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Please Stop Telling Moms to Enjoy Every Moment

02/05/2015 03:25 pm ET | Updated Apr 07, 2015
Toni Hammer

At the top of my "Things People Shouldn't Say to Moms" list is "sleep while the baby sleeps." I understand what the well-meaning individual is saying, but the reality of the situation is I have a house to clean, dishes to do and a meal to eat sometime before my kid graduates high school.

The second item on said list is, "Enjoy every moment, because they grow up so fast."

The kind-hearted soul is trying to let me know that the small things don't matter -- that before I know it, my kids will be moving out, and I should just enjoy the age they're at, the learning they're doing and how cute and wonderful they are.

But sometimes, saying "enjoy every moment" causes guilty feelings to emerge and fester, and the last thing I need more of on my plate is guilt.

When I hear I should be enjoying every moment, I feel shame and remorse because I'm not enjoying every moment and evidently, I should be. The reasons for not enjoying every moment are endless. First of all, I don't have time to enjoy every moment. Remember that house I cleaned while the baby was sleeping? It needs to be cleaned whether or not the kid is sleeping. And the dishes and laundry and bills to pay and grocery shopping to do so my kids I'm supposed to be enjoying can eat? That's all gotta be done, too.

And sometimes, there aren't moments to enjoy. Sleep training my kids was not something I wanted to enjoy. My daughter defying me through the terrible twos isn't a moment I want to enjoy or even remember. When my son fell over nothing and somehow got a cut right next to his eye by hitting the couch, of all things, I wasn't thinking about enjoying that moment. I was thinking, Oh dude, are you OK?, followed by, We're going to need to up our insurance coverage because it won't be long before your clumsiness lands us in the ER.

Of course there are moments when I do sit down and just hang out with my kids, and I do love those moments. And I don't think I'd be human if it didn't make me sad to think that one day, my kids will be out on their own, living their lives, and hopefully not saying what their therapist said about me when they call every Sunday to catch up.

But enjoying every moment just isn't possible. Please stop telling me to do it. It just makes me feel bad. I don't need another cliché about raising kids. What I need is a nap followed by a beer, a big plate of nachos and another episode of Gilmore Girls.

You can find more from Toni Hammer at Is It Bedtime Yet, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

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