This may have something to do with the fact that I’ve been away from Lily all day and therefore also away from the stresses and strains of being around a toddler for hours on end. Along with the fact that I am so broody at the moment! But I was just tucking Lily in to bed and looking at her and had a little soppy moment. It feels like lately she is becoming so much more of a little girl rather than a baby. I know she’s not been a baby for a while now, we have had the full blast of the (almost) threenager stage recently! (Nobody told me 3 is worse than 2 for tantrums!!) Nursery is on the horizon and school next year!!
When I fell pregnant everyone said to me cherish every moment as they grow up so fast! I nodded and said yes I would, but do I? It’s hard to cherish every moment when you’re knee deep in poo and sick and milk in the newborn phase, and then working out how to calm a tantrumming toddler down when you tell them they can’t keep licking the window. I love family time, but sometimes it’s hard not to will on 7pm and bedtime just to sit and relax for a bit. I previously wrote about mum guilt/parent guilt and the feeling at the end of the day that we just haven’t been a great parent today. Like we could have done more, or we shouldn’t have shouted, or we should have taken them out and we didn’t.
I think the pressure to “cherish EVERY moment” is part of that guilty feeling. For example family days out. It’s like when I was younger and my friends and I would hype each other up about a party or a night out. Planning meticulously and saying it would be the “best night ever” we would go out with such high expectations, trying to savour every second… and then it would be a flop. And it’s the same for family days out, you can bet if we plan a big day out for Lily she’ll be in a tricky mood and we’ll then feel awful that the day hasn’t gone quite as well as we hoped. But a spur of the moment trip to the playground and wander round town can be a fantastic day even if it wasn’t so grand.
Days always have their ups and downs. Last Wednesday for example: Lily was on a go slow getting ready in the morning so that was stressful with lots of nagging and “Lily put your socks on, no not on your hands on your feet!” It was then followed by her dance class which started off terribly as Lily clung screaming to me and the dance teacher had to peel her off me. But then there was a massive high as she came out smiling and it turned out she loved it once she’d settled down! We then went to our friend’s house which was another high as the girls played nicely, but then Lily was tired and grouchy when we got home. To cherish every single moment of that day is difficult. I would still say it was a really good day though. There is very rarely a totally perfect day, especially when unpredictable and emotional toddlers (and mummy’s) are involved!
I suppose the “mummy guilt” I felt whilst putting Lily to sleep a moment ago when I felt like I wasn’t cherishing her enough, is ridiculous. Of course I cherish her, I love her with all my heart. I put her first above all else. It is impossible to cherish EVERY moment, we are busy parents working, providing, cooking, cleaning for our children which means not always having the time to sit back and take in a moment as it’s happening. Do I try and cherish every moment, yes. But should I beat myself up if I don’t always, no.