Do the Parenting Years Really Fly By?

0

“Enjoy it because it will all go by so quickly.”

We have all heard this nugget of advice in regards to raising our children. Is it true? I believe so. Is it helpful? For me, it depends on what stage of my daughter’s fleeting childhood is happening. Do the years fly by as quickly as they say? I’ve done some reflecting, as I prepare for my daughter to turn five and begin Kindergarten. How would I have responded to this statement if said to me at various stages of my daughter’s life? What would I have said if I were being completely honest, with no filter?

Early Babyhood

You better run while you can. I can’t decide whether to cry or to yell, so maybe I’ll do both. Do you spend every single day alone with a screaming, sick infant in a claustrophobic one bedroom apartment? Do you second guess every decision you make, knowing that this precious tiny person is completely dependent on you to somehow make her feel better? HAVE YOU NOT TRULY SLEPT FOR MONTHS? Then shut your mouth.

Okay, now I feel guilty. I am so blessed to have this beautiful child, and her health issues could be so much worse. Only a truly crappy person would be this ungrateful. I’ve looked forward to this for years, what on earth is wrong with me? 

Cuddling on the Couch and Sleeping Through the Night

I think you may actually have a point. She is already becoming such a lovely little person. Has anybody on this earth ever been cuter? No, absolutely not. And I’m sure she’s more advanced than other kids her age. I am so lucky, I was given the perfect child! I can’t wait until she can feed herself, and go potty, and can really enjoy the playground, and can have a real conversation with me. Come on time, hurry up. Oh crap, I’m not supposed to be wishing time away.

Tantrums and Potty Training

No, just no, I’m not feeling you on this. I always thought I’d be able to stop my child from throwing herself on the floor, writhing and screaming like a complete maniac. When will this end? I cannot wait until she is a little older and I don’t have to deal with this. And can’t she be potty trained already? I’m so sick of sitting in the bathroom with her while nothing happens. When is this usually done? If time could skip ahead a little bit, that would be great.

Right Around Her Third Birthday

Oh my God, you are so right! It seems like just yesterday I was feeding her a midnight bottle, and now look at her! She is amazing. Wait a minute, I’ll never feed her a bottle again. Ever. We will never again cheer and clap because she pee-peed in the potty just like Elmo does on her DVD. That is so sad I could cry. I will never again wish for a single moment to go by.

But gosh it’s been a long day. How long until my husband gets home from work? I hope it goes by quickly. I’ll start appreciating each moment tomorrow.

Pre-Kindergarten

You are so, so, so, SO right. Look at how independent she has become. Sure I’m still her rock now, but it won’t be too long until she wants nothing to do with me. Why didn’t I listen to you before? If time continues to pass this quickly, all of this good, sweet little kid stuff will be gone in the blink of an eye. I need to stop the clock. I need to rewind time. Why didn’t you make me listen to you?

About to Turn Five

I know. And I am trying to come to peace with this. I’m trying to live in the moment, even if it’s a bad one. When I’m angry at her, I stop and think about how quickly she will be grown and can calm down and see things through her eyes. I’ll admit, sometimes I still wish time away, but much more often I wish for it to freeze. Knowing it will never stop makes me sad, but it’s also exciting because I believe her future is so bright.

Maybe those horrid teenage years will never happen to us. She just told me the other day that she wants to live with us forever. So there it is. She certainly wouldn’t change her mind about that right?

Oops, I wasn’t paying attention to the game my daughter is creating as we go along. Ugh, I’m kinda bored, I wish I could read a book. I wonder when she will create this games ending. Will she notice if I sneak off? Who am I kidding? She always notices.

Oh my God, she is so adorable. I’m the luckiest women in the world.

The Takeaway

Maybe you see some of yourself in my reactions, or perhaps you are convinced I am crazy. Either way, for most of us, it is true that the childhood years fly by. It is also true that thinking about it is not always helpful. Conversely, (because nothing about parenthood can be straightforward) it can be a good reminder and help make the bad days more bearable. If it helps you focus on and cherish every moment, let it be your mantra. If it brings about negative feelings, let it go, and find something else to say to yourself that brings you comfort and empowers you to be the best parent you can be. That of course is the goal of all of this and the most important thing of all.

Previous articleHorseback Riding at Neely Equestrian Center
Next articleParticipate in “Screen-Free” Week with these Ideas
Jenny was raised in Ohio, and after a decade long stay in Boston, moved to Columbus in 2016. She moved to Massachusetts alone but returned with the two loves of her life: her husband whom she married in 2012, and her daughter who was born in March of 2014. You could say the trip to the northeast was a successful one. Her top reasons for coming home were family, weather, traffic, and housing prices. Jenny lives for time spent with her little family of three. The trio has had so much fun exploring all that Columbus has to offer since moving to the area. Jenny looks forward to sharing her favorite spots in Columbus; as well as her knowledge and experiences of how mental health impacts parents and children; and what it is like raising an only child. She works as a counselor, reads at least two books weekly, and loves to practice yoga when time and energy allow. The key to a good day for Jenny is her morning routine: early morning cuddles with her daughter and enjoying a good cup of coffee before the craziness of life begins.