It Really Does Go By Fast.
My sister-in-law recently posted the following link on her Facebook feed to a blog written by a woman who took umbrage to an elderly lady who told her, while her tired kids were acting up in a parking lot, to enjoy her children while they’re little because it goes by so fast.
The author acknowledged the joys of raising kids but also noted it can be “relentless and boring and exhausting and infuriating”. She admits one day the pain of raising kids will fade and she’ll remember these days more fondly and how quickly they really did fade. For now, however, it can be chaotic. She also swears when she’s older she’ll never tell a young parent to enjoy raising children because it goes quickly
I understand where she’s coming from. I also understand why my sister-in-law relates to it. She and my brother are raising two youngsters (aged 6 and 9), and like all children, they’re a handful. Anyone who’s ever raised a child understands. It really is relentless, boring, exhausting and infuriating. Your life is not your own. It revolves around your children.
My wife and I discovered this the hard way when raising our son. Each stage of childhood – infancy, toddler, “terrible twos”, kindergarten-age, school-age, “tweens” and teenage years – bring their own unique challenges.
When our son was growing up there were times when older relatives and friends would advise us to treasure those moments because they quickly pass. My wife and I would joke that they’re not going fast enough. When you’re parenting you have little time for reflection or perspective. If you’re a decent parent your children are your priority. You’re constantly caring for them. You must keep them safe, clean, warm, fed, clothed, hydrated, healthy, educated and entertained. It’s truly is a daunting, all-consuming task.
Children really do change your life. They’re a costly undertaking. Forget about going anywhere and do anything on a whim. Forget about keeping up with the latest fashions and trends. Forget about nightclubbing and spontaneous adventures. Forget about romantic vacations and expensive journeys and late-night parties and lazy weekends. As a parent, your life is regulated and regimented and controlled by your children. Anyone who intends on having children really doesn’t know what they’re in store for, no matter how much well-prepared they believe they are.
And yet, raising children to adulthood is perhaps the most important thing you’ll ever do in your life. You can be proud if you parented your kids through childhood without a significant amount of tragedy and drama and psychological issues. They’ll have to deal with whatever adulthood throws at them on their own, but if they go on to become well-adjusted adults, it’s proof you’re a great parent. You’ll still have to be there for them if they seek your advice or help later on in their lives, but how you raised them should give them the ability to deal with their personal dramas without much input from you.
Time is relative, and when you’re raising children it can feel like a long slog with no end in sight. Once your kids have grown up and moved on, you really will find that it passed quickly after all. Having children really is a great measure of the passage of time.
My wife and I are proud of the young man our son has become. He’s faced some early challenges in his adult life, as most twenty-somethings do, but he’s handled them well, leaving us confident that he should be able to deal with whatever the big, bad world sends his way.
As much as we love the man our son has become, we also miss the little boy he used to be. Raising our son was a chore but a worthwhile one. It provided us with so many memories. The exhausting, boring, frustrating ones we now reminisce about with laughter. The happy memories make us smile even more. We’ve got lots of pictures and plenty of video footage throughout the years we were raising him as keepsakes of those years.
Still, there are times we wish it could’ve gone a little slower, that we could’ve taken the time to truly enjoy and treasure the moments when we could. To marvel more over our son’s development from a helpless infant into an adult.
Like the author who swears when she’s older she’ll never tell a young parent to treasure and enjoy her children because the time passes so quickly, my wife and I made the same vow. Once you’re older and your children have grown and gone on to live their own lives, you sing a different tune. I hate to break it to this young mother, but trust me, you will say it, and often.
Because the time to enjoy your child’s progression to adulthood really does pass quickly.