Our rubbish is collected every Wednesday.
One 'bin day' morning', I was enjoying having my toddler in daycare because it meant I could apply my make-up slowly and carefully, rather than have her sat next to me insisting anything I put on my face I put onto hers as well.
My 1 year old son heard the truck turn into our street well before I noticed. At lightning speed he looked up from whatever random household object he had been attempting to devour and straight out the window. He quickly abandoned what he was playing with and crawled over closer to see if he could get a look at the truck he knew was out there. He was even making the noise, clearly excited.
At that moment, I had a choice. I could scoop him up into my arms, race outside with him giggling with anticipation, sit down on our front lawn and pretend to be as interested in the huge, loud, stinky truck as he was. Or... I could shrug my shoulders, figure he'll survive without actually seeing the truck, turn back to the mirror and joyfully continue my blissful, uninterrupted make-up application. Within 10 seconds or so I went from Come on Mum, do it for your son! to Come on Mum, do something for yourself! and back again about 1000 times.
As parents we are ALWAYS being told to savour the moment, don't ever take time with our kids for granted, love every minute of every day because before we know it, they won't be little anymore and possibly not interested in garbage trucks... so make the most of today. Make the most of 'now'. I hear it ALL THE TIME!
Here's an idea. How well received it will be is yet to be seen however a blogger isn't a blogger without sharing a few home truths. I suggest, perhaps, it's totally okay every so often to - wait for it - do something for yourself! Yes I know, they won't be small enough to pick up forever but it's okay, every so often, to say "No, Mummy doesn't want to pick you up right now." It's okay.
Social media is absolutely drowning in poems, quotes and 'letters' reminding us to SLOW DOWN, ENJOY the night time feeds because they won't last forever, hold your kid, interact with your kid, sing to your kid etc. all because - news flash - they grow up. Let's be honest, they put a lot of pressure on us to ALWAYS put our kids first and leave us feeling full of guilt if we should ever - Heaven forbid - choose ourselves.
And why is it such a bad thing to have grown up children? Do they all of a sudden stop being amazing, funny, smart, cute, cuddly people just because they're independent and too big to swaddle? Do children really get to an age where they stop being the wonderful human beings they are just because they don't want to climb all over you when you're trying to use the toilet (yes, we're pressured into savouring these moments too). The relationship a parent has with their newborn baby is special and fabulous, there's no doubt, but we are often left fearing the years ahead when our children have grown into adults because apparently we will be so consumed with sadness having lost our 'babies', we won't be able to have any sort of meaningful relationship with our adult children.
Here are some examples of what I'm talking about... I'm sure you've read them too.
Somebody's mother somewhere, will miss with lips of grief, portraits of children grown and cry herself to sleep.
Why is this mother so sad? She still has children, they've just grown up. Has her relationship with them soured over the years just because they've turned from kids into adults? Surely not?
The picture books are put away, there are no children's games to play, no goodnight kiss, no prayers to hear, that all belongs to yesteryear.
I assume the person who wrote this poem about kids growing up too fast had some pretty amazing and wonderful things that filled the time previously taken up with children's games and goodnight kisses. Could I suggest, perhaps that these children have grown up and are now having children of their own? Or maybe not. Perhaps they're incredibly career driven and hugely successful, traveling all over the world for business. Or perhaps they've become a doctor or a nurse and spend their days helping other people. I imagine if that was how my kids turned out, I wouldn't be thinking about the fact that I couldn't hold them anymore... I'd be full of pride and my love for them would be even stronger!
Oh cleaning and scrubbing can wait 'till tomorrow, but children grow up, as I've learnt in my sorrow.
Yes, they grow up. Yes, sometimes it can seem very quick. But WHY is that a bad thing? Why does there need to be sorrow?
As a busy mum (like every mum), my day is often filled with choices. I could empty the dishwasher or get into the sandpit with my baby. I could make a cup of tea or read a book to my daughter. Sometimes I choose them. In fact most of the time, I chose them. But sometimes, I choose me. The poems and songs about kids growing up are lovely and I completely understand the intention of their authors, but I read them and immediately feel as though I'm falling short. I don't play in the sandpit enough. I don't read to my daughter enough.
I'm not good enough.
What rubbish! We put enough pressure on ourselves without having to live in fear of regret. We can't possibly spend our days worrying so much about the future and how well we're using our time - how depressing! I would hope my relationships with my kids are just as strong when they're adults as they are now. I would hope that if, occasionally, I did choose myself, they wouldn't be affected in any way. Surely their memories of me won't be those rare moments I decided to watch Bold and the Beautiful instead of building a tower? Surely their memories will be of a mum who was 'present', despite occasionally fulfilling her responsibility as a house wife who is in charge of the washing, cooking, cleaning etc.
Being a mum is hard - really hard. How about we stop making it harder and start choosing US for a change? I'm not saying it's ok to sit on your iPhone all day or soak in a hot bath for an hour while your kids feed themselves lunch. But I am suggesting, it's ok to choose YOU.
Yes, savour the good moments. Yes, enjoy the cuddles. Yes, love the time you have. But also... look forward to their first award at school. Look forward to their first job. Look forward to their wedding day.
Don't beat yourself up if you didn't enjoy the last 2am feed. Complaining how unfair it is that you had to get up AGAIN despite only just drifting off after the last feed does NOT mean there is something wrong with you. Don't beat yourself up if you didn't love the last time you help your baby to sleep. Complaining about having a sore back and tired arms does NOT mean there is something wrong with you. Don't beat yourself up if you chose to do the washing up instead of singing Twinkle Twinkle again. Complaining that you are completely and utterly sick of singing that song does NOT mean there is something wrong with you.
Just so you know, I chose ME on 'bin day'.
Our rubbish is collected every Wednesday.