Last week I was talking about how we need to slow down and today is why it is so important to stop and live in the now.
My little boy, Joshua, turned 8 this week and it really shook me to think of 8 years with him and yet it seems only yesterday that he was in my arms as a new born, toddling along kicking a football, learning to talk...such precious time that I adored and yet I was so tired half the time I'm not sure I was all there!!! In fact I know I was a walking zombie for many years!!
As a new parent I was totally overwhelmed, especially with the tiredness, whilst trying to accomplish such basic needs. I could not do it all and so I had to make a choice...Will my house be clean and tidy, will I get a shower every day or will I immerse myself with my children and just live each day for them?
I chose the latter...you might have thought a bit of both would be a more balanced idea but my brain, at the time, couldn't seem to cope with those choices. I'm not saying that is what you should do, just sharing what I did.
I loved looking after the children, I loved them learning something new, the smiles, the cuddles, the experiences and adventures we went on. This took so much effort though, that I couldn't do anything else...
What I have discovered with Joshua being 8 and Freya nearly 10 is that I still do all this with them but I can do the other stuff as well. Yes that's right I actually have a regular shower now! I can clean and tidy the house, even though I will still do everything else first!! My priorities have not changed but the children have. They have allowed me more time as they have become more independent. I love watching them grow up but it comes with the realisation that they don't need me as much as they did. This is what we want as a parent, that they are able to be themselves, thinking and acting for themselves, making those choices without as much guidance.
So for those people with little ones still, enjoy it, embrace it, if you can afford a cleaner, get one!! All those things that you look at and think I should do that, I should fix that, I should move that, clean that, tidy that, sort that... well maybe you shouldn't? Maybe it can wait because the children growing up won't, they keep changing and developing and when they are older do you want them to say, we had a lovely clean and tidy house or that they loved being with mummy/ daddy?
Yes there is so much guilt to deal with too because we put so much pressure on ourselves to be super-human. I always compared myself to my mum as she did seem rather super-human and when I was struggling I would think, how did she do this so easily? Do you know what...maybe she struggled too. I can only really remember when I was older, not a baby or toddler, so I'm sure our house was in disarray when I was little, I just can't remember and unfortunately not having her here, I couldn't ask her.
As I have grown in confidence I have started to realise she wasn't a super-mum, she just was to me. I didn't care about anything but being with her and what we did together. She gave me that and as I grew up, yes I noticed she could clean and tidy, but I was older too and didn't need as much care.
So don't beat yourself up. What you remember could be through rose-tinted glasses. What we learn through our childhood and from our parents has a massive impact on how we parent but remember you are YOU and a wonderful you at that. You do what is right for you and your family and yes it will be different and yes there will be some bits the same and that is OK.
Be confident in how YOU parent, look at your child and often you will know what they need, not what a book, someone else said or your parent, 30 years ago did.
Time is a funny thing, we don't always feel like there is enough time but we can choose what we do with the time we have.