Warning: I'm venting. :)
Phrases that I hear all the time … but aren't actually that helpful
I've been toying with this blog idea for a while, for various reasons. Primarily because I didn't want to say something in the moment that I regretted later, and secondarily because I wanted to be careful how I worded it... because I LOVE my children and I KNOW that right now, being a stay-at-home mom raising them is where I'm supposed to be. That being said, here goes:
Being a motber of little ones (Princess, who's 5, Buddy, who's 4, Chickadee, who's 1 ½, and Little Man, who's 3 months old), I often hear these little phrases when I'm out and about with my little family:
1. “Wow, do you have your hands full!” and 2. “You're going to miss this” and 3. “Time goes so fast.”
I'm guilty of saying them, too … but the more I hear them, the more I'm trying to eliminate them from my set of standard responses to other mothers … and here's why.
These phrases aren't helpful or encouraging, even though they are meant to be.
1. “Wow, do you have your hands full!”
I'm never sure how to take this. If you mean that “your hands are full, let me get the door for you/reach that for you since you're holding the baby” … then yes, I will accept your assessment of the situation. However, if you mean that, as a parent, I have my hands full, my hands have been “full” since the day Princess was born. EVERY parent, no matter how many children they have has their “hands full.” There's a family at our church who has 13 children … if my hands are “full” … what does that make hers????
Alternative suggestions: “Your kids are cute/adorable/precious … “ “You are blessed!”
2. “You're going to miss this.”
Really? You're sure about that? Now, I KNOW in my head, that people who say this are referring to the “fun,” “sweet” and “special” everyday moments … Little Man smiles, Princess brings me a bouquet of dandelions, Buddy gives me a hug and says “love you, mommy,” and Chickadee makes a gooey mess enjoying her first S'more... HOWEVER … what you don't know is that 3 out of 4 of my babies have been very spitty, and I'm usually covered in/cleaning up baby spit-up; I'm in the middle of potty training Chickadee … and despite an emphatic “NO!” to attempting to use the toilet, less than 10 minutes later, she's climbed on top of the dining room table and had an accident … Little Man got up at 1:15 last night (after I didn't get to bed until 12:30), took over an hour to eat and settle back down and then got up at 6:30... Buddy spilled his milk all over my freshly mopped kitchen floor yesterday and Princess had a meltdown last night because she wasn't allowed to go with daddy on his errand... Just, STOP. I'm TIRED... tired of the spit-up, tired of the potty accidents, tired of the spilled milk, tired of waking up multiple times a night, I'm just TIRED ... and while I am SURE that there are moments I WILL miss … your declaration that “You're going to miss this.” is more frustrating than encouraging.
Alternative suggestion: “I'm sure that there are sweet moments to this stage of life.”
(and yes, that all happened in the past 24 hours!)
3. “Time goes so fast.”
Yes, it does … but right now, the moments sometimes CRAWL by … like when my-arm-is-falling-asleep-from-holding-the-sleeping-baby-but-I-can't-put-him-down-because-he'll-wake-up-and-I-can't-handle-the-screaming; like the feeling of futility of actually putting the vacuum away (I've contemplated leaving it plugged in, actually), when Little Man finally sleeps through the night, but Chickadee wakes up screaming in the middle of the night., when I feel guilty for losing my patience AGAIN... Yes,sometimes, it DOES seem like little ones grow too quickly … but there are times, in certain areas I'd appreciate them growing a little faster! :)
Alternative Suggestion: “Hang in there, momma!” “It's tough now, but it will get easier.” “Treasure the little moments” “You're doing a good job!”
I LOVE my children; most days I LOVE being a stay-at-home mom … I wouldn't trade this job for ANYTHING this world could offer me. My sweetheart and my children are a joy and delight to me, and I LOVE caring for them. My calling as a stay-at-home wife and mother one I value and treasure because I KNOW that the time I have with my children is brief and fleeting.