The messages are everywhere.
We’ve all read the beautiful posts or been stopped by the sweet old lady at the grocery store telling us the importance of understanding what a special season of motherhood we’re in and just how fleeting childhood really is. The messages are everywhere. Slow down. Be present. Enjoy it while you can. They grow up so fast. Don’t blink; you’ll miss it. Eighteen summers. And it’s true. They’re right. These times are so special and ephemeral. They are young for such a small fraction of their life. We get this season of raising littles for such a short time.
I love that perspective from someone who truly knows, who’s looking back seeing how short and important and impactful the season of raising littles is. There is such clarity once it’s all over and the babies are grown; and then the grandchildren are grown; and then the great grandchildren begin to grow. I see it in my grandparents’ eyes when they’re with my children. I watch how they cherish it. They see it clearer now. They understand the value of it all with new appreciation. They drink it in. They spend every second with intention. With gratitude. With presence.
These messages are truth, but…
Mamas, I believe wholeheartedly that these messages are truth. That this perspective is valuable. That there are significant lessons here to be learned, but (and I always have that but) I also think that we have a tendency to add unrealistic pressure on ourselves to cherish every single moment. To live each second fully recognizing the weight of it all. To be on all the time. We expect ourselves to have the clarity of hindsight when we are currently experiencing the fog of raising littles. We are in the thick of it. And it can be foggy, mamas.
And so while we want to take in that message of presence and importance, we also need to extend grace and realism to ourselves. We are human. While it is a wonderful thought to keep perspective while the baby’s screaming, and the toddler’s throwing a fit, and dinner is burning, and the smoke alarm is going off, and we trip on the toy tractor in the midst of the chaos that these are the best days of our lives, it’s also ok to lose it…all of it: your perspective, your cool, your mind. You’re in the fog of motherhood. It’s hard. Give yourselves that moment and allow yourself to feel all the feels. Then, mama, you can reign it back in, regain your composure and perspective, apologize if need be, and keep going. We can have both accountability and grace. We can learn from our shortcomings without dwelling on them. We can aspire to be better without shaming ourselves for who we are in this very moment.
Please give yourself the grace to be imperfect in motherhood. This has value, too. We can be authentically messy. We can understand the gravity of this season all while releasing the pressure of perfection. We can learn from our mistakes without agonizing over them. What about you, mama? Are you giving yourself the grace you need? Or are you holding yourself to unattainably high standards?