My husband and I have been teaching a kids class at our church for several months now. The kids range in age from six to eight (it’s like Sunday School called Primary and you can learn more about it here if you’d like).
As parents who have almost reached the middle stages of parenting (is there something that determines exactly when that is? IDK but our children are 19 and 17), I absolutely love teaching these kids. They’re smart, strong, kind and funny.
And by funny, I mean hilarious. One six-year-old girl in particular. Her mom has no secrets because this kid shares them all. And she loves to tell stories. The bigger the better.
I’m sure it’s not as fun (or funny) for her mom as it is for me, you know, from the outside looking in. But I love listening to her and other moms talk about their little ones, unload about how hard it is, the ups and downs and what they see as their failures.
I remember feeling those same things. Being the mom of a six-year-old seems like a lifetime ago. Back to the days with sticky kisses, muddy messes and broken dishes.
I suppose I feel a lot of those same things now with teenagers, just in a different way. Feeling like a failure is at the top of the list almost daily.
But if I could go back and give myself some advice, I would tell myself this: enjoy it more.
Simply enjoy being a mom.
Overlook the messes, the sibling fighting, the drama. Just enjoy it all.
Marjorie Pay Hinckley said: “The trick is to enjoy it. Don’t wish away your days of caring for young children. This is your great day. Sometimes we get so caught up in the physical work and trivia that we forget the big picture.”
I understand that may be easier for me to realize and articulate when I’m not in the thick of terrifically tiresome twos … or teething toddlers … or up all night with fussy babies … or the sassiness of your seven-year-old … or some kid bullying your fourth grader … or … or … or …
But here’s some Real Frank advice …
When your 18-month-old pulls out every wet wipe in the 200-plus package and scatters them across the bedroom floor … laugh, take photos and enjoy it.
When your three-year-old decides her monkey needs to take a bath in the toilet … laugh, take photos and enjoy it.
When your five-year-old helps himself to a mixing bowl full of an entire box of Cheerios and then drops the gallon of milk which spills all over the kitchen floor … laugh, take photos and enjoy it.
When your 10-year-old decides she’s ready to be just like her older sister and paints her face with ALL of your makeup … laugh, take photos and enjoy it.
Dave Willis said: “There are no perfect parents, and there are no perfect children, but there are plenty of perfect moments along the way.”
Look for those “perfect” moments and find ways to remember them more often. One day they’re five and three and causing all sorts of adorable trouble … and before you know it, they’re nearly adults. Enjoy it while you can!
And one final piece of advice … when it’s all just too much and you can’t enjoy it and you’re exhausted and you don’t know how you’re going to keep going …
… just keep going.
“To all mothers in every circumstance, including those who struggle – you are doing better than you think you are.” – Jeffrey R. Holland
Happy Mother’s Day!