Why the forgotten moments of motherhood matter most
Posted May 17, 2016
I baby-sat a 9-month-old for a friend of mine recently, and I’m proud to announce that I kept him alive for the full 24 hours and only had to call poison control once.
I’m calling it a win.
It’s been a few years since we’ve had a baby in our home and while I loved every adorable, drooling moment of it, I quickly remembered just how constant those baby years are for a mom.
My one-day experience took me back to all those days when my girls were little, when getting to use the restroom alone was just about the most amazing thing I could imagine.
Mothering young ones is constant. No time off the clock. No downtime, only an occasional moment of solitude during naptime that always ends too soon.
And the worst part? Those little babies aren’t going to remember a single thing.
They won’t remember that you were there, every second, every day for the first few years of their life. They won’t remember the constant cycle of feeding, changing, swaddling, rocking. They’ll never thank us for the hours spent putting square shapes into square holes to increase hand-eye coordination or the board book after board book we read to encourage verbal development.
These constant, daily moments of mothering little ones are forgotten. No one takes pictures of it. No one is there to witness the day in, day out of motherhood … well, except for us.
We remember because those moments with young children at home are such a big part of who we are as mothers. Even when our children grow into new stages and ages, we remember them as our little babies we rocked to sleep.
But they won’t.
My own mother often asks me questions such as, “Do you remember (insert nostalgic childhood memory here)?” If it happened before I was about 8, chances are I don’t.
She thinks it’s strange and sad that she is the only one who remembers these precious anecdotes of me as a young child. She was there. I was there. And yet, I don’t remember her as young mother, doing the constant work of young motherhood.
But that doesn’t mean those days of around-the-clock mothering don’t matter.
Our children may not remember the moments, but they do remember the feelings. Mom was there — always. Children remember that mom was there when they got hurt. She picked them up when they cried.
Those moments are more than the sum of their parts. They tie together to create a constant tapestry of love and caring that can’t be forgotten. It’s irrevocably sewn into who our children are.
So to the mothers caught up in the constant days of young children, I say keep going. It does slow down. You will get to use the restroom alone one day. You will be able to finish a thought, a conversation or — dare I say it? — even a book again one day.
And when that day comes, you’ll be left with sweet memories that no one else has but you. But don’t worry — while you may be the only one who remembers, your love is something your children will never forget.
Erin Stewart is a regular blogger for Deseret News. From stretch marks to the latest news for moms, she discusses it all while her 9-year-old and 5-year-old daughters dive-bomb off the couch behind her.