I recently discovered a great article by blogger, Katie Wetherbee, "Joy, or 'Just Wait?'" (article provided below). I vividly remember this topic driving my husband crazy when we started having babies about 7 years ago. It was his pet peeve that as new parents, we were constantly bombarded with the..."Just wait, if you think THIS is challenging, just wait until..." Even before our first child was born, the constant flow of "Just enjoy having dinner out together (or going to the grocery store, or to the movies, or whatever) before the baby comes"...it was just TOO much doomsday.
He was tired of strangers pointing out that our lives were certain to only get worse as time passed. We were excited about the arrival of our new baby; and, although we acknowledged the uncertainties, challenges, and mysteries of parenthood, we just wished there was more encouragement than warning...
As a mom of three little ones, I TOTALLY get these comments now. I know exactly what people mean when they say things like, "Just wait, if you think a crying baby is tough, wait until your kids are punching each other in the face." Trust me, I understand the revolving door of ever-changing, ever-evolving challenges that inevitably come with parenting.
Yet, like grandparents or elderly neighbors, I am convinced we ALL have selective, perhaps even 'nostalgic' memories. I know that although challenges seem to get more difficult as children grow, we are Lewis & Clark no matter the stage, pioneering through uncharted territories of nursing, solid foods, separation anxiety, vaccinations, school adjustments, special needs, etc. Despite the nature of the challenge, each stage is new and foreign at the time we experience it. So, it really makes no sense to make the "Just Wait" comparisons of these different chapters of our children's lives.
As a side note, I fully recognize that my daily challenges of taming Tasmanian devil toddlers PALES in comparison to the teenage years...Admittedly, I will likely be the basket case parent when my children reach the adolescent realities of drinking, driving, drugs, bullying, dating, puberty, school stress, etc....AND, I realize it will be a daily tight-rope balance of giving teenagers enough freedom to grow, while keeping a watchful eye and appropriate parameters, in the name of safety. Undoubtedly, the stakes are certainly higher as they age. Just let me cross that worry-bridge when I get there!
The reality is that parenthood is simply a matter of economics. As we have heard time and time again, the best things in life are never free (nor are they 'things' by the way)...We pay a price for the heart-breakingly beautiful and cherished joys of parenthood in the currency of moments that try our patience, composure, mental fortitude, and sanity. It is a tricky balance of embracing and appreciating the yummy chubby cheeks, sweet expressions, innocent questions, and warm hugs and kisses, while sweating through the tantrums, melt-downs, and i-just-want-to-bang-my-head-against-a-wall challenges. It can be tough to evaluate with an appreciative, count-your-blessings, birds-eye view when we are in survival mode of a new baby, or 'in-the-weeds' with toddlers. But, as so many older, wiser veteran parents consistently say, "Enjoy it while it lasts, because it goes by SO fast." On that note, Katie's article inspires me to stop and smell the roses, live in the moment, and savor the joys since these are the rewards that make it all worthwhile...OK, easier said than done, but it is worth a reminder every now and then.
Without further ramblings, I wanted to share this article that brilliantly illustrates this topic below...