Five steps towards cherishing every moment. Even the crappy ones.
As parents we often seem obsessed with this notion of “cherishing every moment”. It can feel like there is pressure to perform in order to meet some set expectations. Sometimes the whole notion is thrown around like some cheap, below-the-belt insult. Like that nasty Daily Mail article (is there any other kind?) recently attacking a group of female bloggers. There it was again: “Those early years should be cherished, even when you’re sleep-deprived…etc”.
Having children has revolutionised my relationship with time. Since becoming a mum, one 30 minute unit of time has become such a precious commodity that its value is through the roof. It is a source of constant anxiety too. There are never enough units of time in a day, or a week. So here is may attempt to make sense of how to best cherish every moment. Starting with the really obvious stuff:
1. Approach it with humour.
In the book based on her famous blog Hurrah for Gin, Katie Kirby writes: “Some moments, say for example when your son pukes in your actual mouth, are totally un-embraceable. Embrace what you can, where you can and don’t feel bad for wishing some of it away”.
With the greatest respect Katie, I think your gift for sarcasm has helped countless women (including me) to cherish moments that might have otherwise been truly “un-embraceable”.
If you are writing a parenting blog, you probably already know that humour can be the best thing at your disposal. If you are having a crap day, then try and force yourself to laugh about it, even if it is face down on the floor in a puddle of tears (and God knows what else).
2. Make up your own definition.
There is no text book definition for what constitutes cherishing every moment. Some people seem to confuse it with somehow performing through life and making every second count (possibly forgetting to cherish much of anything in the process?) It can really be quite ironic sometimes.
For example, the author of the aforementioned Daily Mail article, in another article instructs mothers to start working on their children’s CVs from birth. How’s that for cherishing every moment?
What about not worrying about the future excessively and living in the moment a little? What about appreciating both yourself and your children for what they are and being grateful for it?
It’s not that cherishing every moment is a state that can only be achieved in pyjamas, messy house and drunk on gin (although that might work sometimes). Last week this blog of the day on mumsnet talked about how pressures for “savouring every moment with your kids” often means “chuffing the chores”.
This is what I mean by making up your own definition, because it is the only way YOU can cherish every moment. If you are spending time with the kids, don’t feel bad about the kitchen being a mess. But equally, if you are cleaning the kitchen, don’t feel bad about the kids watching TV. Only you can find the right balance for yourself.
3. Look after your brain.
To truly cherish every moment as much as possible, requires a bit of training of the brain. There’s lots of ways you can do this, for example you could learn about mindfulness.
Personally, I prefer getting my nails done. All I need is a 30 minutes to zonk out and work through the thoughts buzzing at the back off my brain that week. The relaxation process starts from the sort of important thoughts, gradually moving towards the truly insignificant stuff, until I am totally relaxed ready to cherish some time with my kids.
This figure below illustrates a series of mostly un-related thoughts that travel through my mind during the 30-minute relaxation process:
4. Use social media wisely.
There is a lot said nowadays about how social media can make us unhappy. I don’t think this has to be the case. It all comes down to what you do with your time. Obviously you don’t want life to become what happens to you while you are on Facebook.
But on the other hand, writing posts and sharing pictures on Instagram can be a way of keeping an online journal. It can be a way of recording memories and savouring beautiful moments in your life.
And, if you find yourself getting annoyed with pictures people post of their children on social media, it probably just means that you are spending too much time on social media.
5. Cherishing EVERY moment may not be possible, but do try.
I think it is really important that we all aspire to cherishing every moment as much as possible.
It is the meaning of life, you might say?
I hope this post finds you well and that your week will be full of moments worth cherishing.