Mothers Day has been and gone, and it reminded me of the different stages of motherhood I've been through.....and how easy it is to wish time away when life gets a little bit hectic or out of our control. We can start looking back or looking forward to "better" times and miss the lovely moments that are happening right there and then.
The baby stage
I remember those sleepless nights - when I'd feed my new baby, tuck their warm little body back in their bassinette and then I'd slip gratefully back into bed next to my sleeping husband........only to be woken in what seemed like 5 minutes later, to a whimpering baby looking to be fed again or who was just feeling unsettled. I thought those endless nights would never end! Plus there was the vomiting up of that precious milk that I'd just gotten into them, the dirty nappies, the piles of baby stuff that had to be taken with us when we went out, the endless washing (nappies got washed in those days). All added on to the normal chores of cooking, cleaning, shopping etc
For me it went by in a bit of a blur and I wish I'd stopped now and then and just enjoyed those little babies. Being tired, worrying about finances, worrying about being a good parent, worrying about spending enough time with my husband....and the list goes on, sapped some of the joy of that time. If I had a do-over, I'd slow down and worry less and savour it all a little bit more. I'd take more photos too - there were no mobile phones back then that caught the moment or videoed the first steps or first words, so photos were few and far between compared to today.
The teenage stage
Fast forward to those years of parenting teenagers (I can skip over the bit in between because that stage was relatively easy) but those teenage moments where I wondered if it would ever end are still floating in my memories. Helping them decide what they wanted to do with their lives, guiding them (surreptitiously) towards making good choices when it came to friends and how they spent their leisure time, checking homework, teaching them to drive, helping them find part-time jobs, steering them towards using their hard earned money wisely.....and the list goes on.
Keeping the lines of communication open in the hope of jagging a decent conversation (and slipping in a little bit of advice) was also hard work. Sometimes I longed for the easy childhood years when they told us everything and couldn't wait to show us what they'd been doing during the day. But the hard work was worth it in the end when those teenagers grew into independent, strong, wise young adults who could support themselves through university, found jobs and made good decisions.
The young adult stage
I can't believe how time has flown. I don't know where those years of baby rearing, school runs and teenage wrangling have gone. I look at my two children who are working in their dream jobs, married to really good people, settled in their own homes and making lives of their own and I smile and relax a little. I love seeing photos of them looking happy and enjoying the lives they've created for themselves (there's a couple in my sidebar).
Part of me sometimes wants to go back to having more say in their lives, holding a little hand, or proudly watching them go to a school ball in all their finery. But part of me also appreciates the fact that they are now their own people and starting their own journeys into parenthood. First it was with a pet to practice on, and now our son and daughter-in-law have produced a beautiful daughter of their own to continue the legacy. They will be great parents and I get the added blessing of becoming a grandmother - what better reward is there for all those stages of parenting?