maybe you won’t have time later

I don’t know why i do this to myself. Why i click on links that target overwhelmed parents of young children. Perhaps it’s just because of how common they are. I come across that type of article several times a day. I look away most of the time, but then, once in a while, i click and read the words of those parents who have normal parenting problems and who deal with daily annoyances and small-scale dilemmas by writing tongue-in-cheek pieces on parenting websites.

I clicked yesterday even though the title of the article already was making me cringe, You Have Plenty of Time to Love Them Later.  The advice it offered, and that I would have perhaps appreciated had things been different, seemed so so wrong :

9. Children aren’t always babies.
[…]
This is seriously insane. We’ve barely even started making memories, we’re not running out of time. It’s just that no one on Pinterest is making felt collages of their kid’s eighth year.

10. You don’t have to cherish every second.
You will be out with your baby and some well-meaning person will tell you, “Savor every minute of this time, it goes by so fast!”
This is a terrible thing to say. It’s true, but it’s still a terrible thing to say.
“Savor it!” What if I’m not savoring it enough?
[…]
Yes, it goes fast, and then it’s over, and then there are whole new phases and problems. And yes, you’ll feel bad when they aren’t babies anymore, but you would have felt bad anyway, so at least you got to read that magazine. Don’t kill yourself. Have fun when you can, get through it when you must. Relax. You have plenty of time to love them later.”

If Paul was home with me, if I too was exhausted from sleepless nights caring for him and the feeling of never having a moment to myself, I would probably find an article like this funny, or insightful. But as I read it now, I can only see through the eyes of a childless mother. I cannot read for a few lines without wanting to talk back to my screen.

I want to yell sometimes. I want to say that yes, sometimes children are only given the time to be babies, and that no, you don’t “have plenty of time to love them later.”

I know that having a baby, and then a toddler, and a child, involves real challenges that i didn’t get the chance to discover. I do not want to dismiss the valid experiences of other parents. I know that six months or a year from now — if all goes well — i might need reminders that it is ok not to love every single part of parenthood. Yet i can’t read that kind of advice without feeling frustrated.

How do you deal with it?

 

//////////

On the other end, i really appreciated the last episode of NPR’s new podcast Invisibilia (actually, i really enjoy the show so far). Using the experiences of blind children and the people who care for them, it explores how love and fear and expectations are intertwined. And how they can hinder a child’s development and happiness.

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9 réflexions sur “maybe you won’t have time later

  1. Peut-être est-ce une relative naïveté dans cette vision des choses qui te vexes.. le « tout vas bien, rien ne peut aller mal ».. Et peut-être que ce qu’il y a de blessant là dedans, c’est qu’une part de toi a embrassé cette vision, à une époque où tu ne pouvais pas imaginer ce qui arriverais?

    « How do you deal with it? » .. Se pardonner est souvent la clé de bien des maux.

    Toutes mes excuses, j’espère que mes mots ne sont pas intrusifs.
    De tout coeur avec toi!

  2. Je trouve que les mots du billet qui t’a heurté sont mal choisis. Premièrement, le titre est horrible. Personnellement, je n’ai pas du tout aimé la phase du nouveau-né, mais ça ne voulait pas dire que je n’aimais pas mon enfant! C’est quoi cette histoire de « Love Them Later »???

    Dans le texte, j’aurais remplacé le « we’re not running out of time » par quelque chose comme « we’re only starting to get to know each other ». Le « You don’t have to cherish every second » par « You won’t be able to cherish every second. Life doesn’t work that way. Some things you will adore, some things you will abhor. » En ce qui concerne le fameux « Savor every minute of it. », ce n’est pas du tout « terrible », c’est juste complètement décalé par rapport à la réalité quotidienne de s’occuper d’un nouveau-né. C’est vrai dans un certain sens, et d’un autre côté il y a des minutes qui sont moins glorieuses que d’autres… Et le « you would have felt bad anyway, so at least you got to read that magazine » est tellement mal formulé! En plus, l’exemple est tellement mal choisi!

    Ceci dit, ça se peut que j’aie dit des choses similaires dans mon blogue. J’espère sincèrement que non, mais bon, ça se peut. Je comprends un peu ce que le texte cité veut dire (je crois qu’il essaie de dédramatiser), mais je trouve qu’il le dit très mal.

  3. ah, I feel compelled to read those kind of articles every now and then too! i dont know if i’m looking to make myself feel angry or simply hoping I have what I’m reading about in store for me. I don;t think I have any other tips for dealing- I do what you do, just try to tell myself they have a right to think this way because they been lucky enough not to realize not every baby grows up. I tell myself this, but still scream in my head the same way you do. perhaps someone else can give some good advice!

    • I suppose there is no magic solution — asides from not reading. I am curious to find out (if all goes well and i eventually experience mothering a growing baby and toddler) how i will reconcile my thoughts as a bereaved mother and my reactions as a mom dealing with the small everyday struggles…

    • I am curious… now that you share your daily life with a healthy (as far as i know) baby, do you find it easier to relate to this sort of article or are you finding yourself more aligned with frustration towards parents who write them?
      (feel free to answer or not of course)

      • This kind I still avoid, it still rubs me the wrong way, although now it really is a rub whereas before it was deeply cutting claws. I do read articles on practical issues from diaper blowouts to pumping, but as soon as it gets to a point where I feel they don’t appreciate their living (occasionally screaming) wiggling babies I stop. I guess it helps that SB keeps me busy, no excuse needed to not read on.
        I very much hope you’ll get to find out soon how you react to such articles when taking care of a living baby.

  4. I really try not to read these articles. I find that I simply cannot relate in any kind of meaningful way, and probably more important, I am annoyed that *these* are the concerns of normal parents. Not that I don’t have some of my own parental concerns (about C.T.) that intersect with some of what is said in articles like these, it’s just that my perspective and issues are seen through such dramatically different eyes.

    The piece you highlighted was pretty brutal. When I do run across something that I accidentally read or that seems thrust upon me, I end up shouting at the screen or muttering something nasty through gritted teeth. Always, I’m frustrated at my lost innocence. Jealous that I can’t chuckle along with the 99% of people who haven’t lost a child,… my house full of three lively boys.

    I have promised myself that soon, I will create a real « reader » so that I can selectively pick news and writing that is noteworthy and helpful, rather than frustrating. I am not sure it’s a totally foolproof plan, but that’s all I’ve got other than to suggest hiding under a rock:).

    • A reader… sounds interesting and helpful. And probably more satisfying than hiding under a rock.
      I so wish your home was filled with the sounds of 3 boys. I think of you and them often.

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