You often hear grandparents, or parents of older children say: ‘I can’t believe my daughter turns 32 in September’ or, ‘I can’t believe he’s going to be a teenager next week’; and it’s usually followed up with: ‘It’s all gone so fast, it seems like only yesterday they were starting school.’
These parents have noticed how quickly the time passes.
Yet when you’re a parent to an active 6 year old, or a 2 year old who has spent the day having tantrums, the time (till bed-time) seems to pass so s-l-o-w-l-y!
There’s a lot of fun to be had with babies and young children – hugging and smiling, reading books, playing with playdough, building towers, and ‘magic’ things like blowing bubbles or lying on the grass watching the clouds pass by. When this is happening, it’s such a beautiful feeling, and we are strengthening the bonds with our child/ren.
And then there’s the days where parenting feels like one hard slog! The toddler didn’t sleep well because they were teething, and the 4 year old is just in a cranky mood, the milk gets spilt, nobody wants to pick up the toys, and it’s raining for the third day in a row. I’m sure you’ve all had those days, where you keep glancing at the clock, willing it to go faster so it’s 7 pm and time for bed. These are when the days seem to last forever!
The reality is that those challenging days and the happy, smiling ones are all part of the parenthood journey (and the child’s journey too).
Parenting is a job, with emotion ties. When you work as a cleaner, or teacher, or mechanic, we do our work, and we get paid. When we work as parents – caring, teaching, loving, cleaning, driving etc the ‘pay’ comes in the form of emotional connection with your child – and some days there seems to be more (or less) of the pay!
So how do we enjoy this time before we are the ones saying: “I can’t believe he’s 10 already’?
The key is to enjoy the moment!
If it’s raining, put on rain coats and have a puddle splash time!
If they are in a cranky mood, remind yourself: ‘It’s not easy being two.’
If you are in a baking mood, get your 3 y.o to help stir, and if some of the mixture ends up on the floor, show them how to clean it up, rather than getting cranky.
If they ask you to ‘watch this Mummy’ as they show you something – really watch them – enjoy the moment.
If the baby is crying, think about how hard it is for them, when you can’t understand exactly what they need.
The more often we connect with out children, the more we can weather the storms on those tough days.
The reality is that even when children are being challenging, they are still loveable! If you doubt that statement… think about a life without them – that’s really hard to imagine, isn’t it? So often when you put that child to bed and they are asleep, we look at them again with love (whilst saying a silent ‘thank-you’ prayer that they are asleep!)
Being a parent gives you a chance to create a second childhood for yourself! Make it a magical one for you and your child, by having fun together and really enjoying this amazing person you helped to create, and whom you have the opportunity to share your wisdom with!
Image by Elliot Bennett via Flickr