Overwhelmed. Overtired. Over…everything! As a mom of four kids ages 7-2…I get it. But I realized something recently and wanted to pass it on. I realized that someday I won’t have finger prints to wipe off the walls. Someday, years and years from now, I won’t be scraping up the apple sauce that spilled two days ago. I won’t be packing lunches, wondering if they are nutritious enough to seem healthy to the teacher but not too healthy so my kids won’t eat them. I won’t be tripping over toys as I wake up to a crying kid in the middle of the night. Someday I won’t have any kids crying in the middle of the night. Or toys lying around.
It’s easy to look at these statements as wistful, or from the prism of a mother with a lot of little kids who wishes for them to grow up. But the truth is, it makes me tear up thinking about the quietness that will surround me in about 16 years. However, it wasn’t always this way. I used to wish for the next milestone to hurry and get here already. I daydreamed about the time when I would no longer need a stroller or car seats or sippy cups (and their elusive stoppers). I looked longingly at the Facebook posts of mothers with older children. I was jealous of their clean homes and white furniture and trips that didn’t involve a minivan or baby equipment or both! I secretly seethed when they would post about all their free time while the kids were in school. But then my baby called himself a big boy.
When my youngest, my baby, called himself a “big boy” my heart lurched. My mind leapt forward and I saw him riding a bike, heading off to kindergarten, asking to borrow the car. Gulp. Suddenly, I didn’t mind the fingerprints on my walls or the stains on my too-old furniture. I didn’t want my kids to hurry and grow up already. I wanted to keep my baby, and all my kids, sweet and little and safe and loving their mama. This is a hard season but I know it won’t always be this way, for good and for bad.
So next time you find yourself envying another mom who is at a later stage in life than you, realize that she might be envying you right back. Maybe she remembers when her kids would run to her at preschool pick up or how they would cry when she left to go to the grocery store. Maybe she remembers how her daughter WOULD. NOT. STOP. TALKING. Until she turned 12 and then stopped talking…at least to her. So for moms of little kids, just take a moment away from the hustle and bustle to stop, take a breath and appreciate the season of motherhood you find yourself in. Live in the present. Be patient. Your kids will never be this age again.