The park was quiet except for my three. They ran around, chasing and yelling at one another while I sat on a nearby bench with a book and a water bottle. It was a perfect cloudy day. Not too hot, but comfortable.
I watched them play for awhile, smiling at their antics, when I saw another mom — topknot, sunglasses, leggings — pushing a stroller. Baby was old enough to sit up in the stroller but too young to play at the park. I watched them walk past as baby’s big blue eyes took everything in. Then a thought hit me like a punch to the gut:
I was her just yesterday.
And it startled me.
“Enjoy every moment! It goes by so fast!” is the phrase young moms love to hate. This phrase always seems to be tossed out so casually. We roll our bleary eyes because we’re on our eighth straight month of not sleeping through the night; which is a method of actual torture. We try to hide our spit-up stained clothing and unwashed hair, to herd our feral children through the grocery aisles with some semblance of dignity.
These older people don’t remember, we tell ourselves to cope. They don’t remember how hard it is every day to change all these diapers, breastfeed until it hurts, to sing “Wheels on the Bus” over and over and over.
We slog through the day having woken up at 5:04AM, reheating our coffee in the microwave three times too many. The hours from 3:00-5:30PM crawl by as we’ve exhausted all of our ideas for the day, and collapse on the couch in absolute despair while children scream and throw toys around us. We wonder, as we hit the buttons on the microwave or put a throw pillow over our heads one more time, just how much more can we take?
I still consider myself a “young” mom, with two five-year-olds and a three-year-old. My parenting journey is still at the beginning. Yet I’m sure that day at the park, it looked like I was living the life to that stroller mom: book, water, sitting, kids playing while I paid half-attention. I used to watch those moms at the park and envy them as I chased after twin 15-month olds dashing off in opposite directions. Sitting at the park on a bench with a book? That was #goals.
I wondered if I looked like I had everything figured out. I still often feel like I have no idea what I’m doing. I wanted to tell her that even these moments of respite don’t last, that I would likely be interrupted by a fight, or an injury, or a request for a snack soon enough.
“I was just you!” I wanted to rush over and tell her. “I know I look like an ‘old mom’ but I swear I’m not. Everyone was right, it goes by fast.”
Read the rest over on Kindred Mom.