“You better make the most of it, they grow up soooooooo fast”
Cue wistful glassy eyed look from ‘well wisher’ as I peel toddlermonster up from aisle 5 in Tescos. Are you fucking kidding me?
This is my least liked phrase as a Muma, and by far the one I hear the most.
I am TRYING to make the most of ‘it’. I am assuming ‘it’ is what these ‘well wishers’ are referring to as The Early Years. I haven’t quite worked out what the cut off age is for when we are supposedly meant to have made the most of it by. I’m assuming it is when we get to burn the car seats?
Here’s the thing, The Elders (by this I mean parents with older, more civilised children) don’t seem to realise that pure panic shoots through me when I am reminded to make the most of it.
I begin to ask silent questions. Do you not think I am making the most of it then? Are you trying to scare me into becoming SUPERMUM so that I can better squeeze every last inch of life out of my girls before they turn into pumpkins at midnight. What more can I possibly do…
As a Muma I have good days, when my invisible cape is flapping in the wind as I single handily plough through soft play complete with genuine smile, chasing 2 hysterical under 4’s. I do make mental snapshots of these moments and hope that my sieve like memory will somehow hang on to them.
But if I’m being honest I probably have more of the mundane days. Where a coffee / wine combo sees me through the trails of raising a ToddlerNinja and MiniMadam. Where feeding them, getting them dressed and then distributing them to school, or nursery, or some kind of happy clappy group is more the order of the day. Am I supposed to savour this too?
Other than the occasional God given weekend away I haven’t missed a beat. Not.a.beat. I’m sure that’s the same for the majority of Mumas, of course work commitments and hobbies are factored into life. But on the whole, Mumas are there day in day out. Surely we are all trying to make the most of it. We cannot make time stand still, so why do these ‘well wishers’ want us Mumas-of-the-youngest, to dread a certainty? Yes our children will grow up, (god willing) in the same way that you and I will grow older, saggier, and greyer. Do we really need to be reminded?!
Within a split second of those ‘Treasure it’ variety of words being uttered I do an emergency scan of our lives: do I play enough with them? Do I take them out enough? Do I read with Darcie enough? Maybe I should take them out to more exciting places? have we taken enough photos, enough video? Have we celebrated birthdays / Christmases / Easters / Halloweens /sodding Pancake days enough? Have I squeezed enough out of everyday?! Probably not…
Make way for: Muma Guilt.
Jesus I hate this feeling. Do we play outside enough? Do they go to enough clubs and classes? Do I shout too much? Do I listen enough? Do I make them happy? AM I MAKING THE MOST OF THEM?!
As Darcie is getting older – the grand old age of 5 next month, I feel this pressure weighing down on me even more to MAKE THE MOST OF IT. Time is ticking. Every day she is getting older.
But, dare I ask, might that be such a bad thing?! Can’t I enjoy watching my children grow, leaving nappies and those bloody dummies as a safe distant memory?!
I usually conclude that short of stringing them around my neck and swinging them for ear to ear, I honestly don’t think I could savour them anymore than I am desperately trying too!
The last 5 years have not flown by for me. It doesn’t feel ‘fast’. I have felt everyday. I’m not saying I have disliked each of those days, I am just saying I have definitely lived them, in all of their vomiting, pooey, snotty, tamtruming glory. So far I have not questioned where those years have gone, or how quickly time has flown. You can see where they have gone in the many new lines surrounding my eyes, or the deeper grey that has set up residence underneath them.
Perhaps I am just a bit worn out after 5 years of The Under 5’s Movement.
I often wonder why I am reminded to savour a moment in my life where I am treated as a personal milking machine, am ignored for the majority of daylight hours, used as a human climbing frame, must second guess broken sign language, have an honorary degree in poop management and simply do not operate as fast as my two mini-masters would like. Oh and of course all the while being not quite as popular as Daddy.
No wonder that when I hear those Make The Most Of It words an irrational anger bubbles up inside of me. I try my best ‘oh yes, I’m trying’ face. I Force a smile.
In my mind I have handed over the tantruming two and wished you luck, my friend.
Make the most of that.
First published on Selfish Mother Jul 7, 2016