“I can’t even carpe fifteen minutes in a row, so a whole diem is out of the question.”

My friend Lori shared this brilliant parenting article by Glennon Melton—it’s the perfect answer to the common refrain of “Enjoy every minute of this, it goes by so quickly.” Turns out, my (silent) response of “THANK GOD” is not entirely inappropriate.

A few excerpts:

“Every time I’m out with my kids — this seems to happen: An older woman stops us, puts her hand over her heart and says something like, ‘Oh, Enjoy every moment. This time goes by so fast.’ Everywhere I go, someone is telling me to seize the moment, raise my awareness, be happy, enjoy every second, etc, etc, etc.

I know that this message is right and good. But, I have finally allowed myself to admit that it just doesn’t work for me. It bugs me. This CARPE DIEM message makes me paranoid and panicky. Especially during this phase of my life – while I’m raising young kids. Being told, in a million different ways to CARPE DIEM makes me worry that if I’m not in a constant state of intense gratitude and ecstasy, I’m doing something wrong. …

Last week, a woman approached me in the Target line and said the following: ‘Sugar, I hope you are enjoying this. I loved every single second of parenting my two girls. Every single moment. These days go by so fast.’

At that particular moment, Amma had arranged one of the new bras I was buying on top of her sweater and was sucking a lollipop that she must have found on the ground. She also had three shop-lifted clip-on neon feathers stuck in her hair. She looked exactly like a contestant from Toddlers and Tiaras. I couldn’t find Chase anywhere, and Tish was grabbing the pen on the credit card swiper thing WHILE the woman in front of me was trying to use it. And so I just looked at the woman, smiled and said, ‘Thank you. Yes. Me too. I am enjoying every single moment. Especially this one. Yes. Thank you.'”

In addition to making me feel less guilty about liking my children most while they’re asleep, the article provides a rather hilarious look at why it’s okay to not love every minute. And that, perhaps, makes it easier to truly appreciate the minutes that really matter.

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Doug Smith on January 20, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Really good. I think for women the pain of child-rearing is ultimately forgotten not unlike the pain of child birth. Plus there’s something a bit passive aggressive about saying that my idyllic child-rearing days are more idyllic than yours, like saying my trip to Europe was so much more richer than yours was., When we got back from Napa/Sonoma, at least 3,000 people asked me if we had been to V. Sattui winery. When I said no, they made it abundantly clear that I had completely missed the Napa experience.

  2. Posted by Laura on January 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Heather shared this article with me just last week, and I was grateful to read it (and amused by it), too. I think what often gets forgotten is that ecstasy can only be ecstasy because it’s not constant. I think of it as the whole unity of opposites thing… we only know the rapture of raising children because we also know the agony, and we cannot understand and appreciate the one without the other. For me, parenting has provided both my most intense experiences of joy and beauty AND of desperation and agony. The two are, I think, inseparable.

  3. Posted by Laugh at Jessie on January 22, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    I don’t know how mother’s function. I am seriously in awe of the sacrifice given. It all looks like agony to me.

  4. Posted by Karyl on January 22, 2012 at 6:53 pm

    There is a lot of agony – especially between ages 12 and 18 – the best is yet to come!

  5. Posted by Nicky on January 27, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    It’s lucky they’re so stinkin’ cute 🙂 But despite the “agony,” I’d have another. I must forget the pain of childrearing quickly…

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