Okay, I confess: I always used to say to new moms, "Enjoy every minute...the time flies by so quickly and they are grown before we know it!" It sounded like great advice to me at the time. My purpose was to wish those new moms well and let them know that in the big picture, our children are with us for only a short while before they are off, making lives for themselves!
Well just recently, I was drawn up short when I realized that in making that particular statement, I may have inadvertently been putting undue pressure on these new moms. Were they really supposed to enjoy every minute? If I was to be honest with myself, I would realize that there were plenty of times that I didn't enjoy my motherhood journey...I felt stressed, overwhelmed, inadequate, lonely, depressed and...you name it. It was often a roller coaster ride and one with few breaks.
There were days (yes, I admit it) when I could have been labeled certifiably loony, wanting to run out the front door, screaming at the top of my lungs. There were times when I longed for adult conversation (to prove to myself that I could still sound intelligent), or a luxurious, hot bubble bath (to soothe my frayed nerves.) I was lonely for friends to commiserate with and frustrated that my husband worked long hours and was often gone when I needed to hand over a distraught baby in a dirty diaper for someone else, anyone else, to do the honors! I remember having a quarrel with my husband and feeling totally beside myself, yelling “You just don’t get it!” and leaving him with the kids. Taking off in the car, I was sobbing my eyes out and shaking. I had to get away...I parked at our local library, wept until I had no more tears, and drove home again. I had had my first of many meltdowns!
So was it really fair of me to say, "Enjoy every minute" even if they were absolutely exhausted, suffering from sleep deprivation with a colicky newborn, or feeling manic-depressive, as a result of postpartum blues? What if they were unbearably sore from breastfeeding or feeling guilty about bottle feeding? Were they supposed to enjoy every minute of their stubborn toddler's new found bold independence, rearing it's ugly head in disobedience by shrieking "NO!"? How about the time when their middle schooler was caught cheating on a math test, were they supposed to enjoy that humbling conference with the teacher too?
No, it wasn’t a good idea to say, “Enjoy every minute!” because chances are, they weren’t going to!
More on this topic tomorrow...please log in and read part II on March 14! If you can relate, please leave a comment and share. Some mom out there will be glad you did! Motherhood is not for the faint of heart, but it is worth every minute of our time, energy, blood, sweat and tears!