Over the course of the last 12 months, I’ve turned into a “hurry up” mother. I don’t like it and it’s not who I want to be, but it sort of just happened.
I think it started when I went back to work after mat leave, everything just suddenly sped up. I was back on the hamster wheel juggling priorities and to add to that, I had a little person to add to the mix. Everything just got, well quite simply, busy.
I used to spend maternity leave attending various groups and meeting friends for play dates and lunches but they were all based on my timescales, my plans, all of which I could work around if little legs slept longer or was in a grouchy mood. But how does that compute when you go back to work? You can’t just turn up late because your child slept longer, or you can’t not bother leaving the house because you had a bad night and you don’t have the energy to get dressed, never mind wash and straighten your hair.
It just doesn’t mesh. You have to adapt to your situation and surroundings. I think in my process of adapting, I swung too far the other way – I wanted to be early for everything, to always look polished, to be able to win at life – essentially to show I could do it.
This turned into me rushing the best moments, the fun bits, to allow me to get to appointments on time. I know this is life, I get that, but I don’t want it to be my life 100% of the time.
This has only become apparent in the last couple of weeks as I’m stuffing Harry into his pram whilst he’s arching his back, desperate to walk – all so we can get places quicker. It’s not fair on him and it puts too much pressure on us. So I had a rethink; I would try and give him more freedom to explore, to look and feel and taste and actually SEE things.
Don’t get me wrong, my new plan is seriously clashing with my control freak nature, but I think it’s the right thing to do.
Today I tested it out properly for the first time. We started with baking – whipping up some shortbread.Yes, he got the mix all over the utensils jar (and the utensils!), the worktop and the floor. Yes he put spoonfuls of flour into the bag of sugar, but I just kept thinking “who cares”. We just had fun! It turns out we are a pretty good team and although the shortbread turned out more like biscuits, they still taste pretty damn good.
Then i took Harry to the park, no pram, no reigns, no changes of clothes (oooh living on the edge!) Just him, me and the football. And….we loved it! It was so much fun. Harry stopped to crouch and talk to the ducks, he stood for ages just looking at a stream “steem, steem” – I didn’t even know he knew what a stream was! We had a slow lunch in the park cafe, climbed up the slides, he got muddy knees (and I got a muddy coat), there were no tears (from either of us!) and it was just amazing.
Today I’ve noticed he has hugged me more, laughed more, looked up and smiled at me more. It was today I realised that in the same way time doesn’t stand still, sometimes I need to, just to let him be a child. These moments are fleeting and I don’t want to forget them, all because I needed to rush to be somewhere.
From now on, we are going to have more days like today.