Last weekend I made my daughter laugh hysterically. Not with any sort of elaborate game or clever toy. I pretended to get her with the hot air of my hairdryer whilst she peeked out from the duvet cover.
In that moment I realised something important. I had been missing out on the small things.
Up to that point, and without even realising it, I had been so wrapped up in what was going on in my life. I’ve recently made the decision to go back into employees after trying my hand at freelancing (and not enjoying it). I was caught up in job searches, interviews and pre-job nerves for a while and subconsciously that took over everything.
I’m not saying that I ignored my kids or anything like that, but I certainly felt tense and stressed when I was with them. We were far from the ideal of ‘quality time’.
Now I’ve started my job it’s not plain sailing, it’s been a massive shift to all of our lives and I’ve been very fortunate to co-parent with my husband. But now, I get excited about coming home everyday and I’m actually looking forward to the weekends.
I find myself appreciating the small moments, knowing that overall I’m in a better place emotionally. And perhaps, there are less of the bad times because I’m more patient and relaxed.
Looking back, I do feel guilty about wasting time not treasuring every moment. Stop and think is what all the textbooks tell us, but who has time to do that these days, especially parents? By the time you get some peace and quiet at the end of the day, a bit of self reflection is far from a priority.
I don’t have the magic answer but I can offer my advice. Don’t stop noticing the small things. The way your child is tackling that high slide in the playground, or getting them to taste a new food (finally). It may not be Pinterest worthy or important to anyone else, but if it makes your heart melt then you’re on the right track.
Even in your darkest moments, when it seems that there’s no way out, these moments are there to say – look, you made this amazing child and they’re doing awesome things, thanks to you ❤️