Having kids, it’s hard work. Unfortunately, you do not truly understand just how hard raising little people will be until you are thrown straight in at the deep end on the day you bring your first born into the world. It is so easy to let the tough times get you down: the sleep deprivation, feeding troubles, sickness, tantrums, poo explosions – I could go on. Parents can go days (sometimes weeks or months) at a time dealing with one baby related issue after another. Does this sound familiar to you – you worry about feeding your newborn/you eventually establish feeding your newborn, you worry that you’ll never sleep again/your baby eventually starts sleeping through, you worry their not reaching their milestones quick enough/they start smashing their milestones and you couldn’t be prouder, you worry they will only ever eat mashed banana or beige food/they slowly start eating more fruit and vegetables. It is never ending!
When you are trying your absolute best to bring up your kids it is hard not to let the worry, the child related dramas and just the sheer relentlessness and responsibility of being a parent get you down. That is why when parenting is good we need to hold on to those moments, we have to cherish them. Before you start telling me I need a reality check, I know sometimes being a parent can feel just too hard to bare (I have been there, so many times!) and I whole heartedly do not subscribe to the ‘cherish every moment’ thing; often when both my kids are being little horrors I feel the total opposite of #blessed. But the goods times? All those special, wonderful and magical moments we share together as a family? I treasure them as if they were a chest full of gold, I hold on to them tight and never ever forget about them.
When your life is made up of 75% dirty nappies, toddler tantrums, meltdowns at the dinner tables, wiping snotty noses and giving your all to the little people you created, leaving barely any energy and time left to look after your self, when things do start going right and everything feels perfect then you better had cling on to those good times with all your might. It can be hard sometimes when you are just trying to make it through the day in one piece to focus on the happier moments; dealing with a poonami at 6am after only four hours of broken sleep can make it almost impossible to remember all the positives that come with having children.
Some days it just feels like for every hug your little one gives you they give ten more screams of ‘no!’ and you can easily convince yourself motherhood is just too hard. This is why when we have a lovely family day out, when Leo tells me he loves me, when we play games together at home and Alex is giggling and playing happily, I try my absolute best to etch their smiling faces into my mind and to bottle up that happiness.
Life with kids is all swings and roundabouts, it has high and lows, peaks and troughs. I know that if I didn’t recognise and hold dear the good times, I could all too easily let myself sink into a life of self doubt, worry and convince myself my kids are just trying to make me cry and probably hate me. So when Leo gives me an extra tight hug and whisper of ‘I love you mama’ , when we have a fun and exciting family adventure or the baby sleeps all night and wakes with a smile, I savour those sweet moments and lock them away in my heart.
On Saturday we had a perfect afternoon out at a National Trust property and I’m not exaggerating, it was perfect. I took photos to remember the happy faces but I also put the camera away to be more in the moment and truly soak up these happy times. The fun we had on the weekend and every happy moment we’ve had before and since are the ammunition I need to get me through the challenges being a mum of two throws my way.
So, no, don’t put pressure on yourself to cherish every single moment of being a parent, you’re just setting yourself up to feel guilty and like a failure. But when being a mum is good, and it is bloody brilliant a lot of the time, hold on to those moments so next time you are trying to get a teething baby off to sleep at 3am or calm your toddler who’s throwing yet another tantrum, you’ll be able to call on the happy memories to help see you through.
I know you don’t need me to tell you to enjoy time with your kids, of course you do that already, but I also know that there have been countless times I would have appreciated a gentle reminder to think about all the happy moments from my life as a mum. There have been times I have felt like the whole world was on my shoulders, fearing that every parenting decision I have ever made has been wrong and I would have loved nothing more than for someone to stop my negative train of thought by telling me to think of a beautiful family memory instead.
Saturday morning started with my four year old having a meltdown over the inadequate amount of honey on his pancakes at breakfast, but our afternoon out together as a family made me forget all about the arguments. Running around that beautiful garden with both my babies giggling, that to me is what true happiness really feels like and I don’t think I have ever felt more content.
Do you cherish every moment of family life? Do you think it’s even possible to love every moment of motherhood? What is your favourite memory, the one you can always count on to make you smile on a difficult day?