Mamas, I know you’re tired of hearing “The days are long but the years are short” from everyone you encounter.
And their Mamas.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard another Mama say “If another person tells me ‘the days are long but the years are short’ I’m gonna…”
And I get it.
But not really.
I mean, I know that you’re tired of hearing it, but I don’t really know why.
Maybe because You. Are. Trying.
Trying so hard to keep it all together & make everything happen that needs to happen while still relishing all the MOMents & giving your children Quality Time (the real QT where you’re present with them & not in the background doing all the things for all the people all the time).
But Mamas, hear me out, because here’s the thing:
“The days are long but the years are short” is not meant to pressure you.
I repeat: It’s not meant to pressure you.
Those other Mamas who have some years on us tell us that “the days are long but the years are short” on repeat for one reason: BECAUSE. IT’S. TRUE.
They’ve lived what we’re currently living. They’ve been in our shoes. Actually, we’re in their shoes and not the other way around.
They’ve walked this walk. They were here first. They know how quickly it goes.
They’ve walked the walk. So they are allowed to talk the talk.
They know that the days can be some of the longest of your life. And hardest. And defeating.
But they also know that you’ll look back on these days and lust for them.
I know what you’re thinking. That you won’t lust for the meltdowns. You won’t miss the tantrums. You won’t yearn for the exasperated feeling you sometimes have now.
Of course you don’t have to enjoy every second of Motherhood. That’s not what they’re saying. They’re simply saying that it goes fast and you’ll miss it. Yes, even some of the things you don’t think you’ll miss.
When another Mother tells you “The days are long but the years are short,” she’s saying it out of empathy. She’s not telling you to enjoy every minute. She’s simply telling you to enjoy it. That’s a big difference.
Those Mamas know.
They know the years fly by at light speed and one day you’ll find yourself practically begging your kids to need you like they once did. Or even just talk to you. Hell, even just hug you.
They know how quickly you will go from being your kid’s entire world to just a piece of it. Hopefully like a continent-sized piece. But sometimes you might end up being more like a country. Or a state. Or, gulp, a city.
And they know how much they wish they had sometimes just set the cleaning aside or microwaved Mac & Chz instead of really cooking (lbh, me most days anyway 🙋🏼♀️🤦🏼♀️) or not done the laundry or unloaded the dishwasher that very second AND JUST SAT DOWN with their kids.
Just sitting down with your kids is underrated. Or just playing with them. You should try it sometime. And so should I.
The days are long—so long—because we spend our days doing everything we possibly can to take care of our kids (hellooo mom burnout). But the irony of that is that even though we spend all our time on them, it means we often spend less time with them.
But I hear you. Sometimes we can’t just sit down. Sometimes we really do have to do stuff right then. That’s real life. And you’re right.
But sometimes we can. Yes it might add on 30 minutes at the end of the day when we’re already barely functioning, but sometimes it’s worth that. Sometimes 30 minutes of snuggling with your children is worth 30 minutes of folding the laundry after bedtime. Or 30 less minutes with your husband. Or 30 less minutes to yourself. And some days it’s not worth it, and you know what? That’s okay. It’s more than okay. But maybe some days it’s so worth it.
“The days are long and the years are short” is one of the most accurate things I’ve ever heard in my entire life.
Hammer. Nail. Head. (…you get my point.)
So I honestly don’t know why so many of us Mamas get bothered when people say that to us…and even resent it. They’re not mom-shaming us. They’re not patronizing us (unless her name is Becky or Janet and then chances are she might be because those 2 seem to be the ubiquitous Meme Mean Moms. Sigh, poor nice Beckies & Janets.).
Those other Mamas aren’t judging you. They’re simply telling us what they wish someone had told them. Or maybe what someone did tell them…but they didn’t listen. (Hello, us.)
And they wish they had. They wish they had listened.
I don’t get annoyed when another Mama tells me “the days are long and the years are short.” Or when I read it on a quote making its way all over the internet. Instead, I feel a little solidarity like—“Hell yeah, she gets it.”
Fist bumps all around. Or high-fives. Or hugs. (Depending on my mood and current emotional state, ha.)
I actually even appreciate when someone says it to me because it makes me pause—even if just for a second—and can shift my entire perspective.
It slows me down. I need that. You wouldn’t think a Mother needs little reminders to stop & just be with her own children sometimes. But I’ll be the first to admit that I do.
When someone does say the whole “The days are long but the years are short” thing we shouldn’t feel defensive. It’s not supposed to put pressure on us. Just the opposite actually.
It’s basically saying—Enjoy your kids. Give yourself a break & sit down for a minute & do nothing with your kids—for them AND FOR YOU.
Oh, and it’s also saying that the laundry & dust & dishes & bills will always be there…but your kids won’t.
I saw a quote somewhere that said we only get “18 delicious summers with our children” at home. That’s so not a lot.
Or that we only have a baby for a year, a toddler for 2 years, a kid for a few years, a teen…you get the point.
Those things stopped me in me tracks. But they didn’t make me feel pressured or attacked. They made me feel grateful for the reminders.
A lot of my fellow Mamas don’t agree with me about that. A bunch of you feel really offended or pressured when someone says something like that.
But noting that we have “18 delicious summers” with our kids at home isn’t intended to make us feel pressured to make every single moment of summer perfect. (And if we’re being honest, some of the best summer days are watching TV in pajamas all day because it’s just too hot outside. And I bet our kids think days like that are pretty damn perfect.)
I’m only 5.5 years into Motherhood and it’s already going too fast for me.
Is it so hard some days (ahem, every day)? YES.
And is it my favorite thing in the history of the world? ALSO YES.
“The days are too long and the years are too short” is maybe even more fitting. Because at the end of the day I’m beat to total Mombie Status & yet I already want more time with them.
It’s like that crazy thing about Motherhood where you can’t wait to put them to bed and as soon as you do…you miss them.
That’s insane, I know.
But Motherhood is a little insane. In the most beautiful way.
When a Mother tells you “The days are long and the years are short” try to hear her words.
And not get defensive or go on the offensive.
Because she’s not trying to pressure you. But she’s also not lying about the fact that your child won’t want you to hold them to sleep in a few years. It’s hard to imagine that because right now it’s almost Mission:Impossible to put your kids to bed in under an hour. But they know one day “Mama, I’m thirsty. Mommy, I need to go potty. Mama can we read another book? Will you hold me, Mommy? Mama, is a T-Rex bigger than a blue whale? But WHY? …..Mama, will you stay a little longer?” will morph into a simple “Good night, Mom.” (*I’m not crying you’re crying.)
*Okay, I’m full-on sobbing.
And if we’re lucky we’ll get an “I love you.”
As I laid in bed with my son for the longest bedtime ever the other night, I wished so much for him to hurry up and fall asleep so I could leave. As I thought about how I’d been in there forever and wanted to go do some of my own stuff he piped up, “Mama?” I pretended to be asleep. So he said it 2 more times. I finally answered “Yeah honey?”
He said “I’m SO happy. I’m just so happy because I love you.” Followed by the sweetest squeeze.
It hit me like a ton of bricks.
For 25 minutes I’d been lying there thinking about how I wanted to escape to my room and about all the things I wanted to get done the next day, and he’d been lying there thinking about how happy he was that I was holding him and how much he loved me.
It wasn’t even like a shot of perspective. It was like a full-on IV drip straight to my veins.
They’ll tell you the days are long but the years are short. They’ll say that because it’s true. And you might feel affronted. But you shouldn’t.
You should take it with a heaping cup of salt. Because they’re right. And what they’re saying matters.
It’s basically advice from your future self. And your future self is right.
So soak it in.
Their words. Your children. Motherhood. All of it.
Because the days are long but the years are short.
That’s right. I said it.
Because I believe it. Boom. 💥
Does it bother you when someone tells you “The days are long but the years are short” or does it give you a little perspective?
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