There is a commercial on TV right now for a new show that will be coming out soon called "Parenthood". I really don't know much about the show other than that the commercial really gets me each time I see it. It goes something like this...The word 'parenthood' flashes on the screen soon followed by the words 'is too short'. Cue the song 'Forever Young' (which by itself almost always makes me cry) and clips of the show where parents are interacting with their children of various ages. I get a lump in my throat every single time.
First I need to say that I disagree slightly with the commercial, but only on the semantic level. Parenthood can't really be 'too short' because parenthood never really ends. From the moment of becoming a mother or father, you are changed forever. Something inside shifts and completely alters your outlook on life. You will always be a parent. But, I understand what they mean and what they are trying to get across. That period of time that we have as parents where our children depend on us completely for nurture and guidance is so short. We raise our children, we hope and pray we have prepared them for life, and although we are always there for them, they will move on into adulthood...in the blink of an eye.
My children are still very young, but I see how swiftly the last 6 1/2 years have gone. Wasn't it just yesterday that my husband and I were bringing home our firstborn from the hospital? It was just a moment ago that we were oohing and aahing over his first steps and first words. Now he's in first grade and reading books! He's gotten old enough to have his own opinions and thoughts. And, he's been joined by 3 brothers who are just as quickly moving through the different stages of childhood.
Today at my MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group I was talking to another MOPS mom who is as close to being in the exact same stage of motherhood as me as anyone can be. Her fourth child was born just two weeks after my fourth. And, our other children are very similar in age too. She mentioned a book she recently read and said the thing from this book that stuck out to her was the question, 'Why do you want to be a stay home mom?' Her answer was 'to be with her children'. And, she said that this challenged her to remember that as she went through her days.
This really struck a chord with me as well. I get so caught up in the busy-ness of daily life. Everyone needs to be fed, dressed, and cared for. There are 2 sets of diapers to be changed (2 year old and infant), laundry to be done, dishes to be washed, floors to be swept, bills to be paid, etc., etc. And, each day as a SAHM I get up and do the same things again. It never all gets done and there seems to be no end in sight. I get stressed and frustrated that I can't seem to keep a clean and orderly house. 95% of the time if someone dropped in unexpectedly I'd be embarrassed by the state of my home.
And yet, this means nothing to my children. All they know is that they want and need mommy. With the addition of our baby Joseph, who requires so much of my time, the older boys are starting to feel the effects. They are missing their time with mommy. And, then I put pressure on myself to get stuff around the house done. There's a constant 'to do' list running in my head. I find myself frequently saying to my children, "Just a minute", "Mommy needs to finish this first", "I'll come help you after I get this done". I've realized that I'm pushing my children aside more and more frequently.
Yes, there are still chores to be done. But, would my children prefer I mop the floor or play a game with them? Would they rather I prepare a 'from scratch' meal or sit with them as they read a book or watch a show? Which will they remember?
And, when my children reach that age where they are too old to sit on my lap, will I care about the clutter & dust that was in my house while they were small? Or, will I long to return to the time when I can hold them? Am I being purposeful in my motherhood? Am I enjoying my children in the stage they are in now?
This time really is too short.