If you have children you will know all too well that not every moment is Instagram or picture postcard worthy. They have the ability to push you to your limits while making your heart swell with unconditional love for them at the same time. Parenting can be bittersweet but it’s important to cherish time with your kids, even if it’s just one tiny moment of every day, here’s why…
1. Children grow up fast: Blink and you will miss it all. One minute they are a baby, next they are a toddler, in school, college, university and then they are gone living their own lives as adults. Eighteen years might seem like a long time to raise your child- but it flies by so you must cherish the special moments while they are in your care. Even if this is as tiny as a smile after a day of crying, a cuddle after a sulk or an apology following bad behaviour.
2. It balances out the chaos: Raising a child or multiple children can feel like a circus at times, but taking a step back to truly appreciate the person/people you are responsible for is a very humbling thing. While you may feel like you’re at the heart of a hurricane sometimes- the calm at the centre is the perfect place for cherished thoughts before you get swept back up into the whirlwind.
3. It’s a unique experience: That not all people get to go through. Not everyone can have children, even if it’s what why yearn for more than anything else in the world. While your child might push boundaries and make you angry, someone else would happily take the brunt of a toddler’s tantrum or a teenager’s strop if it meant they could have a child to call their own. Children are a blessing even if they don’t always act the part so it’s important to keep that in the back of your mind when you are having a difficult day.
4. There will come a time when you miss what you now tolerate: When your children leave home you might come to miss the noise they made, the mess they created or the challenges they gave you as their parent because they are all markers of their presence and company. Cherish it now and when they do fly the nest you will be able to say to yourself that you made the most of the opportunity to look after them while they were under your roof.
5. Time is your most valuable gift: Whether you engage in some pretend play, go out for a walk, eat dinner together at the table or read them a story at bedtime- it’s all time well spent because you are putting in the effort with your child. When you look back- the things you will hold most dear are times when you were fully present in the moment. The times you knowingly or unknowingly cherished when it was happening.
6. It helps you to refocus: It can be tempting to get swept up in the daily tasks associated with parenting- feeding, cleaning, tidying up and organising your child’s schedule. In doing so, one might forget to take some time out to think about how fortunate you are to have a bustling house, a happy, healthy child and another purpose in life.
7. You will learn to cherish new points in your child’s history as they grow: Your most prized memories will most certainly differ from your son/daughter's recollections and that is the best part about it. While you can share stories of first smiles and the first time they walked with them- milestones your child won’t remember- they will treasure something different. Listening to what is important to them will help you to remember forgotten snapshots in time, thus weaving them back into your story.
They get to see animals they’ve only read about in real life: You can play with toy giraffes, put together jigsaws with pictures of pandas on them and read books together about lions- but nothing compares to seeing these beautiful creatures up close. Toddlers get excited when they see a pigeon or a cat so you can only imagine what their reaction would be to see a monkey or a meerkat. Embrace this period when they are excited by wildlife because their enthusiasm may quickly fade as they get older.