience is waning (or well, it’s probably gone at that point–let’s face it) and trying to wear my kids out so they’ll sleep longer during nap time.
But I also catch myself trying really hard to sit down and play with my kids. To laugh and smile and watch when my son calls out “Watch this!” and does some strange movement he deems amazing and wonderful. I try to wake up ahead of my kids (occasionally because people keep changing my clocks every spring and fall) and read my Bible and pray for patience to enjoy my day with them. I try to come up with fun activities and be okay with a mess on my floor. You know I try to make the snuggles last as long as possible because I know….I know one day my son will be bigger than me and I just might not be cool enough for my daughter for a couple of those teenage years.
So while I’m in this stage of messy motherhood, you can remind me that these are the magical years. I may also remind you in turn though that these are challenging days too.
However, I think we can both agree that we wouldn’t trade the years we are in for anything else. Because each year and stage has something new and glorious and frustrating in it. The emotions of motherhood are always there but displayed differently. As I cry at the thought of my son entering Kindergarten, you cry as your daughter walks down the aisle. As I wish for sleep, you hope for a phone call and while I nurse my baby for the fourth time today, you share laughs over dinner with adult children.
I want to look forward to the future too. So tell me the good things that are coming my way and I’ll share with you the funny tales my toddler told me. And we can each remind one other of the hope of the future and the beautiful mess from memories of the past.