All the Time in the World

My child thinks that I have all the time in the world.

He is constantly demanding that I put my life on pause so that he can try to do all these things on his own and it takes Fooooooor Freaeeeeking Evaaaaa.

It is not limited to buckling the car seat, opening the mail, throwing trash in the trashcan, washing the car, attempting to pour his own drinks, making his lunch, carrying the grocery items in the house (one by one), watering the yard, unloading the dishwasher and many other countless tasks.

All the things that a mom has learned to do at lightning speed take my child the longest 10 minutes of my life. I wait and wait and wait and think of all the other things that I could accomplish during this time and it gives me anxiety. Being a Mom is mastering the art of multi-tasking and we designate a specific amount of time for a task before we have to move onto the next one. There is no room for error or idle time. Time management is how we survive and get it all done.

Today it took what felt like an eternity for my son to help me wrap presents for my husband’s birthday. He took out 7 rolls of wrapping paper from the closet and 5 gift bags and flung them all over my freshly vacuumed living room floor. One of the rolls was covered in glitter. I wanted to cry. Whoever invented glitter needs to be taken to a deserted island and left there. Glitter is my arch nemesis. It gets all over the carpet, on my clothes and in my hair. I’m convinced it serves zero purpose except to drive me insane.

I was starting to sweat as I was assessing the mess that I was going to have to clean up after we finished wrapping. I wish I was the mom who saw things like this as “fun” and a “beautiful activity that showcases my child’s creativity” but really all I see is massive amounts of work.

For me.

I just wanted to wrap presents, in peace.

Why is everything such a freaking ordeal in my house? I will tell you why; because I have a very headstrong 4 year-old who wants to do EVERY SINGLE THING on his own.

So we attempted to wrap, together, and I tried to find joy in the moment but I couldn’t help but glance over at the clock, repeatedly.

Every time we would get a present close to being wrapped he would accidentally rip the paper or the tape wouldn’t stick correctly or God forbid, there would be a wrinkle in the paper and a colossal meltdown would ensue.

“WE HAVE TO START OVER!!!” He would scream.

This happened no less than 12 times.

Wrap. Throw tantrum. Unwrap. Rewrap.

FOR AN ENTIRE 45 MINUTES of my already busy life.

I wanted to climb the walls.

In fact, I was assessing the size of the boxes in hopes that maybe I could jump in one and mistakenly be wrapped.

When the torture came to an end and he finally got two presents wrapped perfectly, my son turned to me and said, “One day I will be able to do this super fast without starting over, just like you.”

My heart dropped.

He was so right.

How had I been missing what was right in front of me?

These little moments that make me so frustrated are the moments that I’m forever going to long for once he is older.

Suddenly I was sitting on my living room floor, covered in glitter, bawling like a baby.

One day, I will miss the idle, annoying time, where I’m waiting for him to finish an activity or one of the many tasks he demands to do “all by himself.”

I will long for the moments where he was so excited that he did something on his own for his first time. I will yearn for those moments, that will only be alive through pictures and faint memories.

They will be gone.

He will start to do everything fast and will no longer seek my approval and reassurance.

He will no longer need me.

He will no longer want the sound of my clapping when he puts together a puzzle for the first time.

I will no longer hear the words, “look at me mommy” when he wants me to watch him pour his milk into his sippy cup and make funny designs with the chocolate syrup.

The words, “you can’t catch me” will be a faint memory throughout the house because he will no longer want to play hide and seek.

I will no longer hear him whisper, “I’m over here” when he is buried under a massive pillow fort.

He will no longer beg me to read him a story every night before bed. Then another. And one more, “Mommy, please.”

He will not remind me every night, exactly 10 minutes before bed, that it’s time for prayers.

He will no longer do our thing that we do every night where we say, “A hug and a kiss and a tickle and a hotdog.”

He won’t make me promise that I will check on him at night to make sure the monsters don’t get him.

He won’t ask me to do all the things that annoy me because they are an inconvenience.

He simply won’t want me anymore.

Being a Mom is hard and exhausting. The redundancy of the demands and the “mommy watch me one more time” and “let me do it by myself” often make me want to pull my hair out. We are so busy with the daily grind and that we sometimes take moments like these for granted because let’s face it, we have shit to do.

Stuff that we deem more important at the time.

The harsh reality is that one day he will be a grown man with his own family and his mom will no longer be “his person.” I will only be a phone call away but he will have a whole new set of firsts and memories to share with his own family.

There is only a short time in their lives where we are the only audience that they care about. There is only a short time where we are put above everything and our opinion is considered gold. I just need to keep reminding myself this everyday and be still and find the beauty in all of the wasted time. The days are long but the memories are forever. Children are such a gift and sometimes we need to be reminded that this gift is only temporary.

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