I’ve seen Glennon Melton’s Don’t Carpe Diem article linked over and over again in the past week and I wanted to take a minute to respond. I agree with many of the things the author says- Parenting is hard and ridiculous at times - it fluctuates often between moments of challenge and blessing.
But here is where we differ - there are days that the ONLY thing that does keep me from pulling my hair out or completely losing my cool - the only thing that helps me regain my composure- is remind myself that these are beautiful moments and I need to be here.
I have lost track of the number of nights I’ve swayed, one hip to the next with Arlo screaming bloody murder in my ears. It used to be every day, and then a few times a week, and these days, we can go about a week and half before he has an inconsolible night - but being able to rationalize that this time with him, this very moment - me, as his mother - he, as my infant son- is worth savoring too. Channeling that idea has made the experience feel less overwhelming: He needs you Melissa. Look at how small his hands are. One day the little red, screaming face is going to be a grown boy who’ll be flying past me and out the door. But right this moment, I’m the only person in the world who can help him through this. Shhh Shhh, Arlo. Mama’s here. Those nights are exhausting, mentally and physically but they are what they are - part of my experience in raising my son - and so I do my best to just take them at face value and find the good to get me through.
That doesn’t mean that I don’t lose my cool, that I don’t feel overwhelmed, that I don’t wish sometimes that I was somewhere else - but being able to stop and think about the fact that I get my children as babies for such a short period of time, and as toddlers and little children for for such a brief span in the course of their life - it’s what pushes me to buck up, to keep my wits, to do what I need to do to get us through the toughest of days (or nights).
I need that internal pep talk. The constant reminder. The time goes so fast. So damn fast. too fast. (It’s something I talk about almost obsessively here on my blog) But that realization doesn’t stress me, if anything it’s my reminder to slow down. Slow it all down and just be in this moment. The crying-and-can’t-be-calmed moments and the you-are-driving-me-crazy moments. While it works for me, I don’t expect it to work for everyone - but for my sanity, I will continue to say CARPE DIEM when it comes to raising my kids.
The worst moments and the best. I will sit in them and allow them to be whatever they are. Being able to look at the moment objectively - to find the beauty in the chaos or the humor in an otherwise stressful situation - it’s how I cope. I make mistakes and I get flustered and some days I think I very well may go insane… but reminding myself to be here- it always feels like an anchor to me. It’s how I get my arms back around the situation when I feel buried by the challenges of parenting. Maybe that makes me obnoxiously glass half full and the annoyingly silver-lining type - but it works for me.
I don’t want to wait until I’m the little old lady in the grocery store to realize that every part of this crazy, stressful, magical path through parenting is worth savoring. I need to do it every day, in little bits along the way. Attempting to savor all the good moments, but the hardest ones too. It’s how my heart and head work best. In my experience, that need doesn’t add pressure, it relieves it.
So that’s my two cents.
Carpe diem. over and over again.
(image via Fresh Words Market - and tacked to the wall in my bedroom!)