Only Young Once, Thank Goodness!

To all the advice givers, grandparents and meddling humans who look at you and your kids and say, “Enjoy it now. It goes so fast.” I say, “Shut up!” I’m so tired of people telling me to enjoy this time because they’re only little once and, in a blink of an eye, they’ll be grown up. Thank you very much, but stop. You only say that because you don’t remember how hard it is when they’re young. To all the parents who are in the thick of it right now, I feel you. This is hard.

I know what it’s like for you. After a long day at work, you run home, start dinner, pray it doesn’t burn as you run out to pick up the kids from their activities. You try to have a normal dinner but the kids are tired and hungry (and maybe a little crabby). You pour wine. After dinner one or all of the kids needs help with homework. At this point trying to get them to bathe is like herding cats so you give up and pray their teachers won’t smell them and call child protective services. Bedtime is a battle because they beg to stay up later but you know they’re tired and all you can think about is having some quiet after they are asleep. If this doesn’t push you to scream, consider it a victory.

If you have more than one child, bedtime can last an hour—after all, it’s the only time you get to quietly talk with one another. It’s great to connect here but now you need sleep more than they do. You don’t want to rush them through the 17th story of what Sally, or Aubrey or Stella ate at lunch or made in art, but you really don’t care. I get it. I don’t care either. When you finally get them all in bed, good luck not hearing that they can’t sleep, it’s too hot, or they need a drink. Even if you collapse into your bed with your clothes on and pass out there until morning, you deserve a Parent-Of-The-Year-Award, because this is hard.

For anyone wondering if it’s supposed to be this hard, I feel you. And no, it’s not supposed to be this hard. We put way too much pressure on ourselves as parents to do everything and be everywhere. Many folks pulling the only-young-once card may not have worked full-time, or had all their kids in activities, or were required to be at every conference or game or performance.

The thing about kids is they are only young once, so good job parents. You’re doing the best you can to make the most of their childhood. Is it making you crazy? Yes, but it’s also proving that you are SuperMom or SuperDad. The next time a well-meaning person says their sage bit of advice regarding my children, I’ll try to restrain myself from punching them in the face and politely respond, “Thank goodness, because I’m tired!”

This week I wish you the knowledge that you are the best parent you can possibly be, and that assurance will last forever, or at least longer than your children’s younger years.