Stop telling me to “Enjoy this childhood magic.”

Posted on | March 19, 2014 | 20 Comments

Let me preface this with, I love my children. I adore them. I think they are the smartest, cutest, most loving children that have ever walked this earth. And most of all, every time I look at them, I am reminded of the fact that I loved my husband enough that I wanted part of him to grow inside me for nine months, give me heart burn and stretch marks and thirty extra pounds, and then expel that child from my body and live the rest of my life terrified that something would happen to that child or that I would fail in my parenting. I was willing to spend every waking (and sleeping moment) worrying over these little beings and who they would become and how I could be the best mom I could be simply because I love, painfully and fully, love my husband and could not imagine life without children created by us.

With that being said, if one more person posts a guilty-inducing diatribe about how I should “Enjoy this childhood magic,” and “Never rush my babies,” and “Let your children run your damn life.” Or if one more person touches my hand and warns me, “Enjoys these years…” I’m going to punch someone in the vagina.

I get it. Childhood is beautiful and magical. I remember pretending I was a horse and prancing around the yard (an act that would surely win me a spot on TLC’s “Strange Addictions” as an adult). I jumped out of a two-story barn without the knowledge of my parents. I once pretended that a jar of “Gak” was actually an alien. I had sea monkeys and named them. Okay, so maybe I was just weird. But childhood was magical to me.

And you know what? My parents weren’t lenient. They weren’t overbearing, but they expected kindness of me. They expected obedience and age-appropriate discipline. I wasn’t allowed to talk back. I wasn’t allowed to be late. I wouldn’t have gotten away with a harsh word or eye-roll, and yet, my childhood was still magical.

I wasn’t perfect. In fifth grade, my best friend and I called a girl on a triple line and tried to get her to say mean things about each other. In middle school, I cheated at Accelerated Reader and got caught taking tests for my friends so they could attend the AR end-of-year party. In high school, two girlfriends and I got caught drinking. And these are just the moments in which I was caught. There were probably countless others that weren’t pretty or anything to be proud of that I just happened to slip by my parents (sorry y’all). Each and every time I got caught, my parents taught me a lesson. I learned the importance of being kind to others. I was taught the grace of forgiveness. I learned the hard line of honesty and doing what’s right. And I learned the difference between a “bit of fun,” and hurting others. And in the end? All those times I wasn’t caught, I carried the weight of what I deserved. I learned right and wrong, and I am forever grateful.

My parents didn’t have articles condemning them for “stifling” my independence. Or shaming them for raising their voices when I crossed a line. I learned the pain of hurting others. Of disappointing my family. They didn’t have someone whispering in their ear that I would be forever damaged because they asked me to “hurry up” or fussed at me for refusing to stop touching something in an antique store.

Every time I discipline my children, a tiny person whispers in my ear, “Make childhood magical!” or “Show them kindness always!” or “YOU SUCK AS A PARENT BECAUSE YOU’RE ANGRY THEY JUST EXPLODED YOGURT EVERYWHERE!”

And here’s what I think.

Let your babies finger paint. But it’s okay to teach them that painting the walls isn’t “creative expression.” It’s a good way to make mama have to scrub walls. Let them play outside, but it’s okay to snatch up a baby’s arm as he throws a fit because he doesn’t want to come in for supper. Enjoy and entertain their stories and questions, but the world isn’t going to end when you ask for a moment of silence in traffic because you can’t concentrate on driving and answering for the sixth time why firetrucks exist.

My babies are beautiful and unique creatures, and I want to grow their personalities in every way. But my top two worries as a parent are 1) keep my babies safe and 2) help them grow into adults who aren’t assholes.

Sometimes that means I have to raise my voice. Sometimes that means I have to do time out fifteen times before noon. Sometimes that means I snatch up crayons and take them away for the day. And sometimes it means we spend two hours at the playground instead of the thirty minutes I really have. Sometimes it means I spend some extra time cleaning up sprinkles from cookies decorated by tiny fraternity boys. Or I wash grass stains out of Easter clothes. There’s such a balance, it’s a fight to maintain that balance, and I’ll be damned if I’ll let one more blog post make me feel guilty for doing what I have to do to raise decent humans.

So for all you mamas out there who have read a blog from a holier-than-thou parent who feels they are qualified to explain to you all the ways you are wrong, cheers. Pour a glass of wine, and know you are not alone. I’m right here, reliving another long day, and thanking God for keeping my babies alive and my mind (mostly) in tact.


20 Responses to “Stop telling me to “Enjoy this childhood magic.””

  1. Heather Todd
    March 19th, 2014 @ 11:03 pm

    THANK YOU!! You have no idea how freaking much I love this post.

  2. Jenell
    March 19th, 2014 @ 11:09 pm

    This hit home with me….thank you:-)

  3. Katy
    March 19th, 2014 @ 11:12 pm

    Amen, sister!

  4. jess
    March 19th, 2014 @ 11:38 pm

    AMAZING post. I couldn’t agree more. So tired of the almighty blog posts designed to tear others down. Thank you for writing this.

  5. Gigi
    March 20th, 2014 @ 4:45 am

    What? We didn’t catch you every time? Oh, well… still turned out ok! 😉

  6. Verna
    March 20th, 2014 @ 7:02 am

    LOVE!! Great words!

  7. kat
    March 20th, 2014 @ 8:45 am

    Well said Sal :) xoxo

  8. Jen
    March 20th, 2014 @ 10:21 am

    Fantastic post! This perfectly explains life with kids & thank you so much writing this. Thank you for expressing that while parenting may not always be perfect and straight-from-a-Johnson-&-Johnson-commercial, it can still be a beautiful experience.

  9. R's Mom
    March 20th, 2014 @ 11:03 am

    Agree 100%! I think that we have the same kind of parenting style. I expect a lot from my 4-year-old: good listening/following direction skills, I don’t tolerate back talk or whining, etc. And when he doesn’t follow our rules/directions, there are consequences. We are pretty strict, and R often thinks that we aren’t “fair.” But I want to raise him to be a good kid who listens to and respects others, and who isn’t a brat. As for our 3-month old, he pretty much gets whatever he wants at this stage! :)
    For me, remembering that “childhood is magical” isn’t about caving to my child’s every whim and desire. For me, it’s more about focusing on the good moments and creating good memories for me of the kids at their respective ages, and appreciating the moments of humor, insight, and inquisitiveness that come between the more difficult times.

  10. crystal b
    March 20th, 2014 @ 11:06 am

    Excellent. Thank you for writing many of the things that I’m sure most moms think about every day.

  11. Corey Lesko
    March 20th, 2014 @ 11:42 am

    Love this thank you!!! I agree completely! Sometimes I want to look at people and say so basically what you are really saying is “my parents raised me incorrectly” thank you very me but pretty much I think I can handle this one!

  12. Ashley J
    March 20th, 2014 @ 2:51 pm

    Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes!!! 100% agree! Love this!!

  13. cinny
    March 21st, 2014 @ 2:34 am

    Omg I just found your blog by accident , and I must say, I’m already hooked! Most blogs I constantly took my eyes over, but I can seriously see myself reading this daily and probably stalking your old posts until I catch up. I like you. And I mean that in the most non-creepy way as possible. Lol

    Sally Reply:

    Hey Cinny! So glad to have you :) I don’t always post regularly, but I try to be here when I can!

  14. Liz
    March 21st, 2014 @ 8:18 pm

    YES. This is my first time commenting but I love your blog and YES to all of this. Thanks :)

    Sally Reply:

    HI! And thank you :)

  15. Melissa @ Completely Eclipsed
    March 24th, 2014 @ 8:46 am

    Yup. Many moments in motherhood outright suck. And I hate having to pretend I love every second because Pinterest and sanctimommy blogs make me feel bad about it.

  16. Monica
    May 2nd, 2014 @ 4:54 pm

    Hi Sally, I’m sure missing your blog. Hope you’ll are doing great and boys are enjoing summer.

  17. Katie S
    May 20th, 2014 @ 3:43 pm

    The last thing I want is to raise kids that are entitled brats that think only of themselves. Sometimes I feel very very guilty for saying harsh words and raising my voice, but my husband is a high school teacher and has seen how entitled most kids are. They really don’t take responsibility sometimes for their own actions. They want to blame everyone else for things. My husband was asked by a student a few days ago whether he was getting them graduation presents (for real! The kid was serious!). He has 200 students, 90% of them seniors and the student really thought his teacher would get him a graduation present. Anyway, I want my kids to be respectful, to obey, and to be thankful for what they are given rather than thinking the world owes them things!!

  18. Katie S
    May 20th, 2014 @ 3:50 pm

    P.S. I had the WORST evening with my boys last night. My oldest cried and whined and screamed and was horrible, particularly at the grocery store because I wouldn’t buy him a toy tank. Anyway, it made me hate being a mom at that moment. I told my husband my after the kids were in bed that our kids would be lucky if they still had a mom in the morning. I might just run off. 😉 It’s ok to not enjoy every moment of motherhood!

  • "I'm a twenty-something mama to two little boys and married to the love of my life. Former Diet Coke addict with a tendency to overshare. My biggest dream is to write a book. A good book that tons of people buy and relate to and love. In the mean time, this is the story of us as we flounder through raising our wild, little boys, moving a million times thanks to the US Army, and buying and renovating our 1968 Ranch home."

  • wp-content

  • Exploits of a Military Mama

  • Archives

  • RSS Feed me!