The Ache of Parenting

DSC_0259To every parent that has gone before me and tells me either “it goes so fast” or “the days are long and the years are short,” you win. You’re right. I totally believe you…. and I’m even starting to say those things myself.

I’m already blue at the prospect of my four littles growing older and yet can’t wait for them to at the same time (because of the following scenario).

This is a version of how every evening goes at our house:

6:30pm- Husband walks in the door. Me: “Ahem. We are getting those kids in bed early tonight, I mean it.” And, “Hi. I promise I will be cute again someday. For real.” All while nursing the littlest one to sleep and finishing dinner for the three oldest. “No cookie if you don’t eat your broccoli.”

6:45pm- Impromptu dance party because my husband has a “How Many Steps Can You Walk A Day?” contest at work. And he’s only at 4,000 for the day. We must move.

7:00pm- We’ve digressed into the kids taking off all their clothes because they’re hot. “Mom, can we dance to ‘All About that Bass’? I’ve got a good outfit on for it!” (aka undies only) Parenting fail.

7:10pm- “My tummy hurts,” says the kid struggling to poop on the potty and now holds it in because she knows the diaper isn’t where she’s supposed to go.

7:15-7:30pm- Up and down off the potty. No success. Finally just put her to bed her tummy hurt so badly.

7:30-7:45pm- Teeth brushed, final pees, tuck in, prayers. Oh, and a battle between my son and I to put wart cream on his toe which ensued with tears, bargaining and making the wart (not me) the enemy.

8:00pm- Calling from upstairs,”Mom, I’m thirsty.” Me thinking to myself, “Well, I’m hungry and thirsty because I still haven’t eaten dinner.”

08:05pm- “Mom, I’m having a bad dream!” “Oh, really? You can dream while you’re awake?

08:30pm- The non-pooper finally pooped. In a diaper. A wretched amount and with a smell that seriously lingers. Which means a full bath. And now she needs dinner because her tummy hurt too much before to eat.

9:00pm-As I’m getting some grub together I hear, “Mom!” about 17 times. I go back upstairs, disperse water, kisses and threats. Pooping princess tucked in after toast and fruit.

9:15pm- I sit down to eat, check my email, think about blogging (decide not to), and rejoice in the moment I’ve been waiting for all day. Like ALL day. I LIVE for nighttime downtime.

10:00pm- It’s quiet. I sneak back upstairs and see my chubby-cheeked little boy sucking his fingers, my defiant toddler sleeping peacefully, my baby with his little head turned to the side in obedient sleep, and my chatty daughter silently slumbering. And I want to wake them all up. Because they’re cute and I miss them and they are going to leave me someday. And then where will I be?

Sitting down to a quiet dinner at 6pm. Free to read and write and putter around.

Bored. Lonely. Missing the chaos that comes with a gaggle of children that need me, my blessings that I asked for from the Lord.

They’re going to leave us, that’s the ache we carry through all the years of parenting our kids. We can’t wait for it and also know it’ll be painful, that’s the dichotomy. In my long days, may I be able to rejoice in my children BEFORE they are sleeping. Because I don’t want to be sitting down to my quiet dinners with regret someday.




  1. yes! So well said! Me, too, every blessed day. Favorite part? “Mommy can we dance to all about that bass?”

  2. Cathy Wheeler says:

    Yes, they need you so much now. And every second you attend to them will build their confidence for later. The greatest job in the world! Josh’s greatest job, too. Thanks for sharing!!!

  3. Rose Berg says:

    So funny! [well, maybe not for you… 😉 ] It is true, the years fly by. I had the same anxieties about my kids growing up too fast and leaving home. And when J & M left for college, I ached for them. But it’s been 10+ years since then, and I’ve found that they don’t really leave you. They just move out of your house and build a life of their own. And they are still in your life. And it’s really good. The thing I wish I would have done that you are doing is writing it all down. 🙂

    • That is so comforting, Rose! I was just looking through baby albums as we packed for (yet another) move…just across town this time… and found some cards from you for each baby and looked at Marin’s quilt you made and the picture you painted. And I was feeling thankful for the ways you are in our lives, even across the miles. 🙂