Motherhood

For When I’m Wishing These Days Away… {Two Words!}

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We’ve all have it said to us, “You’ll miss these days when they’re gone.” Perhaps it was when you were single, or studying hard in college, or the mother of young children.

I remember hearing it when I was looking forward to being out of school so I could get a job, my parents said, “You’ll miss these days…you’ll be wishing you could go back to school when you have all the responsibilities of a job.”

And now as a mother I hear it more often than I’d like {and usually on the days where all I can think about is a quiet moment to myself}, “You’ll miss these days, when they’re so little, innocent, and cuddly…”

I get it, I do, because I’ve been caught saying and believing the same thing. It is well-meaning encouragement. It’s our way of bringing perspective to those who are wishing a season would pass quickly, encouraging them to enjoy and revel in the beauty of where they are at, and for me that is having three kids, three and under.

But here’s why I’m eliminating this kind of talk from my vocabulary and how I want to respond instead when someone expresses disdain and discouragement for their season of life.

***

When I tell myself, “C’mon Charissa, be happy, enjoy your kids…afterall, you’ll miss these days… when they’re older and you can’t hold them anymore…” I feel myself only getting more frustrated and loaded with guilt because in my heart I do want them to be OVER.

In fact, I told my husband this morning, “I am so OVER this stage!” The constant whining, screaming, the sleepless nights and napless afternoons.

I don’t want to be afraid of acknowledging that I’m tired, worn-out, and at the end of my rope many days. Truth be told, I’d rather have this young family season a distant memory, with the pictures hanging on my wall, than my current reality.

Yes, I know that I’ll miss these days. But that’s life. I look at my little girl who is only 1.5 years old and already I feel like I’m missing the stage when she was a squishy, soft newborn; it slid right through my fingers! Sometimes I miss the ease and simplicity of being single. And sometimes I want to go back to the fun of my innocent school days. We all have a tendency to filter out the bad, hence the reason we keep having children or saying things like “ahhh the good ol’ days.”

But even though it is inevitable that I will miss this season once it’s over (insert your current season), I can still have expectancy and curiosity for what’s ahead. My husband and I once asked a woman we deeply respect and admire what’s been her favorite season so far in her life. She didn’t even hesitate to respond, “This one.” She is 65 years old and at that time we were young and in love. I will never, NEVER forget her words to us that day. It gave me so much excitement for life, that with Jesus, every season actually gets better, not necessarily easier, but definitely more rich, full, and beautiful. 

I think we all need to admit that we are in a constant state of wishing something was over, or of longing for something we don’t have, those feelings never go away this side of heaven.

I told my babysitter before she left today that it’s really hard having all of them so little and helpless, and that sometimes the best I can do is join the choir of crying right alongside my kiddos. She looked at me, not with shock or surprise, but she smiled and reassured me, “It’s normal.”

I can’t tell you how much comfort I felt, how much that encouraged my heart to keep going, keep loving my children, even when I feel angry, exhausted, and like the worst mother in the world.

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It’s normal.

The next time someone expresses their longing for something you’ve already experienced, or their constant ache for what you now despise, or the wishing away of what you think to be a wonderful time…instead of quickly responding with something like, “ohhh you’ll miss these days when they’re gone…” simply try telling them this: It’s normal.

Because with that little phrase we…

Acknowledge their season.

Verify their feelings.

Remind them they are not alone,  

and that they are seen.

Instill an excitement and expectancy for the present and  future.

Declaring “it’s normal” is to join hands with someone in what it means to be human, and in doing so we bring healing and hope, just like Jesus did with us.

Reassuring someone it’s normal to feel fed-up with singleness, to despise being a mother some days, to desire a spouse, or to be tired of their job, is one of the best ways we can help each other to embrace the difficult and the delightful of every stage of life, so that even at 65 years old we can say without a doubt that this is the best season by far! 

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