Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Hindsight (aka 'rose-tinted glasses')

parental hindsight, hindsight, mother diaries, parenting blog, funny parenting blog, mother blogger, parenting, motherhood, rose-tinted glasses

Enjoy every minute

I will tell you another translation for that phrase:


Rose-tinted-glasses hindsight.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing - it makes us believe silly things, like that children are always adorable and we must enjoy every minute of them. You might see a mother in Tesco shouting at her blue-eyed boy who merely asked her what noodles are made from and think "that's a bit harsh, he was only asking a question." Yes, a question he has already asked her fifteen times today. You have no idea what sort of day she has had, or how much shit she's had to deal with before she left the house.

I've even started to do it myself. My eldest has just received his place in infant school and as soon as I found out, a movie played before my eyes of his first laugh, his first word and all the times he ate his dinner up. See, this is what hindsight does to you; out of the 1,462 times I have provided dinner for my child (a rough estimate), I recall the THREE times he ate it all without a fuss. Three. I look at all my family photographs and they have the same effect of Macdonald's advertising. Such adverts convince me that the burgers are always mouth-wateringly tasty, not shrivelled with limp lettuce and a bad aftertaste. Every time I finish one I'm like, why the hell did I not remember how crap I felt the last time I had one of these?! And I get a similar feeling every meal time when I sit down and I see my boy's face look at the food I've placed before him, as though I've just asked him to eat his own toes. Of course, I in no way want to compare my children to substandard burgers, they do not leave the same aftertaste. Their cute faces, however, have a tendency of convincing me that they are always wonderful.

The lasagne I lovingly prepared for my eldest child last night which he told me looked 'disgusting' and refused to eat it.

I read a blog post the other day by a mother who had regrets about the times she rushed her children to bed. Her poetic blog post, as well written as it was, made me feel like crap. Why? Because I had literally just ushered my children to bed for a bit of 'me' time. Me time: that bit of the evening when I get to clean up toys, put a load of washing on and eat my tea in peace. Ahhhhh. It's hardly the most rewarding 'me time' is it? After all the times in the day when I've had to tie shoe laces, wipe faces and play games on repeat. After all the times I've had to leave a cup of tea I made for myself or forgotten to eat because I'm too busy making food for other mouths, I am now asked that I spend that extra hour or so reading the story I already read twice today. And as well meaning as that lady's blog post was, it was written through the lenses of those highly deceptive rose-tinted glasses.

Please don't get me wrong, I am not trying to rush my time with my children away. There are many times that I enjoy them fully - there are the extreme highs along with the extreme lows, but let's be real here, people. Telling someone to enjoy every minute of parenting is like telling someone to enjoy every minute of a twelve hour hike. Sure, there will be beautiful views and you will enjoy the exercise, but you will also be tired and dirty. Besides which, there is no guarantee of sunshine, on some days you walk through thunderstorms. I dare you to tell a hiker when they're reaching their finishing line, a meal and a hot bath to just go on that extra mile further. I dare you to look at them with disapproval when they act dismayed at the prospect of another hill. Better still, try the "enjoy every minute of your hike" line and see if you come out of it unscathed.

So, if you see me in the supermarket today losing it with my kids, please don't tell me to hold it together, like I'm some sort of machine. Hindsight, although highly delusional, is a gift from God that helps us to carve out rosy memories for ourselves and cut out all the hardships that we wish not to remember. Do you ever hear your mother say to you, out of the blue, "Awww, I've just had a memory of the first time you shat yourself in the middle of Sainsburys." No, she will most likely recall the first time you giggled, or the first time you said her name. 

I have no doubt I will carve out very good memories for myself when I look back on the early days with my children. I have no doubt that, once they are grown, part of me will long for one more squeeze of their little hands or just one more cuddle with my babies. I have no doubt I will look at the family photos with fondness, and no bad memories will remain. I will wish for just one more day with them. And then I will take off my pink spectacles and pick up my diaries; the years of documentation, all the highs and the devastating lows, and I will thank god that I got though it unscathed. Don't feel guilty for not enjoying every minute with your children, in twenty years time you will think you did regardless.

I really fancy a Macdonalds...

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