The Heartache of The Motherhood Clock

Abbey Williams

I can feel the time slipping through my fingers.

The days are long, and there are days that I wish I could escape my motherhood duties.

Days where the feedings feel constant, the exhaustion hurts, and the mental load is too heavy.

But the years seem to be passing by.

The busyness of motherhood keeps you hurried from one meal to the next activity to bath time to planning for tomorrow, and before you know it you look down at your little one and you realize their face is slightly different.

Nothing prepares you for these moments when you realize their face is changing. The face that you look at, the face that you wipe food from, and the face that you kiss before bed each night. And yet this moment is so jarring. When did this happen, your face changing? Why was it so sudden?

You realize they have stopped reaching for your hand as you are walking into the grocery store and you scrabble to try and remember when the last time they reached out was.

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Photo by S&B Vonlanthen on Unsplash

Was it last week? Has a whole month passed by since the last time they needed my hand?

But motherhood keeps hurrying you along.

The schoolwork is getting harder, there is another child added, and work is getting more demanding. Hurry up you are going to be late for the next activity.

And then a memory on your Facebook pops up with a video from a year ago.

Their voice has changed.

When did they lose that little high pitched voice? They don’t call me mommy like that anymore. When was the last time?

As the days pass by it doesn’t feel as though everything is changing until one day you wake up and you realize it’s all, different.

And there are sports, more meals, more activities, and more long days to come that leave you feeling like you cannot be fully present in each moment as you are trying to keep up and get to the next one.

Until one day you sit down and are watching them play and you realize their play has changed. Their imagination has grown and their language has developed in a way that you hadn’t noticed. You marvel over their new personalities and their little minds. Wow, they really are spectacular, aren’t they?

It’s a painful and joyful process of motherhood.

I so love to watch them grow, but I hate watching pieces of them go.

And it feels like time is slipping through my fingers.

My oldest is ten, and it’s not getting any easier. The many faces, voices, phases, and milestones that have been left behind ping my heart every time I look at old photos, watch a video from the past, or think of a fond memory.

The first ten years went too fast, and I know the next ten years will too.

And I look forward to all he is becoming.

I’m honored to be apart of his journey. I am honored I get to marvel in his new triumphs. I am honored I get to comfort him through the bumps in life.

My youngest is turning one, and the concept of time is intensifying significantly with him.

I feel all the bittersweet emotions about each milestone and passage of time with him. So excited for all that is to come, but so painfully aware of all that is being left behind.

We are closing the door on a chapter of our parenthood journey in our home.

Never will there be another baby.

Never will the newborn cries fill our home in the dark hours of the night again.

Never will we cheer for our little one as they roll over, learn to crawl, sit up for the first time, or take their first steps again.

This little stage is over in our home.

And we are looking forward to the light at the end of the tunnel to a day when we no longer have little ones in diapers and we can sleep through the night.

I am looking forward to having my body back.

We are looking forward to seeing who they are destined to be and all the fun adventures we will have.

But I can feel the time slipping through my fingers.

These are the happiest days of our life. The days where our children are children, home with us, and filling our life with purpose and joy. I live for their warm bodies cuddled up in my lap and their little faces smiling up at me.

A day is coming all too soon when their warm body wont fit in my lap.

They will get big and move away from needing to be held by their mother like their little self once lived for as well.

A day is coming all too soon when they wont be looking up at me, but will be looking me in the eyes or possible down at me. Their little bodies will become big bodies and my children will become adults.

These days do not happen tomorrow, but they happen without warning.

And it makes time a tricky thing to navigate in motherhood.

Constantly battling the clock to make it to the next activity or to make it to bedtime.

But equally battling the clock to live in the moment and try to memorize every face, voice, and phase they go through.

I wish I could bottle up every version of them and carry them with me. Each version has a piece of me with them.

It’s painful that you do not get to say goodbye. I miss them so much.

Oh my little ones, it is a blessing to witness your life.

Even on the hard days and the days that I feel as though I am living for bedtime, there is no role I would rather have than the role of being your mother. It is a joy to watch every piece of you forming.

And as we lose the pieces that were, I hope we cherish the memories and hold the littleness in our hearts forever.

Because even though time seems to be slipping through my fingers…

There is no place I would rather be.

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Abbey Williams is the producer and host of the Mimosas with Moms Podcast, content creator of the social media platforms @mimosaswithmoms, and mother of 4. She is committed to supporting, empowering, and connecting with mothers in all seasons of motherhood. She navigates her blended family/coparenting life with her husband, four kids, and two sister labs.

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