Finding the Positive in Parenting When the Days are Hard

When my daughter was a few months old, I vividly remember pacing in our kitchen holding her, trying everything I could think of to soothe her. She had been screaming for over an hour at this point. This was our nightly routine. I’d talked to so many moms, read so many blogs, asked her doctor, and yet this was still happening. With tears streaming down my face, I thought about what was happening.

Since it was too cold to go outside, I was trapped in our little house. I thought of my hard-working husband trying to sleep in the other room so that he could go to school and work the next morning. It was late and I was exhausted. Smelling of stale milk and spit up, I worried that our downstairs neighbors thought I was the worst mom ever because they could probably hear my daughter screaming every night. I questioned myself for ever thinking I could handle being a mom.

The usual prayer asking God to please help us ran through my head. I felt like I was being swallowed up in a mixture of exhaustion and emotion, when a song I’d heard before began to play in my mind.

“You’re gonna miss this. You’re gonna want this back. You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast. These are the good times, so take a good look around. You may not know it now, but you’re gonna miss this.”

Then the magic happened.

No, wait.

My delirious tired mom brain is messing up this story.

Nothing magical happened. She kept on screaming for another 30 minutes, my feet got colder and colder on the tile floor, I still reeked of milk, and I still questioned myself for being capable of taking care of this tiny human. However, in the coming days, I found myself trying to appreciate those exhausting days. Trying to savor them, despite how physically and emotionally draining they were at times.

As I did this, my happy days with my daughter became happier. My difficult days were still difficult, but I knew they’d pass and that this wasn’t how it was going to be forever.

Finding the Positive in Parenting

Back in college, one of my professors had told me that as I became a teacher, there would be trying moments and rewarding moments. She told me to use the rewarding moments to remind me why I began teaching and to motivate me to keep going. She suggested writing down something on a calendar every day, something that reminded me why I loved teaching. Sometimes it was a funny quote, sometimes it was a story, other times it was just simply that I had a good day.

I think the same concept applies to motherhood. I try to journal moments for me and my children to enjoy, or to at least share my happy mom moments with my husband, mom, or another mom friend. When I do this, I tend to remember those rewarding mom moments more, and the hard ones less.

While I always noticed the happy parts of being a mom, I never gave them any recognition. The ones I did give recognition to were the hard parts—as evident from my text messages to my husband:

“She woke up three times last night. I am so tired.”

“Seriously. Another poopy diaper.”

“Your kid might kill me if she gets on this couch one more time.”

“Toddler for sale. No, she’s free. I’m having grandma come get her.”

As I scrolled through my texts, I realized there were no text messages like these:

“I love our daughter! She keeps coming and giving me kisses and I love it!”

“She helped me put the laundry in the washer—it was so cute!”

“Your kid has the best dance moves!”

“Thanks for letting me live my dream and be a stay at home mom. I love being home!”

Finding the Positive in Parenting

As I’ve tried more to be grateful for the ups and downs, I’ve realized I am going to miss this. I already do. I miss my newborn snuggles that kept me from doing anything I needed to. I miss the late-night nursing sessions when I just wanted to sleep. I miss having my arms and back ache from carrying my daughter everywhere since she couldn’t walk on her own. With that being said, I’m trying my best to remember I will miss these toddler tantrums, the splashes from the tub, the yogurt-y kisses I get as thanks, and so much more.

So tell me mamas, what do you miss? Or maybe, what can’t you wait to miss?

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