Recently I seem to have become very aware of how much I’m rushing around the house trying to ‘get my shit together’ whilst Taylor entertains herself. I’m aware of how many times I flee during the middle of a play session, realising that I need to get the washing out, make that phone call or start preparing dinner. “Mummy’s just got to…”… “Mummy will be back in just one minute…”
Not so long ago, I read a great blog post, ‘If I could just go back for one day’, by Helen over at Just Saying Mum, which has stayed with me. As a mum of teenagers, she talks about how quickly the childhood years go by and how important it is to cherish every single moment – how, if she could go back for one day, she wouldn’t be doing house chores or fretting about routine, she’d be playing with her toddlers, being silly and having fun…because these moments don’t last forever.
Since becoming a mum I seem to have become obsessed with optimising every single minute of my day.
Time seems to be much more elusive these days – I never have enough of it. And since I started working three days a week, I feel more than ever that there’s so much to cram into my days at home. I’m not sure when it happened but my days are now split into time blocks – tidy house, play with daughter, walk dog, go food shopping, blog, prepare dinner… And If I haven’t ticked off everything else on my ‘to do’ list for that day, I feel like a bit of a failure. A poor excuse for a wife and mother.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m missing the point of motherhood entirely…Sometimes I feel a pang of jealousy when Dad gets home from work and makes our daughter laugh more in the one hour he spends with her, than I’ve managed all day…But at least the house is tidy, right?
Granted, there are always going to be chores to complete and things that we have to do – chaos would soon take over if we did nothing but play for a week. But recently I’ve been thinking ‘what the hell?’ Does it really matter if I don’t get around to cleaning the bathroom today, or if I start cooking dinner half an hour later? So what if we’re at the park for two hours because my daughter wants to feed the ducks and I don’t get to do the ‘big food shop’ as planned…it really doesn’t matter.
Nobody will even know but me.
I read another brilliant post recently from Kirsten at The Guilt Free Guide which was all about valuing our role as parents and not to place too much emphasis on what we produce or achieve each day. A day spent caring for a child can have no significant features to it despite being busy the whole time. It can be hard to know what we have actually done except been there for our children. I for one seem to struggle with this and I think a lot of mums put pressure on themselves to constantly justify their role when at home all day with the kids – with tangible achievements and a completed to do list.
But surely there is no better achievement than raising a happy and fulfilled human being.
So, the next time my daughter wants to get out the craft box just after I’ve vacuumed, or wants me to chase her around the kitchen as I’m up to my elbows in the washing up, I’ll stop what I’m doing and I’ll indulge her. Afterall, what difference will another 20 minutes make?
I know that too soon she’ll be a teenager and I’ll be yearning for these days again when I was her best friend and all she wanted to do was spend time with me.