The local park is a repository of frustrated motherhood, womanhood. I had forgotten the sheer insanity and inanity of preschool childrearing. The whining is endless and boring, a siren call with no allure. A siren call that mothers are compelled to answer for reasons of necessity. Dutifulness is everywhere. Pleasure, less so.
I awaited the start of school as an oasis during the summer. School semesters bring their own challenges and stressors, but it also brings mid-morning October runs, long writing sessions, and cool afternoons. The emotional management of children is not my preferred job. Their boredom tires and infuriates me. These are the moments when I know that I cannot ever go back to homeschooling my children.
These are also the moments when I look at the new-ish mothers with their young children, and I remember how endless those days felt. I remember the way we would sprint through our days, me cramming too much in and not getting enough sleep. My children frequently clinging to my back or in my arms, balanced against one of my hips. The unending story times, potty breaks, food messes, laundry, diaper changes, public and private emotional meltdowns (theirs and mine). And now none of that is my daily life. Everything has changed. Our developmental milestones and daily needs are comparatively alien.
My morning in the local park reminded me that every single boring, exhausting part passes. Every emotional milestone: passes. The sore arms from carrying children, pushing strollers, juggling bags: all of it passes. The mental wear and tear from the constant interruptions, questions, and songs also pass away. And this gives me hope for the things I am currently facing as a parent. The beginnings of puberty, the addictive qualities of screens, balancing technology with real-life interactions, teaching these humans the skills to survive as adults. It will all come together and eventually fall away.
All I can do–all I could ever do–is live in this moment.