What, How, Why: My 20+ Years of Parenting
Its officially been over 20 years that I have been called a mother. I have four children that range in age from 21 (almost 21) down to 10. A lot has happened in these 20+ years.
As I look back on the past generation (yes, one generation equals 20 years) of this monumental calling, I realize that my experience deserves a wink. A glimpse. A shot at fifteen minutes of fame. Or, maybe nothing at all. But, here it goes.
If you are a young mom drowning in the mundane duties of side order chef, laundry loader, calm down singer, carpooler, floor scrubber, or heck…. a mammary milk supplier… rest assured THIS PHASE goes by so fast. Trust me.
In 20 years time I have traded the following life-altering experiences as a young mom for the replacement alternatives as a now “seasoned” mom:
- Sleepless nights —> sleep-all-the-time teenagers
- Diapers and formula/nursing —> unending trips to the grocery store to fill the always empty refrigerator and pantry
- Baby and toddler car seats —>borrowed car keys to teen drivers that come home way too late
- Preschool tuition —> college tuition
- Book fair purchases —> yearbooks, college textbooks, laptops, cell phones
- Christmas outfits —> Homecoming and/or Prom attire
- Family outings and vacays —> “I don’t have time or want to go on a trip with you”
- Baby wipes —> acne wipes
And the list goes on and on.
So, begs the question: Would I do it all over again?
YES. IN A HEARTBEAT.
IF only I could turn back time.
Instead, the beating of my heart keeps me going from one moment to the next. Each beat reminds me to cherish each moment with my grown children.
Knowing I only get a limited number of heartbeats helps me stay grounded in the reality of the speed of life passing by. And, so far… it feels as fast at 186,000 miles per hour.
2016 is SOOO different from 1996
In one generation I have seen the superfluous changes in parenting. From strollers to cell phones, from scrapbooks (real photos from film) to snap chat, from email to texting…. SOOO much has changed.
I almost feel sorry for the young moms in this decade. They have so much more at their disposal, yet they are so overwhelmed by the effects of instant everything.
- Play dates are arranged on social media, rather than by picking up the phone and CALLING a friend for a get together.
- Fast food and COFFEE shops on every corner are shaping the expanding waistlines and the need to buy more yoga pants.
- Home parties (for mom’s night out) have been replaced by facebook parties.
- Cooking at home is even more rare than the nightly meals once gracing the dining room table.
- Speaking of the dining room table, this piece of household furniture resembles more of a desk, a craft area, or a museum piece.
- Children now want (and usually receive) more gifts than ever from classmates that may move away… tomorrow. That $25 price tag for a gift? Nobody blinks at it.
Please know I am not raining on your parade.
My hat is off to you, young mom. I get the pressure you feel to just lie down and rest for 15 minutes. I understand the need to go to the bathroom without an audience. I have been there with the baby strapped in the carseat, sitting in the stroller, crying his eyes out while you are crying because of shampoo in your eyes.
What my mission is in writing this blurb is: I want to encourage you. Keep swimming with the current. Keep getting up every day and trying to squeeze in that workout. Keep learning how to make one new meal that your babies will someday brag to a friend and sing your praises. Keep picking up those socks and finding their homes or strayed partners. Keep singing those lullabies. Keep on mommying on.
For in 20 years, you’ll be trading your young mommy hat for a seasoned hat. And hair dye.