Moms are complainers. We can’t help it. We get together and we commiserate. This job is not for the faint hearted, you know. Between the crying and the fighting, the mess, the To-Do List, carpool, packing lunches, potty training, diaper
changes wrestling matches, grocery stores runs, we work hard!! I mean, really hard. And it helps to talk to others to find out we aren’t alone in our feelings of exhaustion and discouragement. On some days, it’s the only way we can survive without losing our minds! But I think we can all admit that sometimes when girls “gab”, the negativity can escalate. We tend to “one up each other” about how hard we have it or how “bad” our kids are. But I think it is time to take a different view of this stage of life we are in right now.
At our wedding, over 17 years ago, my sister toasted my husband and I with this Robert Browning quote: “Grow old along with me. The best is yet to be!” I have always loved that quote and have held on to it throughout the years, as we are no strangers to hardships. Sometimes I would remind myself that good things were coming, that it wouldn’t always be this way, that “the best is yet to be!” I even found this quote on a sign (and had to buy it, of course!) that showed me I wasn’t the only one needing reminders that there were better times ahead.
But the other day, as I was wading through the piles of clean laundry that have been overturned on our bedroom floor for weeks now in order to grab child #3 who was either crying or getting into mischief (probably both), it occurred to me: Maybe this is the best part of my life. Maybe this is the time that I will look back on when I am older with wistful nostalgia. Maybe these are the days that I will be longing for.
Because, let’s be real, these are the days where I think I may go crazy from all the whining and crying that is the constant soundtrack in our house. But these are also the days when child #2 still runs to me when he is sobbing and throws his body against me for comfort, even though I am the cause of his grief (like when I am the worst mom in entire universe because I turned off the TV).
Yes, these are the days that make me want to pull my hair out because it’s a regular occurrence for child #3 to follow me everywhere I go, just crying to be picked up. But these are also the days when I pick him up and the tears stop that I realize that I can comfort him in a way that no one else can. The love and comfort I give him, calms him and stops his crying. He loves me and wants me with all of his little being. That is pretty amazing. And I know that won’t last forever.
And although these are the days of unexplained health problems and sick boys in the bathroom, these days also have moments where child #1 and I get time alone, just the two of us and that’s a rare occurrence for an 11 year old with 2 younger brothers. We may not be talking much while we are sitting there waiting for the latest nausea to pass, but he may lean his head against me or let me stroke his hair. He turns to me when he doesn’t feel good because he believes I can help, that I am there for him, that I am his comforter. I am one lucky mama. I may not feel so lucky when I am cleaning up a near miss, but I get to be that person for him. For all of them, really.
I think that’s what makes the “good life”. Having people in your life that love you and need you like no other. Those types of relationships seem to be getting fewer and farther between as I get older, so I need to enjoy the moments with the ones I have. I know that child #1 soon won’t look to me for reassurance or the answer to a question when he is asked the unknown by a grown up. I know that cuddle sessions will soon be a thing of the past for child #2. And I know that soon, child #3 will soon be too big to hold in my arms and rock to sleep.
You hear a lot of people talk about how this stage of motherhood goes by so fast (“The days are long, but the years are short” is another one of my all-time favorite quotes), but you don’t hear about that this may be the best part of your life. You don’t hear that things may get harder- like real-life hard, not just exhausting mommyhood hard. You don’t hear that you may be longing for the ease of one of your worst days now. You don’t hear about the fact that these may be the best years of your life, if you could just step back a moment to see the good in it all.
So, here’s how I am going to work on taking note of the good in all that drives me crazy; not just the big stuff like the comfort and love that we give each other, but the little things too. Like that when I am changing the umpteenth dirty diaper, I get to tickle those chubby little baby thighs on child #3. Or when he wakes up in the middle of the night, it’s another opportunity for a quiet moment with the last little one in this house. Those are the things that make this the good life and show me that the best days are already here.
So the next time we get together with our mom friends (if we could be so lucky to see our friends in person that is!), AFTER we share the real struggles (cause we should never hide the real, people!), let’s take a moment to share the good. To share things that make this time in our life some of the best times. I will, if you will.