12 Jan Still Life
Whilst making the tea tonight I noticed this:
If you have children and access to an Ikea store, you will know this is an Ikea high chair. A permanent fixture in my kitchen for a lot of the last 10 years.
It has recently been unearthed from the garage, wiped of dust and dirt and used to hold various small relatives over the Christmas period.
It does not live in my kitchen as it once did.
In the light of the lamp
with an instagram filter on it, it looked like a still life. Which is a great phrase isn’t it?
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to still your life. To press pause and have time to reflect on where you’ve been and where you are and perhaps even where you’re going. Not often possible in the whirlwind of family life.
But as i caught this image out of the corner of my eye, I had a moment of catching up with myself.
A recognition of a few things:
Time keeps moving
Even when it feels like it’s standing still and you will never have a crumb free floor, a sick free shoulder, a disturbance free night ever again. Imperceptibly time marches on. And all you have to do is keep putting one foot in front of the other (heck – sometimes thats all you can do). I don’t have a baby or even a toddler anymore. My kids are bigger and can feed themselves and sit up at the table. And, it’s true…
I feel hugely relieved that the baby years are done.
They didn’t suit me well. Sometimes I feel a little sad that I wasn’t the Mum of babies I thought I would be. That I didn’t take it all in my stride more, I wasn’t more relaxed and spontaneous, more at ease. But I am reminding myself that the Mum I thought I would be is a person I had invented with no knowledge of what parenting would actually be… an amalgam of good ideas, cliches, books I had read, films I had watched and other Mothers I knew. And, as it was never going to be possible to be someone else for the pre-school years, I did the best I could being me and…
I did okay.
Certainly not perfect, but I kept going when those years were very tough and I forgot how to be me, and often how to be happy. I got through, and I got better. (And most of the time, I stay that way.) And there were many happy memories created in those pre-school years. It wasn’t all crying into cereal and paralysing anxiety. It was also making dens and drinking too much tea with good friends and paddling pools and chubby cheeks and first words and snuggling on the sofa. And…
I don’t want to forget.
There is an advert for Sma formula (if you want to watch it you can find it here). It shows mums of little ones having a typically tricky day: being puked on, changing nappies at inopportune moments, having food thrown at them (honestly- it’s all glamour!), and the slogan is ‘You’re doing great’. This advert has – and sometimes still does – bring me to tears (damn you clever marketeers). It tapped into something that I didn’t articulate often, if at all. That i was worried I wasn’t cutting it as a Mum. And what I really needed was to hear that I was making the mark. That my children were well fed and safe and loved, and that if I was achieving that, then I was doing okay.
And now my days aren’t always as exhausting as they used to be (although sometimes they really are still!) I want to make sure i still see the Mums who are in those days that pass in a haze of relentless demands, and that I remember to tell them they are doing great.
(…Incase I don’t see you Mum friends – take it from me – You’re doing great).