With Christmas just around the corner and 2016 around the corner after that, it naturally becomes a time of reflection. One thing that’s been on my heart is enjoying the moment. As a parent, it can be hard to even set aside time to think about this without a child or your bed calling your name, but I’ve been trying to be purposeful about it since 1. I knew I had a blog post to write and 2. my second will be born shortly after the new year--so there are big changes ahead.
Many of us have probably heard from more seasoned parents to “enjoy every moment” and have either rolled our eyes or dismissed their comment with a smile. It certainly doesn’t help when someone mentions this while you’re struggling to attach your child to his stroller, screaming. However, I understand what they’re trying to say: time flies and before you know it, your kid will be grown and you won’t have a baby to snuggle anymore. But what I’ve come to realize from speaking to other parents whose kids are older than mine is that each age and each stage has its perks and awesome moments. And while we should treasure the present moments we have (read: it doesn’t have to be every single moment), I don’t think we should necessarily hold on to them for dear life, because new, blissful moments are going to come too.
While I absolutely love certain aspects of age 2, I am excited for my son to go to preschool and learn new things. I’m also excited for the day I no longer have to wipe his butt after he goes to the bathroom. And while I’m sure I’ll be saddened when he’d rather hang out with his friends than with his family, I hope and yearn for the day that I can be proud of him for making good decisions on his own. As parents, our job is to raise our children to be competent adults. Hopefully they will be kind, generous, and polite too (add in other traits that you want for them here). We are in this weird present and future state where the things we do and teach them now become building blocks for who they become in the future. Oh hey, pressure much? But it’s true; we shouldn’t minimize our roles as parents because we matter a whole lot to our kids. I’m guessing therapists can back this theory up. But it’s also not up to us to live our children’s lives for them either. Instead we need to teach and equip them with the necessary tools so they can thrive on their own (my personal case against helicopter parenting).
So how does this tie in with enjoying the moment? Sometimes I think about how my son will remember me when he’s a little older, or rather, which memories will stick. But when I’m having a particularly trying day and my patience is nowhere to be found, I try to remind myself that this stage is temporary. I also try to be purposeful in making sure we have at least a few happy, laughter-filled moments everyday that are free of technology so everyone is fully present. Tying everything together that we’ve been talking about the past couple months, like having a thankful attitude, being grateful for what we have instead of what we don’t, and taking time to slow down can really ease up some tension to leave room to actually enjoy the present.
So when you know you’re in a good moment, by all means hold on to it and try to savor it as best you can. But when you’re not, remind yourself that everything is a phase, and that the journey’s not over yet; you’ll have some great ones to look forward to as well!