Advice on 'Enjoying Every Minute' With Your Baby Is a Crock

The second you have a baby (actually, the second you get pregnant), everyone tells you to "seize the moment." Old women whisper it in line at the market: "Oh! Enjoy every second, it goes by too fast!" Your grandmother (who you know from stories didn't "enjoy every moment") tells you that every minute when her kids were young was her favorite. And even your parents, who you remember getting mad all the time, tells you "carpe diem." It's enough to make any mom go crazy. 

After all, anyone in the trenches with you who is actually an honest person will admit that not every moment is a blast. Sometimes I want to ask that older person how well they REALLY remember it because they couldn't possibly have enjoyed explosive poops, late night wake up calls, and teething. They just think they do now in retrospect.

Blogger Glennon at Momastery has an amazing post about the things people mean when they say "carpe diem." She says:

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Parenting is hard. Just like lots of important jobs are hard. Why is it that the second a mother admits that it’s hard, people feel the need to suggest that maybe she’s not doing it right? Or that she certainly shouldn’t add more to her load. Maybe the fact that it’s so hard means she IS doing it right ... in her own way ... and she happens to be honest .... But the fact remains that I will be that nostalgic lady. I just hope to be one with a clear memory. And here’s what I hope to say to the younger mama gritting her teeth in line:

It’s helluva hard, isn’t it? You’re a good mom, I can tell. And I like your kids, especially that one peeing in the corner. She’s my favorite. Carry on, warrior. Six hours till bedtime. 

No one expects a new mom of a baby to enjoy every moment. And if they do, then they are kind of jerks. Because parenting at any stage is hard (oh believe me, it gets harder), but people say this most often to mothers of young children.

Most people don't say to the mom of a wayward 16-year-old: "These are the best moments of your life!" But they sure as hell do when you have an 18-month-old. The fact is, we are usually doing the best we can to appreciate what we can, but parenting a baby or a young toddler is hard work. They may look cute, but they are not easy.

So here are some moments you can skip seizing and no one will judge you for it:

  • Diaper blow-outs: These invariably happen just as you are getting ready to walk out the door and are often the reason moms are late everywhere we go. 
  • Projective vomiting: This happens when you just changed shirts and sometimes when you are talking to your boss. The kid isn't sick. He's just a baby. 
  • Waking up at 2 a.m. (and 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. and 4:30 a.m ...): Any parent who could remember would also know how awful those first few months are for this reason. Not sleeping is reason enough not have another baby. 
  • The change in lifestyle: Maybe you weren't still going out all the time even just before baby. But you were likely a lot more free than you are now. The time after baby is stressful and scary and so different. There are no more New York Times crossword puzzle Sundays and sex Saturdays. Good bye to movie marathons and hangovers. Now it's all baby all the time and that doesn't always feel good.
  • Not knowing what you are doing: There were so many times that first year where I just cried because I felt so helpless and clueless. This isn't a fun feeling. 
  • The 40-pound diaper bag: My shoulders hurt so much from lugging that thing around and all my cute bags suddenly disappeared. 
  • Trying to travel: Have you ever flown on a plane with a diaper bag, a car seat, your own carry-on, a stroller, and a bag of games and still been under prepared? No? Then you've never flown with a baby. It's awful.
  • Not knowing why they are crying: Babies cry and cry and cry, sometimes without any reason. It can be so frustrating to try to suss out what is up with them and there is nothing "magical" about that feeling.
  • Being scared it lasts forever: Those first few weeks of parenthood are scary and bewildering and nearly every new mom has a "oh my God, is this forever?" moment. It's OK. You need not feel guilty about it.
  • Changes: One moment your baby sleeps through the night. The next he doesn't. One day he naps. The next day he refuses. It's maddening and it's OK to say so.
  • Bonus 11: Not showering: Because ew. Seriously. It totally sucks.

What moments were you not into "seizing"?

 

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