How many times have you been in line at Target with one child throwing a class A tantrum? The ones where they go boneless and their shrills literally make your hairs stand on edge, while you are sweating profusely in all the wrong places, you can’t find your credit card, and your other child is mindlessly playing on your phone ordering apps from Uzbekistan, and some older person approaches you as says, “Oh sweetie, I remember those days…YOU ARE GOING TO MISS THEM, THEY GO SO FAST!”
However, here is the thing and please hold your “tar, feathers, and judgment” till the end. I never really minded those comments. In fact, I actually found some comfort in them. Because when you have a baby strapped to your chest in an Ergo who has just had a blowout diaper and your 15 month old knocks over the impressive slightly misogynistic display of Doritos that they only create for the Super Bowl, you are all, “This is it.” This is the WORST it is going to get. All the strangers have told me, “It gets better!“ Bring on the unsolicited advice and “well-meaning” comments that only make you feel like more of a failure as a mom and a human because there is only one way to go and that is UP!
Honestly, in the blur that was 2013 – 2015, I can’t even count the number of times in public we were stopped and told…
“Oh, you have your hands full.”
“Those days are precious, cherish them!”
“Those ages were my favorite!”
And there it is, many of these friendly strangers offered us this shred of hope, this lifeline that in fact it will get EASIER! But now we know the truth! The cold hard truth is when your children are older it doesn’t get easier. The strangers were RIGHT, you will cherish those days but what they failed to mention was that in some ways “those days” were EASIER!
I was in Target last week with my 6 and 7 year old. They went to the bathroom by themselves. I think there may have even been hand washing, wait for it… with soap. I was drinking a Pumpkin Spice Latte (2 pumps) and pushing $334.57 worth of items that I really didn’t need. Well except the Halloween candy, we sort of needed that. It sounds idyllic. And all I know is…this was NOT easier! I do miss the days of having my two babies. Because in all the chaos and SWEAT that is toting two very small non-independent humans with you, there is something rewarding about it. You can pat yourself on the back and think, “Hey, I made it out of the house and no one will judge me if I am wearing two day old pajama pants with spit on them.”
Now when I am in Target or any other commercial institution, there are is no unsolicited opinions from other patrons. There is whining, there is bickering, there is complaining, there is negotiating so thoughtfully articulated that you don’t know weather you should be impressed with their verbal manipulation skills or terrified. And here is the kicker, you still feel like a failure, but no one comments that you are doing a good job reminding you to cherish these moments.
SO… what I am trying say?
I am saying when people tell you, “You will miss those days”…you will.
But more importantly when you see a parent with two school aged kids or a gaggle of teenagers, or really any parent… please tell them, “They are doing a good job.” Please tell them, “They are going to miss these days.”
Or better yet…when you go to Target, go by yourself.