Sunday, August 22, 2010

It gets harder?

On Sunday I was sitting in church. Tired. Watching Larry run up to the front of the chapel (again) and watching Lennon march up and down the aisles stealing toys/food then forcing kids to eat his pretzels. I was too tired to move or care.

Church wears me out these days. We run after both kids almost the entire time. Despite our best efforts, a woman still commented to me, "Wow, my mom would've NEVER let us get away with wandering around like that in church!"  I look around the chapel sometimes and think every other kid can sit still. Not those Wevers; their mom let's them get away with everything and they even smell like bacon on Fast Sunday!

So as church ended, the man sitting on our row introduced me to his 12 year old son. I commented at how nice it must be to have a child who sits in church and behaves himself. How nice it must be to have a child that age at all. He shook his head and insisted:

"No only gets harder. Enjoy these days while you can."


How often do we hear this? My mom says it, grandparents have said it, older friends say it. I don't really buy it. I just nodded and smiled but here's what I wanted to say:

"Gets harder? So when's the last time you changed a blow-out diaper in public? Did your 12 year old son dress as Spiderman yesterday to run errands only to throw a huge tantrum at the entrance of Blockbuster? When's the last time you cleaned up his breakfast/lunch/dinner off the floor on your hands and knees? No carseats?  That sounds rough. Does your 12 year old cry for days at a time because he's teething? Oh he's not teething? Hmmm. It must be hard that he can babysit himself while you run errands. It's probably difficult to watch him get into the car on his own and buckle his own seatbelt. It must wear you out that he dresses, feeds, and bathes himself everyday. Brushes his own teeth. Makes his own bed. Puts his own dishes away. Mows the lawn. Responds to punishments ie: grounding. It's probably tough when you go to the pool and watch him swim on his own without floaties/inner tubes/arm wings or clinging to you. Does your 12 year old sling soil all over the house from potted plants everyday?  Does he throw all his food off his plate to signal he's done?  Does he empty cupboards of pots and pans or climb into the dishwasher while you're trying to clean the kitchen?  Yes, it must really be hard to sit week after week in church next to a quiet 12 year old who doesn't even move the entire time. You're right. Excuse me while I run to the front of the chapel to retrieve my son while he kicks and screams and I fake-smile until I get him out into the hallway."

I realize I'm simplifying it. I know other issues become difficult but honestly, people who are past the baby/toddler stage forget so quickly. Give them a solid week with young kids again and they'd beg for that 12 year old back.

It just proves that we're rarely content in our life's current stage. When I was in high school I just wanted to go to college...then life would really start! I got to college and suddenly I was buying groceries (deodorant costs $5?!) and realized high school was easy. Then towards the end of college I dreamed of working full-time and making more finals! Working full-time came and I sometimes dreaded teaching tired sophomores at 6:45 in the morning. When I was dating I wanted to be married. Some days in marriage, dating sounds so appealing again (to Tod of course). And now a 12 year old son seems so easy compared to this. My good friend Kelli lives a dream life in New York City but recently blogged about being in a rut. If it happens to her, it must happen to all of us.

My mom warned that this would happen and begged me never to "wish away any of the phases" of my kids' lives. It's not that I want them to grow up today but how can it get HARDER when it looks so much EASIER?

Although p.s. these boys are so cool.


Lindsey F. said...

Amen Holly!! That's all I have to say. Oh, and I think you have a true talent for putting reality into words. Oh yeah, and I miss seeing you all the time!

marci and josh said...

It's so hard to be content with the life we are currently living. I have a friend that just sent her daughter off to college, and I realized I'm not ready for that, but a few weeks away would save my sanity.
I would tell you that it does get easier in the next stage, but I have two kids that only listen to their father. A little boy that makes his way around sacrament meeting to other families that give him all of their toys to play with because they are afraid to make him mad. And it doesn't help that the loudest kid in primary is the Primary Pres. son (mine). It's embarrassing and I feel like how can I teach all the other kids, if I can't control my own. Good luck, from reading your blog I can tell you are an amazing mom, who actually deals with what the rest of us are dealing with, but we are too ashamed to admit it.

Ginger said...

iPad. My kids got one handed to them yesterday by the guy in the row in front of us and suddenly, a peace fell over the congregation. Kind of sad when other people are more equipped for little kids in sacrament meeting than I am but I barely get there let alone pack a bag load of crap.

MediocreMama said...

Ginger, will you buy me an iPad?

KelliJamison said...

You're lucky that you at least have cute kids...imagine having to go through all of this with kids that look like gremlins;)

Maybe we should just all switch places for a week, it would give us all perspective of what we have that's great in our lives. If you came to NYC without your kids for a week, guaranteed, by the end of it, you would be counting down the days to get home to them . And my life would seem much less hectic if I hung out with your kids for a week!

BTW...thanks for the blog shout reader ship just doubled from 1 to 2!

Sarah said...

I think it's a different kind of hard when they are older...the kind where their choices have eternal consequences. Yikes! I'll take a dirty diaper or too over that in a heart beat...

I, too, have a hard time enjoying the "now." There are several times a day where I force myself to stop and enjoy what my kids are doing and to love them a little bit more (if that's possible).

I think denying that ALL stages of parenting is hard is a diservice to us as mothers. It makes us feel like if we complain at all that we aren't embracing our divine role in "the plan." It IS hard and we are doing a great job!

Ashley K. said...

You are so right on Holly! I love how your blog is so real. Thank you for saying what we all want to be screaming!

My thought... enjoy moments. There are too many crazy, overwhelming experiences that take over the day. Each night when we put the kids to bed, we ask them what there "Happy Experience" for the day was. It is a great "moment" to remember from the day, even though the day itself was mostly mayhem.

p.s. I have a really good friend who lives in your ward! Jessica Summerhays.

Jules said...

yes! sundays are exhausting. I don't think anyone in my family understands me when I say that, two small children, teaching a primary class of 12, no nap for the two small children because church is at 1.
I try to sit by some of the young women in the ward and then my 2 year old will go and sit by them for half of sacrament. that makes it a little less stressful for me. :)

Erica said...

Totally agree with this one! I get the behavioral stuff later on but toddlers have got to be the hardest physically speaking.

Carolee said...

Amen and Amen!!

diana said...

I can't believe the lady who made the comment about her mom never allowing her to run around in church. Does she have kids? I wonder if it's the same lady who asked me in my 7th month of pregnancy, "Are you sure you're not having twins?".

And really??? Is that my shy, cute, little sophomore soccer buddy Kelli living that dream life over in NYC?

Katie Ross said...

I've had numerous people also tell me it only gets harder. Isn't TWO of them at the same time hard enough?

After a day like today I can't imagine it getting harder. Grocery shopping w/ 2 two yr olds sucks! Then I left my wallet in my other purse @ home & upon arriving home one of them rolled the watermelon off the table-cracked it & splashed juice all over. And I'm having another one? I'm crazy!

But even w/ all that I still love them to pieces.

mandy* said...

Can you also ask him if he woke up at 4:30 IN THE MORNING to feed his child? And then did he have to deal with a poop and spit-up extravaganza that required him to change his child's and his clothes? At which point, was his child wide awake and want to have "dessert" before going back to sleep? Then just as he got back in bed, did his older child wake up saying he was hungry and did he feed this child a banana and send him back to bed? Then did that child get back up and say he had to go "poop-poops?" Then did that child go back to bed for 5 minutes only to wake up again?

Will you ask him that for me?? Thanks.

Brooke said...

You're boys are pretty cool.

And we should be in the same ward. Benson & Sydney would make Lennon & Larry look like angels!

Loriann Jensen said...

Oh, it totally gets harder! Wait till you have 4 little ones and then they make you a freakin cub scout den leader and there's seven 8 yr olds climbing a pine tree (who climbs pine trees???) trying to catch a cat who consequently attempts to scratch their eyes out (explain those scratches to their mom) all while 3 of your own kids are running in every direction and the little one is so hungry he's trying to nurse through your shirt. But I could not agree with you more! I get that from parents allllll the time too, so annoying.

Loriann Jensen said...

One more thing . . .(apparently I have a lot to say on the subject) I have a theory on this: People with older kids say that because they've had the last 7 or so years off! I think the school age years are really pretty nice. Then the kids get older, have more activities, more attitude, it probably gets harder and then the parents are saying what happened to my sweet little boy?? Remember when he used to run naked around the neighborhood- he was so cute then. Just a theory. And for the record, I wouldn't know anything about kids running naked around the neighborhood. . . except that I do know.