When you put your thoughts out there on the internet, there is always the risk that people might actually read them.
Not often, but occasionally.
Usually, the people that read my posts are those that actually want to, because no matter how hard we bloggers try to promote our posts and the ridiculous lengths we go to to stick them right under people’s noses, we can’t force a click and we can’t make people read the words we write.
However it happens from time to time that someone does read, and they disagree with what I have to say. Every now and then, I’ll get a message or a comment from someone whose newsfeed I have unwittingly infiltrated, who is absolutely outraged that I would dare to express anything but undying gratitude for the snotty noses and the 5am wake-up calls that come with being the parent of two small children.
These comments are usually hashtagged ‘#cherisheverymoment’ or ‘#soblessed‘.
I’ll tell you a little story: The first six months of my son’s life were pretty horrible for all of us. He screamed night and day and never slept. He was not a ‘good baby‘. He’s nice enough now, so I’m no longer looking to return him but the only thing that kept me going through the really tough times (aside from a glass of wine, binge watching British Bake Off and sarcasm on the internet) was the knowledge that it would pass and he would grow up and it would be different. Not once in those early days did I gaze into his tired, angry eyes and wish for time to stop still. I wasn’t depressed, I just wanted sleep, and for him to be quiet. If you’ve never had a child with colic, reflux and god knows what, it’s probably difficult to understand, but it can be a steaming turd.
I did not cherish very many moments in those early days, and certainly not all of them.
If someone had told me to #cherisheverymoment then, I would have waited until the next heinous poonami and sent it to them through the post, probably anonymously and a few days later so as not to be immediately suspect, not that I’ve thought about it.
Even with a child who isn’t hell-bent on putting you through sleep deprivation based torture, you would probably be in the minority if you did not agree that raising kids can be a tough gig. It is, in my opinion, a challenge best undertaken with a big old sense of humour and wine (after bedtime, stay classy).
Often, it’s people whose children have long moved out and for whom the toddler stage is but a distant memory who feel fit to patronisingly tell you it goes so fast, make sure you make the most of it. Maybe when they’ve passed, I’ll look back on these times with fondness, with my glasses throwing a lovely rose-tinted hue over the times that my kids were full of rage because I didn’t serve their food in the correct colour bowl, but for now? I still don’t cherish every moment.
Every morning when my son barges into my room screaming before 6am; I don’t cherish that. The bodily fluids, the poo the puke and the wee; I don’t cherish that either. The times I want them to go to bed but everyone’s hot and overtired and angry and it’s coming on for 9pm and I can see my evening and any chance of ‘me time’ ebbing away; I really don’t cherish that.
And that is absolute a-OK.
Finding every moment of motherhood a blessing – or claiming you do – doesn’t win you any prizes and vocally proclaiming that others should be following your shining example makes you look like a knob. It’s certainly not helpful to the mothers who struggle, to the ones with PND, to the ones who just want to be left alone for a few hours because they are people in their own right goddamnit not just a servant to a smaller version of themselves.
Parenting is absolutely ridiculous at times. Objectively. Not every day is a winner, for anyone or at least not for us mere mortals. I have days when I struggle, when I fleetingly wonder what everyone would do if I just booked myself a holiday alone. I don’t feel guilty at all. It doesn’t mean I am a bad mother, that I don’t love or appreciate my children and only an idiot would think so. I also know for every shit moment, there are lots of fun ones ahead.
And that’s what keeps me (mainly) smiling.
For funsies, I asked some bloggery friends of mine about the importance of cherishing every moment.
Here is what they had to say.
I think I realised how important it was to cherish every moment when my daughter decided to start hiding her shit in between her books and her room turned into the Somme every fucking night. Suzanne, And another ten things
I cherish the moments when my son comes up to me trying to put a finger full of poo in my mouth, or when he thinks that my boob is exactly the right place to smear his snot. Jenni, Chilling with Lucas
When my eldest got home from a 5 day holiday with her grandparents, I was pretty much mewing into a lace handkerchief because I’d missed her so much. However, normality was instantly resumed as she trampled over the sofa in her sandy Crocs, demanded I put the TV on, then screamed for me to phone Daddy so that she could tell him how much I was upsetting her. Sam, Mouse, Moo and Me Too
I cherish every moment between 9.10-2.45 Monday to Friday because I actually have time to catch up with life, work, naps, stuff I want to do…when Evie is at school I can regain some of my freedom. I love our time together, but it’s really hard to feel #soblessed when I’m being yelled at on the way home from school and told I’m hated. Kat, Candyfloss & Dreams
I half look forward to having an operation just for the rest. Erica, The Incidental Parent
I cherish every moment when my boy decides he doesn’t want to do the school run. He won’t put his shoes and socks on. We chase up and down the living room. He kangaroo kicks me in the throat and head butts me. I put his hoodie on, he takes it off. We finally leave the house and he will just lay there. On the floor. I hastily ring around the other mums to see if someone can get Aoife. Weekly. Anna, Me Annie Bee