If I may offer any advice to all parents out there, it’s to allow yourself to slow down with your children. A lesson I never fully learned until I became a grandmother.
It’s ok to stop to track bugs, look at pinecones and explore along the way. I know it seems daunting; you have so much to do. Those sleepless nights that last for a month, with a teething baby, do not seem short at all. Like at all. And you certainly don’t feel like watching ants while you need to be worrying about supper or laundry or washing your floors.
As I reach my mid-forties and my youngest (biological) child nears 16, I look back on those years and they are but a blip in my life. I constantly find I am contemplating the following quotes:
“How did it get so late so soon?” – Dr Seuss
“The days are long, but the years are short” – Gretchen Rubin
I was a single parent twice in my life. The first time to a toddler while I was barely in my twenties; the second time was in my thirties and I can’t say I was a legitimate single parent as my ex had the kids 50% of the time (until they chose to live with me full-time and by then I was in a relationship and they have an amazing step-dad).
Every day was long. Every night was longer. I felt I couldn’t do it at times, that it would never be “easy”. I worked
Now those kids are adults and teenagers and although it still isn’t “easy”, I have come to the realization I wish I could have been more mindful in my moments with my children.
I know I did the best I could and they were very well cared for. My thoughts on this are geared to my needs more than theirs but also realize I wishI could have been more attentive. I wish I had been more mindful during those cuddles I was getting in the midst of those nights of broken sleep, the moments where my children were excited to share their discoveries of earthworms and beetles. I acknowledge that I was in survival mode due to my own circumstances and that I should cut myself a bit of slack. To be fair to myself, due to that survival mode, there are many gaps in my memories…fragments of time my brain doesn’t want to, or chooses not to remember (this is common for a domestic abuse survivor). Perhaps my situation is a bit more extreme and complicated than others.
The main point I want to make is this: cut yourself some slack. You’re doing the best you can. Those dishes can totally wait if you want to enjoy singing your baby one more song or chase butterflies for 5 more minutes. Just breath, parents. Breath and enjoy.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, this handsome dude and I have some ants to follow….