Welcome to the 3rd instalment of Parenting Phrases I Hate.
Let me set the scene: your baby has been super fussy all day at home. We are talking Sir Fussy von Fussinstein, king of all fuss. In order to remind yourself that there is still happiness in the world, you take the baby outside. You have no idea where you are going, but you are out of the house, so you don’t care. On the walk you run into a lovely person who admires your baby. As they are leaving they say this week’s phrase: “Enjoy every moment”.
I will be honest with you. I don’t hate this phrase as much as I hate this one or this one, but “parenting phrases that slightly irritate me” is not as catchy. “Enjoy every moment” can be beautiful or maddening, and it all depends on the timing of the phrase.
For example, if it is said during a particularly sweet baby moment, it makes you teary with joy. If it is said when you are using every bit of self-control not to throw your baby out the window, then it makes you want to throw the baby at the person saying it.
Enjoy Every Moment
Really, every moment? EVERY one? Can I just enjoy some of the moments? People will tell you that parenting is great, and it is, but here is the secret: it is not great all the time. You will not enjoy every moment, and that’s okay.
To further illustrate my point, here are some moments I definitely did not enjoy:
- Being pooped on, peed on, spit on and barfed on all at the same time.
- Being bitten on the nipple while having mastitis.
- The never-ending fussy whine that seems to creep into your brain like torture.
- The crying fits that last so long that you still hear phantom cries when your baby finally falls asleep.
- My baby’s new found love of scratching my gums with his razor sharp fingernails.
And that’s just the beginning. Don’t get me wrong, I love my baby. He does lots of amazing and cute things as well, and I enjoy those moments. I do not, however, enjoy every moment, and that’s fine.
Enjoying every moment is not only unrealistic, but it puts too much pressure on new parents. It makes you feel guilty if you are not enjoying every second of the first year, because, as people will also remind you, it goes so fast.
Am I doing it wrong, you may wonder? What if I am not enjoying it enough? What if I am missing something? Why aren’t I enjoying it more? Simple answer to this: the first year of parenting is hard, and you will struggle. You will feel overwhelmed and you will feel like you are wrong almost all the time. Don’t worry though, you are not parenting wrong, it’s just not always that fun. (I assume. I mean, I don’t know you, but you seem nice.)
If it is any comfort, I have noticed that the people using this phrase are not being sarcastic. They really mean it, but they are usually so far removed from the early stage of parenting that they have become nostalgic. The bad parts became fuzzier and the sweet moments are remembered most clearly. When they say “Enjoy every moment,” they are reflecting back to their happy moments when their kids were sweet babies who were still happy to see them. Don’t take it as a commandment, and certainly don’t feel bad if you – like most of us – don’t enjoy every moment. Just enjoy as many as you can.
Or not, that’s cool too.
Want to read the first two instalments? Click the links below: