Mums – where did the time go?
This blog post takes a look at the problems of letting time fly. For more ideas about thrifty, creative and eco-friendly ways to raise children see http://homemadekids.wordpress.com. She has also written a parenting book, see Homemade Kids. More info at www.nicolabaird.com
Interviewing a fantastic local activist, see here, recently I was bemoaning how fast time flies past. She claimed this was just something that women with children always complained about. “New mothers put all their focus on the kids and have no time for themselves. They’re the ones who will look up and say where did the years go?”
Now 61, she claims she never wanted her own children – but she’s not anti-kids. She has had plenty of involvement with young people through local activism and teaching at schools. Her wise comment to women who are child-free (or possibly have grown up children) dealing with friends who are pregnant or new mothers is that “You have to shut your mouth for 15 years.”
Another full-time working friend who at 48 has no children tells me how much she loves her nieces. She can treat them, spoil them, borrow them and utterly enjoy their delight in life and growing up – all the pleasures of being around children – but can hand them back too.
Now I have daughters who are 14 and 12 I try to encourage them to enjoy being around younger children so they don’t lose the skills of how to play and be in the moment. My daughters are still young enough to lose themselves in a game and not resent the time they spend doing something they love -an attitude it’s pretty hard to maintain if you are an adult on a manic home-life schedule which includes meals for fussy toddlers and hungry juniors every four hours until bedtime. My 14 year old occasionally babysits, something it’s lovely for her to do, but I hope she won’t as a result see being around younger children as something you do just to raise money.
It is strange how in the UK (maybe other places too) if you have children you have a chunk of your life when there’s no time for anything but children, and then when you’ve mastered this juggling they grow up and your skill has to be about letting go of them. Often this means not seeing much of kids any more, which (certainly for me) seems like an incredible loss. I expect it feels like that for many of us – and I’m guessing especially older people. We all worry about strangers (or dodgy family) abusing our kids and yet at the same time the protection offered by strangers looking out for kids they see in passing on their daily routes/chores is already as good as gone. I’m not sure this is logical!
Over to you
What are your tips about making best use of your time, or trying to help your own children fit in as much experience as possible without running them on a schedule?