Recently, the wonderfully talented Jennifer of Outsmarted Mommy wrote this post about wanting to find the rewind button. Since Jennifer is a fellow blogger who I respect and admire, and who gave me support and encouragement when I faced my first hater, this thought-provoking and beautifully written piece made me really consider why I hate being told to “Enjoy every moment.” So, thank you, Jennifer, for forcing me to reflect on the advice I’ve been scoffing at. And if you haven’t read her post, make sure you do!
After reading Jennifer’s post, I found myself questioning my own desire for the fast forward button. It will be great when she starts sleeping through the night, won’t it? I will be more rested when she’s not waking up three times a night to nurse, won’t I? It will be easier to address her needs when she can actually express what those needs are, won’t it? I have to believe these things, look forward to them, even if they’re not actually true, because that’s what makes this current stage bearable. Not even bearable, but possible. How can I face every day if I don’t think, hope, believe that there is an end in sight?
I can’t help but wonder: will I really miss these things? Even though everyone tells me I will, I can’t imagine it. At 3:48 this morning, I was unceremoniously jerked awake to my baby’s persistent wails. Even though she had eaten a little over two hours before, she was seemingly hungry. At least for the first five minutes, until her hunger gave way to her sleepiness and she refused to wake up. As I sat there, frustrated, exhausted, attempting to rationalize with a five month old that if she didn’t fill her belly now she would have to get up again in an hour, a fate desired by none, I thought: No way. No way will I miss this.
Where can I find the freakin’ pause button? Or better yet, the remote Adam Sandler had in Click so that I channel my future self, who of course has by then figured out this whole motherhood thing and has all the answers, and she can tell me what exactly it is I don’t want to miss out on.
Because “everyone” can’t be wrong, can they? The people who tell you to enjoy every moment clearly recognize that they did not and apparently regret that. They were probably offered the same advice on their journey through parenthood. But they also did not heed it. Is it even possible?
Because the truth is, I don’t know how to live in the moment. When I wake up in the middle of the night to feed my daughter, I don’t know how to feel anything but bone tired or think about anything other than my nice, warm bed. Knowing I am going to regret that I didn’t enjoy these moments that I wish away doesn’t make it any easier to enjoy them now. In fact, it makes it harder. It’s an enormous amount of pressure. It makes me feel even more frustrated and anxious. It makes me feel like I am just being set up for failure.
These are, of course, the rhetorical ramblings of an exhausted new mom who just realized that she hasn’t eaten anything in over twenty hours. But that doesn’t erase the fact that I am desperately seeking the fast forward button when I need to hit pause. And I don’t know how to stop.
I guess all I can do, all any of us can do, is take a deep breath and try to enjoy as many moments as I can.