All three kids have been sick this last week. Nothing too major, just runny noses and coughs all around. So I knew it was just a matter of time.
And sure enough, I woke up this morning with a sore throat. On a Monday morning no less. I picked up my phone out of habit to do my morning scroll through social media, already composing my status update regarding the latest development in our family health saga.
And then something made me pause. And I thought, “Huh. It feels like I’ve been complaining on social media and the blogosphere a lot lately.” The baby still won’t sleep. The toddler hates being sick and won’t let me put her down. The six year old has a lot of really hard complicated questions and also has a lot of feelings to navigate, both of which seem to make their appearance only at bedtime.
And now everyone has been sick and the laundry still isn’t put away from last weekend and it’s Monday morning and we have to start a new week and I’m not ready.
So yeah. It feels like I’ve been complaining a lot lately. Then I started to wonder, “What if the people who read my blogs and status updates think I hate being a parent?”
And I immediately felt guilty. I don’t want to be the one who complains all the time. I don’t want it to seem like I’m not grateful for this amazing motherhood journey. I love being a parent more than anything in the world. What if I’m unintentionally leaving a legacy of whining for my children?
And I felt terrible for a little while as I considered that possibility.
But then I considered the alternative.
Of course I’d love to put nothing but sunshine and roses and inspiration out into my digital corner of the world.
But that wouldn’t be the whole truth. That wouldn’t be parenthood.
Because the whole truth is that, even though I love being a parent more than anything, the hard days are real. And they are hard.
So even though I’m supposed to be cherishing every moment, I’m not.
I’m not because some of the moments suck and I don’t want to cherish them. It’s just that simple. Waiting in the doctor’s office to find out what the mysterious rash is? Sorry, not cherishing that. Barely sleeping all night because stuffy noses are making both the toddler and the baby gag and cough and choke in their sleep? No thank you, not cherishing that either.
And then there are moments that I probably would cherish if I wasn’t so tired from wiping noses and being sick and mentally gearing up for a Monday morning that came a little too soon. I’d love to savor every snuggle, find the joy in them needing me so much, cherish their littleness for every moment of the day. But I’m human and sometimes I miss the moment.
The real problem with cherishing every moment is that my heart just isn’t big enough.
You see, if I really let myself feel how big these little moments are, my heart would break.
If I let myself realize how fleeting this time is. If I consider how fragile and precious these little lives are. If I remind myself what an honor it truly is to be a mother to these humans. If I reflect on what a miracle this life is and what miracles these little bodies are.
If I let myself think about how much I’m going to miss this, how much my heart is going to break when these days of “little” are gone, the time when this phase is over and I know it won’t ever come back.
If I let myself feel, truly feel, how much I love these little people. My heart would break. I would lose my mind trying to slow it all down, take it all in, savor every second. It would be too much.
So instead I cherish some of the moments. I really cherish them. I let myself catch tiny glimpses of the magnitude of motherhood. I let myself be in awe of all this love for the miracle of these little lives.
And the rest of the time I let myself off the hook for missing a moment or worse, intentionally distracting myself to get through the hardest moments.
Because the truth is I can’t cherish them all even if I wanted to. My heart just isn’t big enough.