By Heidi Scrimgeour
Parenting can be a tough gig - and sometimes we forget to focus on all the lovely stuff that’s happening right underneath our noses. So, to bring a bit of perspective to the tricky days, here are ten things we’re going to miss one day...
1. Little people’s zest for life
Is there anything quite as intoxicating as a child’s unbridled enthusiasm for anything and everything that takes their fancy? From how much they loathe peas, to the passion they reserve for a brand new pair of shoes, kids don’t hold back when they feel strongly about something. And that enthusiasm is seriously life-affirming.
“What I missed most when my son started to grow more independent and consequently what I make the most of with my daughter is that stage where they approach everything with boundless enthusiasm. From giant hugs and great excitement when a butterfly lands nearby, to those ‘Look what I did all by myself’ moments, their enthusiasm always lifts my spirits.”
Aisling, mum of two.
2. Knowing where they are
When your kids are little you might feel under house arrest once bedtime rolls around. But there comes a time when you’ll look back fondly on those days of knowing exactly where your children are after dark. So relish those goodnight kisses and the chance to watch your little ones while they sleep. In a few more years you might feel they’re never under your roof at nightfall, never mind sleeping soundly in their beds!
“I already miss being able to tell them when to go to bed. These days I go to bed well before any of them!” Alice, mum of four.
3. Being easy to please
There’s a stage in childhood when you can’t put a price on happiness. You could give a child a lollipop that costs just a few pence but they’ll react as if you’ve handed them the moon on a stick. But gradually the things that put a smile on their faces tend to get costlier. So throw caution to the wind and buy that cupcake or comic book - they’ll probably remember it for years to come, and you can reference it when you can no longer afford to splash out on the kind of treats that tickle their fancy.
“I miss the days when treating the kids to a pancake at the local bakery was enough to a
raise a smile. Nowadays I’d have to splash out on four courses at The Kitchin to get the same reaction!” Kerrie, mum of three.
4. Simple affection
There’s nothing quite as heart-warming as a child’s wholehearted expression of affection. But all too soon a sense of self-consciousness kicks in, and you might count yourself lucky if you get the occasional ‘Love you, Mum’. So squeeze every last drop of joy from the days when they throw themselves headlong into your arms at the school gates or think nothing of delivering a long monologue about how much they love you.
“I miss the unconditional hugs and kisses you get when the kids are little. They still show affection when they get older, but it’s often accompanied by an ulterior motive!”
Lisa, mum of two.
5. Familiar routines
Family life is all about routine, and for many of us it’s easy to take our daily rituals for granted, forgetting that they won’t stay the same forever. So spare a thought for the fact that today’s dreary routine might just be the very thing you’ll pine for one day!
“For years I was always called out “It’s time you three were up for school” or “Come for your dinner, you three,” but then last year ‘three’ suddenly became ‘two’ when the eldest went away to University. That took a lot of getting used to.” Donna, mum of three.
6. The age of innocence
Father Christmas. The Tooth Fairy. Making a wish and expecting it to come true. The days when children believe in all manner of wonder are pretty magical, and there’s nothing quite like indulging a faith-filled child in a chat about the stuff their dreams are made of. Write down what they say too, because it’ll be difficult to believe they were ever quite so innocent when they’re towering above you and coolly claiming to have known the truth about Santa all along.
“Christmas just isn’t Christmas once the kids stop believing in Santa. They still play along and I’ll keep filling their stockings until they beg me to stop, but I really miss the pure, simple magic of watching their faces light up on Christmas morning. I’d love to revisit one of those days just one more time.” Hannah, mother of three.
7. Early bedtimes
One indulgence which many mums (and dads) take for granted is that hour or two of quiet time that is ours and ours alone, once the kids are finally in bed. Whether you call it wine o’clock or spend it frantically putting the house back to rights after your kids have wrecked it, it’s like a touch-point in our day, restoring us to ourselves. But you might miss it once the kids no longer need you to put them to bed.
“I miss having my ‘Quiet Mummy Time’ when I could sit and relax. Having two lads aged 20 and 18 still living at home along with their 14-year-old sister, I find I usually end up having to go to bed before them just to get some peace!”
Vicky, mum of three.
8. Bedtime stories
Even if you love the nightly ritual that is the bedtime story, it does sometimes turn into a tiny bit of a drag, and most of us will admit to occasionally turning the pages a little bit faster than strictly necessary. But yep, you guessed it, the day will dawn when our kids won’t want us reading bedtime stories anymore, and all of a sudden we’ll want to turn the clock back.
‘“Daddy, will you read me a story?” I miss that more than I ever imagined was possible!’
Kevin, father of one.
For so many years our kids need us to do everything for them. But then something shifts and suddenly they’re the ones showing us how things are done.
“Who will I turn to when I need someone to sort out my iTunes, or fix the mess I made on my iPad, once my son leaves for University in September?” Mona, mum of two.
10. Endless future
When our children are small it can feel as though their childhood is going to last forever. But the thing most of us miss is the very thing we took for granted - the sense that the future was an endless blank canvas stretching out ahead of our family, full of possibilities.
“I miss that sense I had when the kids were tiny that they weren’t ever really going to grow up. Suddenly they did, and I wish I hadn’t willed it to happen so quickly, but had taken more time to linger over those long days of babyhood.” Ella, mum of two.
Various, MADE magazine