We’ve all seen it – the social media posts about how we should enjoy every single minute of parenthood as children grow up so fast.
It was only a couple of months ago that you couldn’t even look at Facebook or Instagram for about a week without seeing that “Only 18 summers left” with your children meme doing the rounds, how we must enjoy and make the most of everything and the hashtag #blessed being bandied around willy nilly.
(Just for the record, if you ever see me use #blessed, feel free to punch me in the face. It’s just so twee. And SO not me.)
I do get it though. Children grow (who knew), and they grow pretty bloody quickly. Time flies when you’re having fun and all that, and before we know it, they’ll be leaving school/uni/home and we’ll be blubbing like idiots because our babies have gone. Absolutely me included. I cried on the first day of pre-school FFS.
But does that mean we have to savour, enjoy, and love EVERY SINGLE minute of the day when they are small? If you tell me you actually do that, I won’t believe you!
Myself and my Other Half are fine examples of people who, in the last 16 months, have done a lot of ‘wishing time away’. So strange, as that’s exactly the same amount of time we’ve had our twins. Weird that.
I actually don’t think there’s anything too wrong in that. I mean, seriously, why would you NOT wish those sleepless nights away? (My wish still hasn’t come true, but I’m hopeful all three children will sleep through the night one day – at the same time).
What’s wrong with not wanting to spend too much of your life changing dirty nappies, cleaning up poonamis, or wiping up enough food from the floor you could serve a whole new meal again. (Baby-led weaning – not for the clean freaks amongst us, that’s for sure.)
My husband and I tend to have the most ‘I wish we could do this’ type conversations on long journeys. Usually when we’ve been going away and our car is massively overloaded with baby and toddler crap, and er, babies and a toddler, and we feel we’ll never be out of this stage.
The chats go something like this:
- When will we be able to go on a proper holiday and actually enjoy it?
- When will we be able to have a night to ourselves again?
- When can we have a nice car again?
- When will we able to take all three children on the cycle path for a bike ride and pasty?
- When will we be able to actually sit in a family-friendly beer garden and not be torn between one twin trying to escape, one who is launching himself headfirst off a climbing frame and one emotional three year old who wants us to ignore his brothers and play with him?
- When will we be able to take all three children swimming together without having to rope someone else in? (We’ve been swimming ONCE all together as a family in the last 16 months because of adult to child ratio rules and that makes me really sad.)
- And when will we ever get more than 5-6 hours sleep again?
Of course none of these things are the end of the world, definitely not. But they are things we end up talking about when we’re exhausted and have had enough of the screaming and whinging.
I’m totally sure when we get to do all of those things, there’ll be 5 more that feel way out of reach, that we wish we were already at. Guess that’s called life! Or when we get to actually take all 3 children swimming together one of them will do a massive shit in the pool…
So as hard as it was when I was flying solo and soothing crying children at 11.30pm, 1.10am, 4.36am and 6am last night, I’m going to stop wishing time away and try to enjoy more ‘now’ stuff. And don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and I feel very lucky to be with them full-time. Usually. But it is f*cking hard sometimes. And it is totally okay to not love every single minute of it.
Maybe all these memes are right, and when I have stroppy, hormonal teenagers who sleep solidly for 15 hours a day given half the chance and don’t want to talk to me let alone give me a hug, I’ll remember all these desperate sleepless nights and wish I’d appreciated the opportunity for cuddles more often.
Problem is, my children don’t want cuddles – they want to tell me interesting facts about dinosaurs at 3am, or cry for long enough that after 6 trips to their room I give in and reluctantly bring them into my bed where they spend the next two hours holding onto the headboard and bouncing on the mattress like it’s a trampoline.
You may have noticed I’m not exactly into deep and meaningfuls, but a couple of things have happened to others recently that put life into perspective a little.
So as much as I’m not about to start hashtagging the shit out of #blessed, I’m going to stop wanting to fast-forward to the next stage, which won’t be much easier, and start appreciating now. I mean, let’s face it, the chance to clean the floor under highchairs three times a day is something very special, lifting kamikaze babies down from windowsills 15 times an hour is exactly how I love to spend my time, and well, sleep is for losers anyway, right?
And the whole ‘only 18 summers left’ with your children thing is a load of old bollocks anyway. I bet at least one out of three of mine will still be at home aged 42, sponging off us, expecting me to do his laundry. So actually I don’t know what I’m worried about, there’s PLENTY of time!
Did you like this blogpost? Have a squiz at some of my other posts while you’re here. You might like this – all about my mixed emotions when my eldest started pre-school or this – surviving the first year of three under three kids