Well, to celebrate the end of the school holidays, we all snuggled up on the coach last Sunday afternoon and watched hours of video clips of the girls as babies and toddlers.
Oh, they were sooooo cute!
We listened to the nursery rhymes, saw their first crawling efforts, watch them play playdough, jump on the trampoline and going for their first swimming lessons.
But I can also see the mess in the background while we have to sing ‘the wheels on the bus’ for the kazillion’s time.
Then I remembered how the days during those early years of parenting mushed into a long blend of repetitive chores, often feeling like you have not accomplished anything at all! You look back and can’t remember all the hours of reading books, playing with blocks, trying to make dinner while a short person unpacks your kitchen cupboards and create an obstacle course on the kitchen floor…
It reminded me of the meme going around online that says ‘cleaning your house with a toddler is like brushing your teeth while eating an Oreo biscuit’.
In the blink of an eye, they are people in their own right, who can not only dress themselves, but they also have their own ideas and prefer to spend time with friends instead of me.
Even though I love the stage our family is in right now, I wish I could just have half an hour to hold those tiny bodies close to my heart again. Sigh.
But there was a surprising twist to this tale.
It was interesting to see the girls’ frustration with their own younger selves on the screen, especially my monkey-child. She would sigh out loud when her younger self would ask YET AGAIN to sing ‘the wheels on the bus’. She would get annoyed that she was soooooo slow to put on her shoes or to cut that piece of paper so slowly (and haphazardly). When I stated that this was my life for many years, she immediately asked ‘How did you survive, mum? How did you do this day in and day out over and over and over again?’
This led to a beautiful conversation of how much I love them, but also how much I sometimes needed my own space (like going to the toilet all by myself). We could talk about the fact that I am still my own person, with my own ideas, opinions, needs and wants, even as a mum. I still needed adult conversation, mental stimulation and a break from kids. That I didn’t want to play Barbie or Lego in the late afternoon after taking them to the park, did their laundry and made them breakfast, lunch and busy with dinner.
I needed my own space, even if I love them so much that my heart would physically hurt in my chest.
Even though my intention was to have a trip down memory lane with the girls, the added benefit was that they now have a much better understanding and appreciation for what we do for them as parents.
This reminded me of THE BEST parenting advice I received as a new mum, even though I didn’t know it at the time.
What stage of parenting are you in right now? And how do you feel about it?