You know when those precious old ladies come up to your grocery cart full of whiny kids, pat your hand and tell you, "Enjoy these days, sweetie. They won't be little for long." And it makes you all antsy feeling inside because you start to think that maybe you’re not savoring their smallness or that maybe you're too tired to appreciate the gifts you have right in front of you? That’s when I tend to feel a whopping amount of mom guilt over whether or not I am correctly cherishing childhood.
On a recent visit to my hometown, my parents were floored by how fast my kids are growing. I made the off-handed comment that I really needed to make one of those measuring stick thingies to hang on the wall so that I could record their heights as they grow, but that I was annoyed I hadn't started recording when we first adopted them.
Instead of standing there talking about it, my dad handed my mom a black permanent marker and told the children to line up against the kitchen wall. The kids were giddy to see how tall they were and my parents didn't even bat an eye about having permanent marker on a prominent wall in their home.
This left me sort of speechless. There was something endearing about it all. Something like, "You and your kids matter more than our crisp white walls." It spoke volumes and warmed my heart. There was no hesitating because it might look tacky or debating over which wall would be least obvious. There was a loose grasp on perfection and a tight grip on the memories we were in the process of making. And I haven't stopped thinking about it.
Today, I finally wrote on the walls of my own home. (Okay, yes, I marked their heights on the inside wall of my closet, but hey. It's still a crisp white wall being memorialized!) Because they are only little once. And because I'm reminded every time I fill out paperwork for physicians that even though I have no idea when they took their first steps or what their first words were, I can capture every sweet day I have with these two. (And then, I'll call the pediatrician and back date all the heights we do have on file...because I'm thorough like that.)
Do you ever experience mom guilt because you're not doing this whole "they are only little once" thing as well as you'd like? Are there things you don't do because you can't do them perfectly? How can you let go of perfectionism and "write on the walls" today?
Hear more from Kitty at her blog www.joelandkitty.com or see her kids grow like weeds on Instagram @kitty_hurdle.