I’d like to think that every new mom has heard the term “you’re going to miss this” or something along those lines. I’d also like to think that every new mom, or struggling parent has rolled her eyes so hard that they almost got stuck when they heard this well meaning adage. Generally this nugget is tossed around when the new parent looks and feels like they are at the end of their rope.
I’m not sure why people feel the need to throw out this trope when it looks like you’re ready to run screaming from your child filled cart in Target. That hardly seems like a fair or opportune time to say something that might have a grain of truth to it, but in reality, you aren’t going to miss this part.
You aren’t going to miss fall down tantrums in the middle of a grocery store when you only ran in for one last ingredient for dinner. You aren’t going to miss having to pack your entire house into a duffel bag printed with pastel baby animals, just so you can go to church. You certainly will not miss when your potty training two year old pees all over your groceries in the shopping cart as horrified onlookers watch the liquid shower your sandal clad feet, and the floor.
No, you won’t miss those days. I say this from experience. I have children who are old enough to not scream for me to wipe their butts after they go to the bathroom. They don’t crowd around the bathroom door jamming their chubby fingers through the bottom, looking like some sort of alien appendage attracted to the light. My youngest big kid is 11, and I don’t miss any of the hard times.
The things you miss are the sweet moments. You miss rocking them after a bath and smelling the baby shampoo in their still damp hair. You’ll miss the dimples in their knuckles and elbows that once adorned their toddler arms. You miss the quiet breath they breathed into the crook of your neck after they drifted off to sleep while you held them. You’ll miss the tininess of their voice when they first learned to speak.
You’ll miss a lot of things. How they used to try their best to throw a ball, but it would always wind up behind them. That first year in soccer where all the kids looked like a heard of cats running in different directions while the goalie picked dandelions. The first day of kindergarten when they hugged you so tight you thought you would breakdown in tears before you could get out of the classroom.
There are so many sweet, and absolutely breathtaking things that you will miss from when they are little, but screeching like a velociraptor when you told them no to pulling the cats tail is not one of them. We parents have so much to we worry about on a daily basis, we shouldn’t also be worried about cherishing every waking moment with our children. Parenthood sucks sometimes, and just because we say that out loud, or it shows on our faces during the tough times doesn’t mean that we love our children any less.
You don’t have to love every moment with your child to be a good parent. You don’t even have to like every moment to be a good parent. You just have to show up and do your best, and the days when you can’t muster your best, you do your best to keep them alive.
The next time someone feels brave enough to utter the words “you’re going to miss this” when you’re in the throes of the hard part of parenting, it’s totally acceptable to call them names in your head. They are perpetuating a lie and feeding the parent guilt monster that lives in all of our heads. Don’t let them. They don’t miss the hard parts, and neither will you.