I’ve now been a mother for seven years, seven years this month. I have been at home for seven years. It sounds a long time when I say that, but it has absolutely flown by and I’m not too sure where the time has gone.
The kids are at that point where they are getting easier, now that Boo’s 7 and Little Man is 4. They still need us of course, but not for as many every day little things. There’s no more nappies, no more need to carry everything but the kitchen sink with me when we go out, no need to overthink outings and trips to restaurants, hotels and the like. On the whole, this can only be a good thing, as they are more pleasure than hard work now. I am glad to have moved out of the baby and toddler days and I’m enjoying seeing the wonderful people that my children are becoming.
But then there will be a moment that will make me pause and look back.
The other day Little Man and I were at home, not up to much, so I asked him if he’d like to go out somewhere. He immediately replied yes, to the playground, please. So off we went and on arriving, as he always does, he opted for the swing first. So I dutifully popped him in and started pushing.
That’s when it struck me. I don’t have many more pushing years in me. In fact, I suspect it’ll be a matter of a few months at best before my boy would rather swing himself. I can’t remember when Boo did it, but I feel like it was some time ago. You don’t pay attention to the ‘lasts’ as much as the ‘firsts’ do you? The problem, I think, is that when you do something, you often don’t realise at the time that it is the ‘last’.
Whilst at the playground I saw two other mums there playing with their kids. Both of them also had babies with them and it took me back to those long days when we had no school runs, we had no place we needed to be, it was just me and the kids all day and the freedom to do as we pleased.
For seven years I’ve had a child or two of them at home with me. It’s been hard work and there have been difficult days that sometimes merged into difficult weeks, but I really wouldn’t have wanted to be anywhere else. As I look back on them, I see a whirl of playgroups, trips to feed the ducks, playgrounds, cuddling up with books, crafty mornings, and yes, I even look back wistfully on the breastfeeding days (made even better the second time round when also potty training a toddler!), the weaning mess and the middle of the night wake-ups.
I miss seeing them in their sleeping bags, I miss singing them nursery rhymes at bedtime, I miss their cute little pronunciations as they were starting to talk, I even miss (and I appreciate this may be a shocker) CBeebies at 6.30 in the morning.
It’s funny how I feel I have let time slip away from me and wasted moments. I have been here, all the time. But I now have less than a year with my son at home with me during the day, and I want to slow time down.
This time next year both of the children will be in school. I’ll be studying full time as well as writing here, which I’m quite thankful for as it should keep me busy when the house feels quiet. I think I’ll be sad. I suspect I’ll adjust quite quickly to the change. I know I’ll be more productive each day!
So I will do all that I can do. I cannot stop time, I can only cherish the time available to me. It’s funny but as I’ve taken on more and more in terms of studying and this blog growing, I do find myself getting better at putting it all aside and just being there for the kids. I’ve somehow managed to compartmentalise everything and that’s allowed me to just be here more when the kids are around – you should see the length of my to-do lists on the two days that Little Man is in nursery!
This is my last year of having a little one at home. I’m going to make it a good one.