Years ago when I was so unsure about having children, I didn’t know how I’d ever come to a decision one way or the other. In the end it was a leap of faith more than anything resembling certainty; a terrified here-goes-nothing plunge off the high dive.

What would it have been like, knowing what I know now?

I’d have understood how my happiness and peace of mind would become dependent on the happiness and peace of mind of people whose emotions and comprehension were in a constant state of flux. How my sense of self would often feel lost and buried under the rubble of motherhood, how what I did each day would go unseen and unappreciated.

I’d have known that confidence and validation was never going to be part of this gig for me: each year would be a blundering foray into the unknown, each day would bring reasons to doubt myself and useless wishes for outside assurances and internal conviction.

I’d have seen how the slippery nature of time would at first stretch the hours into achingly dull periods that felt as though they would never end, then send the earth spinning at such a dizzying pace the very best views would be there and gone, there and gone. How it would become obvious that there is no real difference between letting go and losing your grip. Good times, bad times, nothing stays the same.

I would have caught a glimpse of the indescribable magic behind all these things and more. The way motherhood is both small and expansive, a rut and a telescope. How it has torn me down and built me up and left me with a heart brimming over with not one overriding emotion but every complicated point in the spectrum.

Is it worth it? I might have asked, once upon a time.

Only if what you want is everything, I’d say now.

A post shared by Linda Sharps (@sundry) on

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I remember being obsessed with woven friendship bracelets and scratch n’ sniff stickers and jelly shoes and beaded safety pins when I was Riley’s age, and I suspect some of you who are of a similar vintage know exactly what I’m talking about. How did these things even come to be? One day we’re fighting over the last Cabbage Patch doll, the next we’ve all inexplicably decided to spend our recess time buried under piles of embroidery floss in pursuit of that pain-in-the-ass chevron pattern.

80’s fads may have been cheesy and overly dependent on neon-tinted silicone, but at least they weren’t noisy. I wish my kids would beg for a certain style of pants or a nice silent Trapper Keeper, but no, everything they’re into is LOUD AS HELL.

Dabbing was mostly quiet, if visually annoying, but it came with an unfortunate side serving of that godawful Migos song (lyrics: “Look at my dab! Bitch, dab!” *repeat 9034829537329856 times), plus the WTFuckery of yelling “Dab out!” before leaving a room. Bottle flipping — kerthunk! Kerthunk! Kerthunk! — was banished to the garage, where it still echoed throughout the house and was constantly accompanied by earsplitting shouts of “OHHHHHHHH” and “I AM THE ONE DON’T WEIGH A TON!!!”

Now it’s fidget spinners. All day long: VSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, and then the startling clonk! of someone inevitably dropping one on a hard surface, not to mention the constant bickering over whose fidget is spinning faster it’s mine no it’s mine hey you cheated no you cheated OMG KNOCK IT OFF BEFORE I CRAM THAT THING WHERE IT’S REALLY GOING TO MAKE YOU FIDGET.

I have no idea what will come sweeping through the elementary-school set next, but I hope it doesn’t involve any sort of vocalization or movement. In fact, I say us parents band together to bring back the mannequin challenge, only without the song and featuring today’s hottest new trend: a fashionable strip of duct tape across the mouth.

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