Anytime I am in public with my kids I get smiles from strangers and well-meaning comments like, “Enjoy every moment, it goes by fast!” I know it’s going by fast and I feel the urgency to enjoy every moment- but the reality is that I do not enjoy EVERY moment. (Gasp!)
And while I may experience guilt from time to time, I’ve come to the conclusion that ENJOYING every moment with your kids is an impossible task. While there may be some exceptions, I have not met any, and I would argue that those who claim to have enjoyed every moment with their little ones are suffering from Parental Amnesia.
My oldest is 6 and I already understand how this works…When I look at pictures from past vacations, I smile and laugh and relive the picture of us feeding the birds on the beach all the while suppressing the memory that we stayed inside almost the entire week because the baby was coughing and keeping us up worried every night on our “relaxing” trip.
Parental Amnesia is choosing to remember the good moments and let the not-so-good ones grow faint. A beautiful thing really.
Now I must say that my kids are amazing, beautiful, hilarious, lunatics that I am in love with, but they are still kids. Recently, after a particularly exhausting day with my awesomely wonderful children (not meant to be sarcastic), a thought came to me. Instead of my parenting goal being: to enjoy my kids before they grow up, I need to make sure that THEY are enjoying ME before they grow up.
Are my kids going to remember the stressed-out to-do-list mom, rushing them around from activity to activity? Or will they remember a mom full of love, peace, joy, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control? My kids have only one childhood. In the blink of an eye they will be grown and I will have the luxury of parental amnesia- but my kids will always remember these years. It is up to me (and their wonderful dad) to make sure their childhood is full of love and happy memories.
So for me, my new goal is to be sure that my kids enjoy me. Every. Day. To me this is a much easier task.
For the past few months I have been intentional in letting my kids see the silly mom, the playful mom, the catch-you-off-guard with something crazy mom. Not ALL day, but EVERY day. Because much like me, I’m sure that they aren’t enjoying every moment they share with me. I’m just hoping that they too suffer from a little amnesia.
The kind that makes them forget mom yelled when they “just forgot” to put their shoes on, and remember the impromptu sock fight at bedtime. The kind that makes you forget about mommy begging for a 15 minute nap on the couch and remembering the mom who picks them up to dance during the credits of every Disney movie.
Enjoy my kids all day? Are you kidding me? I break up 372 fights a day and clean 823 messes. Parenting is the hardest work I’ve ever done, but it is the MOST important work. So when I lay down to go to sleep each night I ask, “Did my kids enjoy me today?”, and I smile knowing that while I may not have enjoyed every moment, I made sure I gave them a moment- a small memory every day to smile about when they are grown.