Friday, August 27, 2010

The Preschool Generation


I have been chatting with y'all on this blog for only about a month now, but already the feedback I am getting is so affirming, interesting, and even challenging.  One of the greatest things is that the blog has inspired conversations about all things Mommy, and allowed people to open up about their perspectives.

For example, my friend Julie wrote to me recently about being the mom of several preschool children, let's call these moms the Preschool Generation, and here is what she said:

You know how older women will say, “you will miss this one day… or embrace it, I wish mine were still young.”  Or recently I read in one of Dobsons books that most parents would give everything they own to have the time with their kids when they were little back.  It’s funny because I soak all those comments in and REALLY REALLY try and embrace things.  But, this morning in the shower (after an EXHAUSTING night)  Zane WAS pounding and screaming at the door while I was rushing in the shower, I thought, “I think people forget about these moments”…  Granted, I think that is a good thing it is our love forgetting the difficult parts… But, I have been reflecting on for a while from several significant conversations about how it is both glorious and exhausting to be a parent of young children.  Not just glorious.  Not just exhausting.  Both.  And, sometimes I think it can feed false guilt when older mothers say, “appreciate it now…” because they are forgetting… and they should.  Or I think it encourages women NOT to open up about the true challenges… It almost silences them.  Or, the other extreme they tend to say it is all horrible… and then that in itself isolates them because they push people away acting like such a victim.  So either extreme isolates – saying it is all blissful or all dreadful…

How many of you in the Preschool Generation have had someone say, "oh just enjoy these years because I wish my kids were still little?"  A perfect stranger said that to me just a couple of days ago.  And as Julie says, we do try and follow that advice.  We take mental snapshots of the sweet moments, and take time to cuddle and love on those babies while they still want hugs.

But does it also make you feel just a teensy bit guilty when you are absolutely struggling to keep sane through the hard physical and emotional labor of caring for preschoolers, and then someone tells you how great you have it?  I am not at all criticizing moms who give that advice, because I do think they have learned how fleeting childhood is and just want us to make the most of it.

So why do we sometimes bristle when we hear these kinds of comments?  Is it because we moms are just so ready to bash ourselves over the head with guilt?  Maybe because we need to be affirmed in how difficult this work actually is?  Because we already know that we'll forget the hardest parts?

I love how Julie wrote that being a Mommy is both glorious and exhausting.  The greatest honor and the hardest work.  Maybe we need to talk more about it being both?

3 comments:

  1. So true. I heard someone say recently that the days are long but the years are short. I think that sums it up beautifully because I know we've had some loooong days, but It does seem like the years are flying by. I can't believe my oldest is starting preschool in 2 weeks. How did that happen? But at the same time some days it feels like we've been struggling for 15+ hours and I look at the clock and it's only 7am! Thanks for your post, it's always great to have some camaraderie among bloggy friends.

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  2. As a mother of adult children... it's ALL hard, all the time, still, and it's all glorious, ALL the time, still. Everyone is right, and none of us would trade a single child for any of the stages that our child is in. BUT speaking for myself, I'm SO glad the childhood years are over, and I don't want to go back. You ladies help me remember!

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  3. Love your last line. It is just that isn't it. I applaud you for opening up the conversation this way. The action step is just talking about it as both isn't it? I love your blog and so enjoy how I get to have a peak into your thoughts, you are such a creative and funny and beautiful mom and I enjoy getting to know you through it!

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