The years are short.
Enjoy them while they are still little.
They are only little once.
It gets easier.
Sentiments expressed in the sentences above are simmered into the brains of new parents, particularly the primary caregiving parent since the time people find out about the pregnancy. It becomes an anthem of sorts, buying into which makes you cherish and appreciate motherhood more and not buying into which makes you your own evil twin, a black mark on everything for which ‘mother’ and ‘motherhood’ is supposed to stand.
(This is a long post. Pour yourself a glass of wine or chai, take a deep breath, and read on)
More simply stated, when you have bad mothering moments or days or weeks, sentences like the above make you feel like the worst person in the world. They make you feel guilty for not appreciating and enjoying your kids enough or they make you guilty for not doing enough to preserve and protect those memories for as long as possible.
I feel ambivalent. I don’t need to defend myself or provide a disclaimer before I go into this post but I will. The love I have for my kids is unquestionable and undeniable. I love those two munchkids to bits and someone only has to so much as look at them the wrong way before this lioness mama lets her growl out. I will also admit that despite this rant of a post, I really want to savor my time with my littles, hold them, hug them, kiss them, tickle them, forever and ever, enjoy their sweet smells and baby breaths (still, yes!), their soft bodies and their tender touches, their unconditional love and their unbridled laughter, their zero egos and their forgiving hugs, their innocent questions and their many, many aww..moments with each other and with us parents, individually, and as a family.
Again, I love my kids. Very, very much and despite all that you will read below, I CANNOT imagine life differently…I mean, I can of course imagine it differently, but that is usually when I am blinded by heavy eyelids from lack of sleep or worried about growing bald from pulling my own hair out in frustration over the day’s fourth tantrum and it is only 10:00 a.m.
Most days, we are like this and I Love it!!
And some days are like this…when I am so exhausted that everything is on auto-mom mode.
Again, I do love my kids.
Now that I have got that out of the way, let me begin.
If you have never felt like I write below, you have my deepest respect. If you can honestly admit to feeling like I write below at least a few times a month if not a day, join the club.
There are days when I feel that if even one more person tells me to enjoy them while they are little or that they grow up too fast, I could smack their faces. I may discover a new kind of a violent streak I never knew existed. Do you think I don’t know that!? Why does anybody tell any mother that? I guess we do need reminders every now and then but trust me, we know and if you choose a particularly difficult time like when our kid is throwing a massive tantrum in public to tell us to “enjoy it”, it better not be ME you are telling that to!
Believe it or not, I get it. I have read enough number of mushy mom stories, poems, parenting articles, and blog posts, to know that no matter how I feel, I am supposed to enjoy and appreciate every single moment I spend with my kids and 99% of the time, I do. I really, really do. Even moments like the one below where my kids are destroying my neatly folded laundry…
It is the remaining 1% when I ask my husband aloud why we ever wanted to become parents – why we couldn’t have just enjoyed our DINK lives and travelled the world, vacationing wherever and whenever we wanted, slept in all morning on weekends and dragged ourselves out of bed at 11:00 a.m. just because we were hungry, spending our weekends unfettered by nap times and quiet times, appreciated our dinners in peace, completed an entire conversation – scratch that, even ONE sentence without being interrupted and having had to repeat it so many times that one has lost interest in listening and the other in repeating, reading or watching whatever WE wanted and as loud as we wanted to….
So to get to the point – Kids grow up. Let them. For all the knowledge and ahem..wisdom I have from how I miss TJ’s chubby baby face or hide a tear as I put away Teju’s baby clothes, clothes that no one will ever wear again, I can’t wait for them to be just a little bit older.
So, here are:
4 Reasons Why I Want My Kids to Grow Up Faster
Ah…quiet and peaceful mornings. Kids will be asleep, perhaps sleeping in on weekends. Aaron and I could wake up lazily at 7:00 a.m. because even that is a luxury and turn our bedroom television on and watch whatever…kids don’t care to watch what we want and we finally don’t have to watch what they do. If they are up, they can go on downstairs and make themselves some breakfast and while they are at it, how about getting something ready for mom and dad too. Except, my Indian mom guilt is at high-stakes anxiety levels here.
Heck, I feel guilty if I have to give my kid cereal because that’s not what Indian moms feed their kids…at least in my corner of India. Society or not, I – ME, I want to make my kids breakfast…Aaron can too, point is, I want them to have a nice, warm breakfast everyday…none of this cereal stuff…ideally, I would be feeding them dosas, idlis, different kids of shevai or upma, or pohe, or paratha or whatever else I grew up eating but I am not my grandmother nor my mom..so my version is basically, ANYTHING but plain ol’ boring cereal because that’s just lazy parenting. (No offense to cereal feeders – this is my problem, not yours)
2. Restrooms & Other Hygiene:
I won’t have to remind them to wash their hands or use the toilet because, guess what, they are older, they know they need to do this because they just do and their bodies cooperate too. I don’t have to stay inside the toilet room and read to my kid as he uses the toilet and I don’t have to go hands-down-in to do anything I don’t have to. I don’t have to wipe up the mess around the toilet bowl and I don’t have to scold him for not not washing his hands well enough.
I don’t have to bribe, plot, distract, or force four little hands to have their nails cut because they do it themselves.
I would be finally done with diapers and can perhaps use the money we save on them for a vacation that I might as well just go alone if I need to because I can and without feeling guilty about leaving Aaron with two dependent kids because they won’t be dependent and will pretty much be able to take care of themselves without me around.
I won’t need to run after a toddler who is very adamant about what clothes he will and won’t wear and drives me insane whenever I have to logically explain to him why he can’t wear his Lightening McQueen sweatshirt in 80 degrees weather or wear his Firefighter rain boots in that same weather. I won’t have to force clean up someone’s nostrils to get all the booger crusties cleared. I won’t have to yell at anybody to not put their finger in their noses and I won’t need to clean throw ups and spit ups.
Hallelujah! I could finally get rid of the annoying heap of plastic (BPA free of course!) and a few melamine cups, spoons, knives, forks, plates, bowls, bottles, straws, and what not. I hate these things with a vengeance. They take up precious cabinet space and can never stand still. If one so much as shakes, the entire stack of bowls or cups has to fall over…arrgh! Plus, I can’t microwave them so it’s one more thing I need to do before I can give milk to the little one. Heat the darn milk in a microwave-safe cup then transfer it into a sippy cup! I am so spoiled now, that if I don’t wash dishes or a moronic sippy cup another day of my life, I will actually be adding years to my life and happiness.
Oh, and why warm milk? Why not shove cold milk in a bottle and hand it to the little one? Indian socialization. Cultural indoctrination. By any name…it has been ingrained in my brains not to give kids cold milk (although that only applies to Teju now) for fear that they might catch a cold….from drinking cold milk!! Say what you will. Think what you must. It is hard to fight years of socialization….and so I will warm the milk up until she gets to an age where I can let go off that fear.
Oh and don’t let me forget to tell you about the mess – can’t wait for the kids to grow up so they can just find their own mouths and feed themselves already! I have one so distracted that he could care less about eating and drinking. Making him do either of these things is a daily fight unless of course, the food in question is cake or a cookie or a brownie or a muffin or ice-cream or anything to do with chocolate and the drink in question is..okay, this one is okay..he actually doesn’t have a favorite drink (except chocolate milk which he almost never gets) and we haven’t yet given him juice. So the messes continue…for both kids – all over their faces, bibs, his placemat, her tray, both their high chair and booster seats, and ALL OVER the FLOOR because one spits out food and watches where it falls AND gets a kick out of it while the other simply throws things because he is upset or because the baby does it and gets attention for it.
I am so sick of everyday food and feeding struggles, really and honestly am! I want the kids to grow up so we can have more reasonable dinners (read: quiet and peaceful) where we are all sitting around our table happily eating whatever food it is that Aaron or I have cooked, chatting about our days, about the food, pulling each other’s legs, or laughing or doing just about anything except yelling and getting yelled at about eating or spitting or making messes.
4. Going anywhere:
It is a frikin’ production to get out anywhere and on time. Did one use the toilet before we leave? Did we remember to change the other’s diaper? Did we pack snacks, water bottles, a milk bottle, wipes – depending on what is going on – nose wipes/boogie wipes/hand-face wipes/anti-acterial wipes? We have extra sets of clothes in a diaper bag which is always in the car but do I also need to carry extra diapers and another change of clothes to keep in my handbag just in case we are far from the car when they are needed? What is the weather like? Should I get a thick jacket or a thin layer for the kids? Do I have sunscreen packed in the trunk, one for the kids, one for me? Oh gosh..what stroller do I have in there? Darn…it is the jogging stroller there today..need to get that out because all that Costco stuff isn’t going to fit back with that stroller in there!
At least since Teju has been able to walk, I can leave her on the floor while I get TJ ready but I have to help him wear his socks. Shoes, he knows how to and has in the past put them on himself – but lately, it is all, “Mommy, can you put my shoes on for me, please?” and said in a whiney tone…arrgh! Yes, honey, I’d love to because one day you are going to grow up and not want me to put your shoes on for you anymore…really…can you please fast forward to that period already as far as wearing your own shoes is concerned? Meanwhile, I am trying to put crazy stretchy shoes on Teju and then scoop her up and put her in her carseat where she has to patiently (and sometimes, grumpily) wait for me to get TJ ready, nag him to go use the toilet before we go or else pretend to walk out the garage door a couple times (like today).
I want the kids to grow up so they can put their own socks, own shoes, go pee on their own, take themselves to the car, seat themselves in their car seat or seat and strap themselves in. I don’t want to have to carry snacks and three water bottles or half a dozen different kinds of wipes. I want peaceful mornings and mealtimes. Is that too much to ask or is it just too much to ask too soon?
To tell you the truth though…I really only feel like I want them to grow up faster when I have the extremes of the situations I describe above. All other times, I want them to stay my little kiddos for as long as they possibly can so I can cherish their every breath, their every smile, laughter, and joy with them.