Whenever I took my firstborn out in his pram I would invariably be stopped by elderly ladies who would coo at the baby and then tell me to “make the most of it, they grow up so fast.” At the time the days seemed to crawl by at a snail’s pace. I was blissfully happy with my baby, totally head over heels in love, but for the first time in years I had so much time to fill. Being used to long hours in a stressful job and used to fitting all the household chores into odd minutes here and there I found it simplicity itself to keep on top of things. (I know, I was lucky.) Although my baby didn’t seem to like napping he was very easy and happy, especially when being cuddled, talked to or breastfed. My best friend would phone me every day during her lunch period which helped to break up the day but apart from that I had hours between when my husband left for work in the morning and when he returned in the evening. This was even worse when he travelled abroad for business. I was the first of my peers to start a family and had been too busy at work to attend antenatal classes so knew no other mums. The days seemed endless and it appeared to me that I had all the time in the world. Like most mums I couldn’t wait until the next stage-an end to sleepless nights, solid food, walking, talking, toilet training,school, independence.
Now, twenty year sand five children later, I wonder where all that time went. I look at my eldest son and it seems like only yesterday that we brought him home from hospital wearing his Winnie the Pooh sleepsuit. So much has happened, so many ups and downs, and I realise that some of the happiest memories and the funniest family stories came from the trivial events of everyday life: a baby emptying his bowl of porridge over his head (EVERY day), a toddler helping himself to all the cooking chocolate from the cupboard, one son asking if his little brother would be a girl when he grew up, another asking me in a very loud voice (in a loo in Amsterdam of all places) what had happened to my willy. The stories go on and on and yet at the time seemed so mundane, so unimportant. I wish it was like in Harry Potter where with a flick of a wand you could extract all your memories and watch them over. But in reality there isn’t time; we live in the here and now and are too busy making the next set of memories.
So now, I too tell new mothers to make the most of it, to enjoy every minute because life rushes by so quickly. And when I’m having a bad day and everything seems to be going wrong I remember that some day in the future I will look back on my day of ‘disasters’ and remember instead something funny or sweet that my children said or did; well, I hope so anyway!