When I was a tired young mama, the veteran moms would always share the same bits of sage advice: They started with “be present” and continued with “it goes so fast” followed by “before you know it, they’re leaving the nest.”
It always pissed me off. How could I possibly relate?
Just ask any newbie mom who is deeeep in the trenches of motherhood, and by that I mean not having any time to herself, not getting any sleep and constantly worrying if she is doing anything right.
“Be present” are not the two words we want or need to hear from those who have been there and done that.
So we promptly dismissed them (those seasoned moms) and continued to worry about what came next. Potty training? Preschool?
We kept on wishing our kids would just move on to the next stages of independence so our lives would get a little easier (the joke was on us, of course).
Surely, the veteran moms meant well.
But let’s be real. It had been a lifetime since any of them had sat through the horrid cartoon featuring that bald, whiny little dude… c’mon you know exactly who I’m talking about!
Eons has passed since one of them had painstakingly braided the gnarly hair of a much-loved Barbie – or searched desperately for one of the microscopic plastic pumps to compliment her horrible neon outfit!
And hadn’t it been years since one of those moms found herself screaming bloody murder upon stepping on a stray effing Lego in the kitchen at 5am?! Yep.
That’s precisely why, as younger moms, we ignored their well-intentioned advice and wished for these, ummmm, challenging (aka, sadistic) moments to pass us by.
It’s OK to admit it now.
We willed ourselves through those endless hours between naptime and bedtime just so we wouldn’t snap.
It was all we could do to make it through the day versus savor every freaking moment of it. Did that make us bad moms? We hoped not.
Sure, there were lots of amazing moments and memories sprinkled throughout.
But we were still constantly envious of the older moms who had already survived these exhausting days (years!?) and emerged victorious on the other side.
Would that ever be us? And would we really become like them one day, able to nostalgically reference that time our little love projectile vomited all over the new couch?
Fast-forward a decade or more. Somehow you are no longer cradling your little in your lap.
Instead, you are craning your neck more than you would like to admit to look up at your kid as he asks you for the car keys. Or more money. Or permission to break curfew.
OK, some of these moments are truly mind blowing and you admit to yourself that maybe those wise-yet-annoying older moms were actually onto something.
The time has flown by. Somehow we have reached the point where we can actually admit that we get nostalgic thinking back to those little “struggles” from long ago.
But we can also honestly admit that we wouldn’t ever want to relive them.
As we eventually earn the title of “veteran” mom, hopefully we’ve arrived in a good place.
I mean, our kids are still breathing and not every last hair has turned grey yet, right? Fingers crossed, if we have done our jobs halfway right, our “babies” are now about to learn how to navigate life without us.
So, we’re happy to pass the torch onto today’s generation of eager yet exhausted new mamas. It’s OK, ladies, we have been in your shoes and we survived the trek. And instead of having the audacity to tell you to be more present or patient or perfect, we will give you a sympathetic hug and tell you it will get better one day.
You probably won’t believe us, but that’s OK. Someday, you, too, will understand.
Allyson is a veteran mom, wife, professional writer, wine lover and Yacht Rock addict. She lives in Arizona with her hubby, three teens and one fur baby. Check out her blog, www.lifeaftercarpool.com, which features humor, inspiration and tips for moms who have been there and done that.