I read an interesting blog this week from the Huffington Post. It was written by a mother of three young children. The core message was that although she understands the good intentions of those who say things like, “Enjoy them while you can” or similar sentiments such as that, she finds it a bit unnerving.
She expressed how it makes her feel like she isn’t a good mom if she isn’t enjoying every moment. Because let’s face it, the reality is that not every moment in parenting is enjoyable.
I certainly understood her point. It made me pause and think about the times I express similar sentiments through the Families parenting blog. I know I do it often. But my intention is never to make someone feel bad. It isn’t to make a parent feel like they have to appreciate every single moment, even those difficult ones.
Because the truth is, although I say it…I have plenty of my own moments that I don’t enjoy being a parent. Not that I wish I wasn’t a parent or that I would change it if I could. But parenting is hard work.
I honestly wouldn’t want someone to tell me right now, “Enjoy them now while you can.” Yeah, I will enjoy them when they aren’t giving me an attitude or surprising me with some new drama.
I know the intentions are well and good, as they certainly have been coming from me. But I could also understand this mother’s frustration with it.
Obviously the majority of us parents do enjoy our children. We enjoy being a parent. But we also know the difficult and challenging moments can cause us to question our job as a parent. To be reminded of how much we should appreciate it might feel more like a knife in the heart than a pat on the back.
So I am going to try my hardest to never tell another parent to enjoy their children while they can. Instead, the next time I see a toddler throwing a tantrum in the middle of the store or a teenager sulking next to her mother, I will simply smile, with a look of understanding.
Photo by dawnhops in Flickr