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The People Saying “You’re Going To Miss This” Are Just Trying To Connect

It doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong by wishing away an hour or a day or even a year.

“You’re going to miss this.” Every mom has heard it. Maybe in the church pews as you wrangle a toddler who’s suddenly gone boneless while screeching. Or in the Target checkout line when you’re trying to scan seven pairs of Cat & Jack pajamas while your toddler “helps” by throwing things out of the cart at you. Sometimes it’s at the park where you try to force a cup of coffee directly into your veins as you push your kid on a swing at 7 a.m. because you’ve both been up since 4.

Maybe it’s the older lady walking her dog alone or the Target manager chuckling as he hands you the fruit snacks from the floor or the minister from the front of the pulpit. Sometimes they say it in a funny, joking kind of way. Like you know you really won’t miss this, but they have to say it out loud anyway. And sometimes they say it so full of longing and nostalgia, like honey dripping off a spoon.

But either way, here’s what I want you to know: The intentions are good. And if they’re not, pretend like they are. Despite what Twitter has told you and what your fight-or-flight response fueled by your own worries and fears has told you, “You’re going to miss this” isn’t meant to be a threat or a scold. It’s not a thinly veiled reference to you being a bad mom or your kid being a bad kid.

Because deep down, the person saying this is just like you. They were a parent of a young kid at some point, too. They had tweens who didn’t listen and teens who seemed annoyed by them. They get it. And much like a new mom trying to connect at the park with your little flour sack of a baby, still smelling of breast milk as you make a joke to someone else perched by the slide, they want you to know they’re with you. They want to connect with you. “You’re going to miss this,” they say, because what’s the alternative? To pull you into a hug? To squeeze your baby and get teary-eyed thinking of how much they miss about those little grabby hands at the grocery store? To try to somehow convey to you that they were you and that they are you and that you will remember the hard moments in a very, very different way in 10 years?

It doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong by wishing away an hour or a day or even a year. It doesn’t mean you have to change your perspective or your behavior.

Look, I’m from the South. I know the energy that seemingly nice sounding phrases actually carry. Like the phrase “bless your heart” or “bless their heart” is really just a way to say “that’s one dumb*ss idiot” without hurting anyone’s feelings. Because you know, when someone says, “Boy that rain sure is something” when you’re waiting in line at a food truck — this is just a person trying to say hello. They’re trying to connect; they’re wanting to spill their guts to you in a way that doesn’t make you run for the hills and make a TikTok in front of a green screen of a restaurant where you mock the entire conversation.

Of course you won’t miss your kid screaming at you and the hot, flushed cheeks you’re experiencing as every other preschool parent pretends like they don’t see.

But you will miss *waves hands around* this. One day you will miss this particular wave of parenthood, this part of your life, in the way we all miss the past. You will one day find the same little red rain boots your kid was wearing on the day they had a full-on body-melting tantrum at the park in front of your mother-in-law and all you’ll remember is how they called them their “boos” instead of “boots.” You’re going to miss this.

It doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong by wishing away an hour or a day or even a year. It doesn't mean you have to change your perspective or your behavior. You will miss this one day because that’s the nature of being a person. And the people telling you that already know this. Instead of being furious at them — how dare they even suggest you are not loving every single moment of motherhood (even though you aren’t)? — take it for what it is. This is a person who knows how lonely motherhood can be. A person who maybe wishes they could go back but knows you can’t. A person who wouldn’t do over a single moment of toddlerhood, but does have a nostalgic fondness for it. A person who just wants to use mom shorthand to connect with you because motherhood sometimes feels so big and encompassing, and then sometimes it feels like this weird little cloud you’re in and you’re not sure how you got there.

A person who was once just like you, awkwardly trying to connect with you in the grocery store. You’re going to miss this someday, too.