People can be obnoxiously nostalgic about babies. I read this article recently where the author talked about being at the beach with her husband, 2 and a half year old and 4 month old . An older couple commented “Those were the days, weren’t they?” and it made the author change her parenting ways.
My first thought was, ugh really? I have a hard time believing that with a 2.5 year old this was the first time she had heard something like that. Because people say shit like this all the time. Strangers, like this one on the beach, look over at a family struggling to collect their items and (I’m assuming) tempter tantrum throwing toddler and think, what a special time.
Comments like this are often followed with ‘enjoy every moment’.
And I get it, I do. Babies are sweet and wonderful and running after small children is an exciting (stressful) time. It’s amazing to watch them grow and learn and they really do change so quickly and time flies in a way that you never knew possible.
My biggest issue with the nostalgia around babies is that it makes it hard to talk about how tough/exhausting/stressful it all can be.
The first time I brought my son into work he was 3 months old. My co-worker (who has five children) looked at him with those nostalgic eyes and said, isn’t it just the most amazing time. And I was honest with her, I said, it’s actually the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
She looked at me like I didn’t speak her language.
Oh but look how sweet he is, she said.
And then I immediately wished I had bit my tongue and just said what she had wanted to hear.
That every day is so amazing and wonderful and I am so grateful and blessed and happy.
(Most days were actually amazing and wonderful and I was always grateful and did feel really blessed, but it was also really hard.)
Who knows, maybe all five of her children were angels. Maybe she didn’t suffer from post-partum anxiety and depression. Maybe she had a lot of family around to help. Maybe it was all easy and amazing for her.
And if it was, well good for her.
This is what I’d like to say to all the nostalgic onlookers out there telling families to not take this amazing time for granted:
Stop assuming we don’t know it’s special. And fleeting. Because we can see time passing with every new milestone and we don’t need you to remind us of how fast our babies are growing up. So just stop.
How about next time you see an obviously distraught mother or a family struggling to collect their items on a beach, instead of placing them in your little nostalgic bubble, why not get up off your ass and help them out. Send them a kind word of encouragement. Because they need that a hell of a lot more than your sentimental bullshit.