Of course I know that having a child and guiding them safely toward independence and responsibility is a large job that you can’t just hand off to someone else. I do. There’s only a respite for me when said child is playing independently, sleeping, or in someone else’s care (husband, school, grandparents, etc).
Generally I love motherhood, but sometimes when it gets overwhelming, when the toys are strewn halfhazardly all over the place and it feels that my house is not really my own, when it seems that the monotony of “yes, you have to eat your fruit” will never come to an end, and the wait in the high and humid temps until she climbs into her carseat feels eternity-like, I think I’m never going to get to be one of those parents who stop me in the mall or the grocery store to tell me that they miss this age. They have teenagers or their children have long since left the house and they look back on their kids’ early childhood days with nostalgic fondness. “You never get these days back” and “They grow up so quickly.” They look at this little gymnast climbing all over me while I’m trying to actually, god forbid, get something done and sigh, “I miss those days.”
I’m certain that it’s only possible to say these things when you’re well-rested, when you’ve gotten to savor your morning coffee and had time to take more than a one-minute shower before someone calls for you desperately. Meaning, you can only appreciate them when they are long over and you’ve either forgotten them or forgiven something somehow. Until then, you’re just too busy trying to get from one day to the next.