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They grow too fast: Lessons in Parenting

When my kids were babies, the most frequent advice I received from experienced mums was; ‘Enjoy them for they grow so fast.’

They grow fastAt the time, I had a 3-year-old, a 2-year-old and a newborn. My life was an assortment of dirty nappies and tantrums, set against the backdrop of that latent anxiety,  you know, the default setting of motherhood. My mind was plagued with the question; ‘am I doing his mummy thing right?’ While I battled with everyone else’s opinion of what ‘right’ truly meant. All I cared about was retaining a useable portion of my sanity as I tried to make it to bedtime.

Bringing a new life into the world is no small feat, the realisation that you are responsible for what type of man or woman your squirming newborn will mutate into can be quite a mammoth thought to plough through.  I often think back and wonder what I’d change if I could go back in time. For starters, I wouldn’t worry so much and think that a tantrum is an indication of my poor parenting skills. I wouldn’t break into a sweat when Supernany’s methods work so well on TV but not so much in real life. I wouldn’t suffer palpitations when other seemingly perfect mums consider what I view as a triumph, to be a failure in their books, it isn’t fun trying to parent in the looming shadows of those who seem to do it right.

Now my babies are at that interesting phase called the teen years, I also have a tween and (thankfully) a pre-tween. My youngest is more like a science experiment where I undo all my mistakes and attempt to turn back the hands of the parental clock. Consequently, he moans that I ‘don’t take him seriously when he is telling me something of grave importance. I see his point because I struggle to mask my joy and fascination with every word that comes out of his mouth. I am amazed at how his emotions show on his little face.

One lesson amongst several I have learned is that each child is different and they have to be raised as individuals. The other? They grow too fast, enjoy them while you can. Savour every single moment. Take time to be awed by their young minds. Be fascinated by their growing vocabulary and how they string new words together. See the world through their eyes as they inspect every bug and flower petal and oh, when they play with their shadows! Spend less time worrying, you’re a different mummy from your friend because your child is unique, you are perfect for him which is why you were picked as his mum.

I am learning to be present in the moment, so I savour every moment of my children’s lives. The teens have crept past me and the tween starts his day by comparing his height to mine. They pat me on my head, I remember gently cradling their delicate, almost bald heads as I gave them their first baths in the maternity ward. I miss their milky breaths and the toothless grins, I certainly don’t miss the colicky cries, but I’m pretty sure I can handle that better now 🙂

They really do grow too fast.

I’d love to know what lessons have stood out for you as a parent, do share in the comments box.

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