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Being in the Thick of Parenting Young Kids

Right Now, It's Really Hard to See Beyond the Struggles of My Life With Little Ones

I'm in the thick of it. Smack in the middle of the years that should be "the days." But a lot of those days an emotional preschooler, a feisty toddler, another one almost half-cooked, two full time jobs, a mortgage, and a childcare bill that rivals it, don't add up to "the days" that you picture in your mind or get lost scrolling through on other people's Instagram feeds.

I know this time is fleeting (there are enough posts, including my own, telling me!), and I want so badly to soak up every adorably mispronounced word and silly laugh and good night kiss, but sometimes it's hard to see beyond the thick of it. It's hard to climb out of the giant hole of exhaustion and responsibilities and schedules to see the giggles and jokes and hugs and to really appreciate them.

Sometimes I think just thinking about it is enough to help me snap out of it, but sometimes I think having to think about it means I'm not really appreciating it, just reminding myself that I should appreciate it.

And really, when the F in the middle of this giant puzzle of logistics are you supposed to go grocery shopping?

But how can you spend thirty percent of your two precious days off each week wrangling massive meltdowns and force feeding a picky two-year-old and still have energy to see "the days" for what they are supposed to be? How do you go to work all day and then go home and start your day all over again and then still have anything left for your partner? And really, when the F in the middle of this giant puzzle of logistics are you supposed to go grocery shopping?

I don't know. I don't know when (or if) it gets easier, or how much longer I can safely consider myself in the thick of it (though I'm willing to bet it'll be a while). I'm not sure when these days become actual days I want to remember instead of days I count down eagerly awaiting the next holiday or weekend or kid-free getaway.

But I do know one day I'll look back longingly on these days. So I'm going to keep reminding my tired self that these overwhelming, draining, demanding years of life with little ones won't last forever. That I should soak up those tiny humans as much as possible in between preschool pickup and dropoff, record their squeaky voices on my phone in between answering work emails, and give in to one more bedtime story when I'd rather be asleep myself. And that even though there will be days when I don't do those things, one day I'll still remember them as "the days."

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