By “those days”, I mean “these days” too.
By “those days”, I mean those ones long ago that, upon reflection, seemed so much easier than these days.
Those days, that I felt in over my head, but looking back now I realize how easy it was compared to the current stage of life my family is in.
Isn’t that sick? The current version of myself is taunting past-me like some nagging mother. “You don’t know how easy you’ve got it!”, “Life gets way harder than this, just wait”.
Yet, here I am, wishing for those days. Those days were rough, but they seem so simple now. Those days were full of hopes and aspirations and possibilities.
These days are filled with uncertainty and doubt. “Did I do a good enough job?”, “Could I have done better?”. “What can I do going forward?”.
But looking back, I had those same worries in those days. Does a mother ever stop wondering about the future of their children and the ways in which they, as a mother, could have tried harder?
Five years from now I’ll have a new batch of issues that I’ll sit back and think, “2018 Me had no idea how easy it really was.”
Here I am, missing the days that I’m currently in because I know they are fleeting. When you’re in the muck of motherhood, it’s so hard to be thankful for it. It’s so hard to see the beauty in your life. It’s not until that ever-sought independence becomes more apparent in your children that you realize you miss them. You miss them at whatever age seemed the most difficult but was exponentially easier than their current age.
It’s a constant cycle of missing your kids. Missing them when they smiled at butterflies, and gave slobbery, bubble-filled kisses. But it was hard to know you’d miss those things when you’re literally elbow deep in poop.
Our parents say, “You’ll miss these days. Cherish them.”
They were right.
So, I’m going to listen to them and cherish these moments. These difficult moments of “these days”. When you’re still fighting fights, but they are different fights. These aren’t the fights of how to teach your children how to feed themselves, how to use the potty like a big boy or girl, how to bathe themselves, how to clear their plate from the table, how and when and why we say, “Thank you”, and “You’re welcome”, and “I’m sorry”.
These aren’t fights like literal verbal warfare with your children, though it does literally happen. These are internal fights. These are the fights a mother has inside of her because she wants her kids to be successful. She struggles within herself on ways to set a better example. To show her kids the possibilities in life. To help them learn from what she wished she had done better in her own life. Her children don’t know about these fights. They only see the outward presentation of these fears, that they consider to be “nagging”. The child not understanding WHY on earth their mom just won’t let up about things that seem so stupid. Things that don’t mean anything.
But to the mom, they mean everything. It’s teaching your child to be an adult. It’s teaching your child to not need you anymore. It’s the internalized fears that her children won’t be capable if she doesn’t set the rules now and set them without blurred lines. It’s the guilt that falls on her as she looks back and wishes she hadn’t been so hard on them.
It’s a losing battle between those days and these days.
But the current version of myself is aware of the differences and the palpable similarities between those days and these days.
I will cherish them and, as any parent says to their child when they try something and aren’t successful the first time around, I will do the best I can.
I won’t give up.