Sometimes as parents we are so focused on the future, that we can’t wait to get out of this stage, or age with our kids. So much so, that we don’t see the good parts going on right now.
Recently, my older brother and my three-year-old nephew visited us from out of province. My nephew has not been the easiest child. He is this unique hybrid, of brilliant and heart melting, yet full of intense energy and like most three year olds, he is run by his emotions. I could see in my brother’s face, that parenthood was taking it’s toll, and not at all what he had pictured.
I am the more seasoned parent between us, having four kids under my belt, while he has two.
Like I had always done in the past, I started to launch into my long list of complaints and hardships that I was going through with my kids. I used to do this so that he knew that he is not alone and that we all go through it with our kids.
Suddenly, I stopped babbling, realizing I was talking about issues that we were problem solving months ago.
Did I even have a crisis going on right now? Oh yeah, my five-year-old daughter won’t stop talking in third person. It can drive me up the wall, and I am pretty sure she know it pushes my buttons, but really? I was reaching.
After years of language delays and childhood anxiety with my older kids, then the chaos of having twins, we were actually… dare I say it… going through an easy phase.
I, like most parents, am so caught up in my to-do lists and so focused on what isn’t going right, that I often miss what is.
My husband and I will often fantasize about the day that we can all go to a restaurant without a sippy cup being whipped across the table, or being able to get projects done around our home, while all four of our kids play happily, without requiring supervision.
But maybe this too, right now, is the easy part?
So what if most of our cupboards and closets in our home are a disaster, or that my car needs a tune up, or that some days my kids forget to brush their teeth, and I am too exhausted to get on their case about it.
Ya, we’ve got kids in diapers, and it is nearly impossible to go out with all four kids without someone having an epic meltdown. But the older our kids get will also bring its own set of challenges.
In this moment everyone is happy. Everyone is healthy. We have some semblance of a routine going on.
Sure, fights between kids break out, and our twins are approaching the terrible-twos, complete with hitting and biting. But we deal with it in the moment and move on.
Chances are, next week a cold or flu will hit our home and my husband and I will be launched back into that pressure cooker situation we know all too well, when we are cleaning up vomit, or consoling a screaming child during the night. It has been a couple of weeks after all, which means we are due.
As I look around my home, with clutter piling up on our counter, countless things that need repair and dishes sitting in my sink, I think to myself, the to-do list will always be there. It will never be finished. My kids will always find a way to drive me crazy and push my buttons.
This is the easy part. It’s the moments in between illness. It’s the moments between those problems I can’t solve on my own. It’s the moments between those inevitable stressful times, every parent goes through, that tests your marriage, your patience and your strength.
The easy part isn’t perfect, tear free, or sterile. It’s laughter, it’s learning, it’s cuddles, it’s teaching moments, it’s the small triumphs.
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