Tag Archives: parenthood

Just a matter of time

image

Time is a weird thing. On one level it should be pretty straightforward: seconds and minutes and hours and days that are clearly defined, easily comparable and impossible to argue with. Except it never quite works like that.

There are days when time seems to stretch out endlessly before me. When it seems to bend to my will, allowing me to squeeze out extra drops of possibility long after the well should have run dry. Those days were especially frequent when I was teaching. I’d look at my to do list in the morning, scrunching up my nose with the conviction that this would be the day that had me beat. And yet I’d find myself in the evening, exhausted with a glass of wine in hand, marvelling at all I’d managed to achieve. And I’d get up the next morning and do it again, continuing on repeat until the end of term finally appeared. Those days still happen now that I’m a work at home mum, though they’re coloured by the knowledge that not for a long time will I have a real holiday to collapse into. I’m wary when I feel myself straining against my limits as I know I cannot afford to break.

There are other days when time seems to eat me up. When everything seems to take forever, and the simplest tasks balloon out of my control. There have been more of those since I’ve been a mum: having a baby in hand makes rushing almost impossible, and the fog of sleep deprivation has much to answer for in its ability to mess with the very fabric of the universe.

My least favourite days are when time scares me. When it looms up out of nowhere and laughs at my dreams. In many ways I think I’m still extremely sheltered and naive: I haven’t yet had to cope with loss on any grand scale, and I’m only just surfacing out of that teenage belief in invincibility to realise that my time on this planet is not in fact infinite. I look at my son, think of all the things I want to show him, to experience with him, and sometimes I am filled with a sense of dread. What if there just isn’t enough time?

I chastise myself for the hours and days and weeks I wasted when I was younger – time spent on trying to make time go faster, to get to a place where I would be happy, where I didn’t have to try so hard any more.

Because now I’m here, and I want to savour every moment. I know that I can’t really change the amount of time I have left, but I also know that if there are days when ten minutes can feel like forever then I want to strive for that rather than let them pass in a flash. Everyone says that time speeds up when you have kids, but I’m not sure I’m willing to accept that.

So I will continue on my mission to bend time to my will, to see it less as a set of shackles I must comply with and more as a challenge to be overcome. The Doctor put it well when he spoke of ‘wibbley wobbley timey wimey’: certainly nothing to be taken too seriously, not when there’s just so much to do.

Thank you to Sara at Mum Turned Mom for inspiring this post with her prompt: ‘I wish I had more time…’

mumturnedmom

 

Word of the Week: Relax

Today the word that sums up the week that was is:

image

It’s a work in progress really. We booked this week in Cyprus back in January, knowing that it would be a long hard term for Leigh and that, if all went to plan, I would’ve just finished the first draft of my second novel. The fact that we made it – to the end of winter, to the successful completion of all our deadlines, and then to this little island so very far away from Devon – is achievement enough, really. But I’m not convinced we’ve got the whole relaxing thing cracked yet.

It is beautiful here. And were Leigh and I here on our own then chilling out would not be a problem. Having Arthur with us definitely complicates things a little – not that we’d have it any other way.

It’s the first trip like this that we’ve attempted since being parents – one where doing as little as possible is the main prerogative. Last year we went on lots of adventures, but we didn’t do much staying still. Oddly enough it turns out our fifteen month old isn’t too good at that.

We could of course have put him in the crΓ¨che, and we did consider it – although it doesn’t sit too comfortably with our attachment parenting approach, nor with the fact that Leigh and Arthur have missed each other so much over the past few busy months. Β As it turns out he hasn’t been very well, has been teething like crazy and breastfeeding like a newborn. He also, though he had been appearing to be pretty confident and independent, has suddenly hit a wall of separation anxiety. And all in all leaving him with strangers didn’t seem like such a good idea.

So we’ve been hanging out together, and Leigh and I have been learning that all the many demands of parenthood don’t go away just because we happen to be on holiday. But we’re working as a team, and managing to grab some moments for ourselves. And Arthur, though he’s undeniably a bit more grouchy than usual, is clearly enjoying being somewhere new. With a pool. And warm air. And lots of other little people.

image

To be honest, however much we’ve been yearning for some chill out time I think Arthur maybe needs to be able to relax a little too. To have mummy and daddy around enjoying each other’s company, and not to have to keep to all the different schedules we impose on ourselves back home.

And if we all enjoy some time together, relaxing as best we can as a family, then hopefully by the time we go home he’ll be healthier and happier with newly recharged confidence to face the next set of challenges that lie ahead.

image

The Reading Residence