So, hubby walks in the door and I sort of grunt & half smile, up to my armpits in whatever just spilled on the floor, kids in hyperactive mode and the distinct smell of something burning on the stove wafting through the air. I sigh and think to myself: ‘this is what my life has become.’ Rewind just a few years, hubby walks in the door and he’s greeted with a big hug and a ‘how was your day?’ from his nicely dressed, carefully coiffed wife; praying desperately to fall pregnant.
Life has changed considerably in just a few short years and it’s easy to forget how much I love being a mother when I get lost in the mundane. Already at 2 and 3 1/2 years, I get the feeling my kids are growing up way too fast. All too soon, they won’t need me like they do right now, they won’t crave cuddles from me and won’t want to spend every waking moment with me. And I’ll reminisce these precious times. The secret is to enjoy every moment while it’s happening.
I love this article, published by Time, to help parents like me make the most of these short years we have with our kids: ‘How to Have a Happy Family – 7 Tips Backed by Research‘
1. Eat dinner together: This one is close to my heart for a lot of reasons. I love dinner time with my family. It’s always full of laughter and great conversation.
2. Tell your story: Recently, we took the kids to visit my hubby’s home town. The boys loved hearing all his childhood stories. It really does give them a sense of identity.
3. Stress less: Easier said than done, right? And then you realise that you’re stressing about the fact that you stressing is stressing out your kids. Aaargh! You may take comfort in this article – if only because it reminds you that you’re not the only one who has ‘those days.’
4. Get involved in a church or community group: We have an amazing church who are a great support for our family. I can highly recommend it.
5. Checklists make life simpler: I’m the sort of person who creates a checklist and then forgets where I put it, thus, adding to my stress. But I can see how they could make your life easier if you know where your lists are.
6. Give your kids a choice: I agree with this one. Parenting isn’t a dictatorship, it’s setting your kids up to make good decisions, so they need all the practice they can get. Me: ‘Would you like spaghetti or tortellini for tea?’ My son: ‘Chocolate.’ We’re still working on this one.
7. Grandparents rock!: And everybody said ‘Amen!’ Grandparents are amazing people who invest time and life experience into our kids. They’re also the ones who make Date Night possible for many parents. I love my kids’ Grandparents to bits.
The moral of the story is this: These are the toughest, most testing years of your life but they can also be the most rewarding and these are the years where so many memories are made that will keep you warm at night in your later years. Don’t try to hit the ‘fast forward’ button. Hit ‘pause’ every once in a while and just soak it all in.