Something strange happens when you become a parent. The whole concept of time gets distorted and never really rights itself.
When you have small babies the adage that “the days are long but the years are short” gets bandied about a lot. It is undoubtably true, but is little solace to the parent who is desperate for bedtime to arrive, only to discover that those precious post-bedtime hours disappear faster than you can say poonami and suddenly that haven of me-time is gone and it’s time to start all over again. I still remember standing at the window of the sitting room, willing my husband to come home and take over the baby. I look back now and wonder what in the name of God I was doing all day, I had a small house, a cleaner and just ONE baby! The me now thinks I must have had all the time in the world, the me then knows that was not the case.
Luckily when I had four children under 5 my youngest sorted the problem for me but getting me up at 5 o’clock in the morning to ensure that I had enough hours in the day to get everything done…cheers small boy, the permanent-bags under my eyes will never let me forget this ‘wonderful’ phase in your journey!!
And now I am torn between feeling that on the one hand I have been given time back again, and on the other, seeing it whizz by at breakneck speed. My eldest turned 10 last month, and I found myself ridiculously emotional about it. I feel that I’m still trying to get to grips with this parenting lark but realised that at 10 she is probably half way to leaving us, half way to those first steps to an independent life, it really threw me and I realised so clearly what people meant when they said that the years are short.
And yet I find now,that as a family, we are in the glory years of time. We are no longer tied to naps or early bedtimes. Even on work days the evening provides time for something other than a quick chat then the start of bedtime routines. The shift away from 7 o clock bedtimes means more opportunity to do something together in the evening. Something simple like playing a board game, making some scones or watching a programme together is now possible because we aren’t so tied to set bedtimes. In case you think it’s all ‘little house on the prairie’ it also allows time for epic rows, lectures about messy bedrooms and many evenings of repeated homework due to sloppy attempts the first time round!
We also are at that stage where the children still want to be around us, the moody teenage years haven’t kicked in, although we are getting glimpses. We haven’t become so uncool in the kids eyes yet that they don’t want to be seen with us, although I have been advised that while it’s fine to talk to my 10 year old’s friends, I really shouldn’t try joking with them, accompanied by eye-rolls
And so the pause button is being searched for again, I like this phase, it’s fun and I’m sure if given some time I’ll get this parenting business sussed. Because without the pause button I’m afraid if I blink I’ll be dropping my eldest off to university and I still won’t have figured out how to do this right.