On the hard days

Some days are so hard when there are littles around.

You know the days I mean. Those where you’re extra tired for whatever reason or you just don’t feel 100%. They don’t understand how the crying and screaming grates those days, even the joyous laughter of kids playing can grind a little bit.

They are always themselves but today, you are different. They are wonderful kids, but they get distracted in one nanosecond. They forget instantly what you’ve asked them to do and stare at you blankly when you ask. They are up and down and everywhere but where you want them to be and if you try to steal just five minutes for yourself, they are hounding with questions or “hold this” or dumping random things in your lap and walking away.

Those days are the ones where they act as though you never asked or taught them how to clean up. They forget the routine you follow every. single. day. They are great kids, but you are different on the hard days. Your temper is shorter and as much as you try to curb it and logic in your head, you still snap at nothing and bark a little fiercer than you need to.

Maybe you remember that some moms have the glory of leaving all of this chaos and frustration behind as they go to work. They get a break from it. And you feel just the tiniest glow of jealousy. You long for a 30-minute lunch or just being able to go to the bathroom whenever. You get to talk to adults during the day and someone else gets the crying and screaming and pooping and peeing and diapers and food on the floor and in the hair and the five changes of clothes during the day.

Of course, you know you’d never give this up for all the money in the world, but sometimes, some days, it is SO tempting. It’s hard to keep carrying the weight that is raising children. It’s hard to shoulder the heavy responsibility of keeping these littles happy and fed and safe. Safe from themselves, from each other, from whatever could come bursting through the front door without warning, knowing what evil lurks out in the big wide world.

You know that in just a few short years, the kids will be going off to school and you wonder if you are preparing them enough. You wonder if they will be somewhat stunted because they were with you and not with a great daycare with a great curriculum. You wonder if they will be delayed because you don’t paint and glue and glitter stuff to paper to send home.

You wonder if everything you do is worth it. You wonder if the sacrifice you are making is worth what you give to these littles.

On the hard days, we who spend our days with littles need to remember that it IS worth it. The love, the joy, the play, the friendships being made is worth it. That worth isn’t measured by art projects that will inevitably end up in the garbage and having them know their alphabet by 2 or whatever other unrealistic standards are out there.

If you spend your days with the kids of other people, it’s measured in them not crying when being dropped off anymore or being too excited to play to say goodbye to mom and dad. It’s the satisfaction of parents and trust that you are the best person for their child at this point in time. It’s measured in hugs and kisses and toys shared and tears wiped and laughs and games made up and quiet lunches and toddler chatter and new words and new things. It’s not measured in tempers lost or routines forgotten or early naps because your sanity requires it.

These are the hard days. Someday we will look back and wonder how they passed so quickly, how we celebrated 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 so close together. Wasn’t their last birthday just a month ago? How is it birthday time again? We must remember to press on, to do what we need to do to maintain sanity. Press on, brave souls, and don’t lose heart, for much too soon these days will be only in the land of memories. Press on and love these littles, for soon they won’t be littles anymore.

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