“Enjoy every minute. It all goes so fast.”
I think this is one of the hardest things to hear as a parent, particularly in the early days. You know the days I mean: the ones that feel never ending and the lack of sleep makes 60 minutes in each hour feel more like 6 million.
If I had a nickel for every time some well meaning person offered this sage advice to me as I was out juggling a newborn + kids + whatever errand I was attempting at the time, I’d be a rich woman.
Those words often induced so much guilt for me. I love being a mom. It’s the best thing in the world.
…but it’s also the hardest thing I’ve ever done on EVERY level. Emotionally, mentally, socially, physically. All of it. When you’re not sleeping and feel completely disconnected from the person you feel you used to be it’s so hard to “enjoy every minute”.
Those days did not feel fast, and I did not enjoy a lot of it. And oh, I’ll never get the hours I beat myself up over that back.
It took me a long time to understand that I didn’t have to enjoy *every* minute. That it was okay that there were parts that were really, really hard. That instead of enjoying, I was sometimes enduring.
I know now that that doesn’t make me a bad parent.
It just makes me a real one.
So I’ve wrestled with that statement for a long time… I knew it was true, I just wasn’t sure how it was true for me.
But today, as I rocked W to sleep in my arms, I realized that there are two sides to it.
I held my sleeping five month old baby, and the world slowed down for a minute. I rocked him back and forth in the quiet darkness, feeling his chest rise and fall against mine.
It was a perfect moment… and I realized that I already couldn’t remember the last time I had done that.
He’s getting bigger and squirmier, and often prefers to fall asleep nursing then be put right in his bed. He doesn’t often let me hold him up like this, with his head fitting perfectly in that space between my neck and my shoulder… that space where I can smell his baby scent and feel his skin against mine.
At some point, it will be the “last time” that he lets me do this, and I won’t ever know it.
There were a million other things I should have been doing, but I’m so glad that I chose this today instead.
Actually, scratch that.
There were a million other things that I *could* have been doing, but I chose this instead…
…and it was absolutely the right choice.
I don’t think I’ll ever be that parent who enjoys *every* minute, but this is one I will remember. Because it’s true– time does go fast. Not always in that moment, but when you look back, it’s hard to remember where it all went.
It’s hard to know that you had so many “last times” without even realizing it.
When I move on to the next stage, and I’m wistfully looking at a young parent holding their baby, I don’t know if I’ll ever be that person who offers this same advice. I hope not. It’s well meaning, but it’s sometimes hard to hear.
But I will try to enjoy *most* minutes, because it does go fast… and you just never know when the next “last time” will be.
I hope today wasn’t one of them… but if it was, at least I know we made the most of it. ❤️