We all know that once you have children ‘the days are long and the years are short’ but since becoming a mum of two, I feel that time has sped up even more. After seeing everyone’s back-to-school posts this September, it has dawned on me that in two short years it will be my turn to send Darcie off to school. We are more than half way through this glorious period in our lives, when we aren’t governed by school regulations, uniforms, the confines of travelling within the holidays or scraping money together for school trips. And I’m worried, I’m worried that I’m not making the most of this time we have together. I’m afraid that I could be doing more, showing her more, enjoying it more.
As a stay at home mum I feel an immense pressure to give my children the best childhood years possible. There is a responsibility to teach them about the world, to make sure they are polite and that they have good manners, that they spend time being creative and exploring outdoors. If they play up in public or don’t say ‘thank you’, that’s on me. If they can’t use a knife and fork correctly or if Darcie continues to be a fussy eater, that’s on me. The list is endless! And I think that sometimes I get caught up in the pressure of the responsibility of it all that I am guilty of forgetting to just enjoy it all.
I am so unbelievably lucky to get to spend this time at home with my children and I think this is why I am so scared of not making the most of it. It bothers me that we didn’t take advantage of the time when Darcie could have flown for free and that we haven’t ever taken her abroad. I’m determined for us to take some holidays when we can still go off peak and avoid the rush of the summer holidays. It’s hard to find the funds when we are also saving for a house but I’m so aware that these are our children’s formative years. I want to make sure they have an amazing foundation for life even if they ultimately won’t remember this time.
I find myself clock watching during the day and as soon as 4pm hits the countdown to Daddy’s return is on. I wish away the bath and bedtime routine so that I can have time for myself and then spend that time wishing that I had done more with them throughout the day. It’s a battle with time, energy, money and myself. I know I’m not the only mum who feels like this sometimes.
There was a post that did the rounds recently about how we only get eighteen precious summers with our children. I know that it was meant to spread positivity and encourage us to make the most of the time when our children spend their summers with us. But instead, I was just hit by an overwhelming sense that two of those Summers have gone by already and I spent them moaning about the heat or worrying about the kids burning in the sun.
I can’t slow down time, or get back any time that I wish had been better spent. But I can try to make the most of our time from now on. I want to spend less time fretting over my messy house and more time getting out of it and exploring with the kids. Less time getting ready in the mornings and more time eating breakfast together and planning our adventures for the day. Less time looking at my phone or working during the day and more time setting up tea parties for teddy bears and painting rainbows. This time is so precious and the thought of wasting any of it physically hurts.
But I also want to put less pressure on myself to enjoy it all, because some bits of motherhood are hard and we are allowed to wish tantrums and teething away. The more pressure I put on myself to make every second count, the less I actually enjoy it all. So I suppose in the most long winded way possible, the thing I am saying is this: I want to focus on what is actually important. To spend more time making my kids smile than making the beds, spend less time worrying about wasting time and more time just being present. And above all, to be able to look back and say that I LOVED being at home with my children while they were small and that we had the BEST time ever.