Monday, February 9, 2015

Why Telling Us, "Enjoy it while you can. They grow up so fast." Is Actually Hurting Young Moms

I follow many Mommy Pages on Facebook, several of which accept reader questions and then publish them anonymously for other readers to weigh in on or give advice to the question-asker. I have seen an overwhelming number of mothers to toddlers/preschoolers write in asking for advice on curbing negative behavior or habits in their child only to be met with this well meaning, but ineffectual and hurtful advice,

"Enjoy it while you can. They grow up so fast!"
"They're only little once. You will miss this when they are grown up."
"My kids are 25 and what I wouldn't give to see them do that again!"

What you are doing, although you mean to reminisce and remind the Mama that this time with her kids is sacred, is actually heaping guilt upon her head.

When a mother of three is asking for advice on keeping her two year old in bed at night, do not tell her, "Scoot over Mom! Enjoy the cuddles!" because actually what Mom is experiencing looks more like this:


And less like the peaceful picture of a sleeping baby that you have conjured up in your head. Believe me, I co-slept with my son for a year and loved it, but now that he's 2, every time we are out of town even if he has a bed that mirrors his bed at home, he sleeps with me. There are more feet in my face than cherub cheeks on my chest. Ok?

Tell her consistency is key. Tell her to let her multiple children co-sleep. Tell her that routine is a great way to keep kids in bed. Tell her its ok to walk him back to bed, say a prayer, turn on a night light and go back to sleep. 

Do not tell her that she doesn't deserve to ask for help during her struggle, as temporary as it may be.

This is just one more of my rants on the soap box of "Mommy Wars" and I'm looking at older, wiser moms and asking them to put aside the nostalgia for their tiny toddler now grown up, and to remember the harrowing (yet SO rewarding) days of mothering these growing, changing little beings. It is not always the "highlight reel" of snapshots and favorite memories.

It is tantrums, rejected meals, messes, broken belongings, and for Moms...sometimes it is feelings of inadequacy.

Build us up. Tell us we are doing a good job and that our baby loves us. That you love us. That you have been there and you got through it and yes...even tell us you miss the stage we are in...but say it with the grace that extends us the privilege of being raw and asking for help when we feel broken.






Disclaimer: The phrases in bold can be used in truly beneficial ways, but when a mom is asking for specific advice, they are not so helpful. With that being said, say what you want...but be mindful of your tone and how your words may be received!

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