“Make the most of it, it goes so fast” the bittersweet nature of time | motherhood musings

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As ephemeral as our footprints in the sand were along the river, so also were those moments of childhood caught in the photographs. Sally Mann

This is one of my biggest struggles of motherhood- the bittersweet nature of time; the holding of precious memories, balanced with the constant process of letting go.

I remember the advice of the well meaning elderly lady as I juggled a squirming babe in the supermarket queue: ‘make the most of it. It goes so fast.’

And when I think about it, it always strikes a cord of panic deep in me, and sends me into wandering what happened to all of those tiny moments upon moments, days upon days. How could I forget? Have I been present enough? Did I make the most of it? Have I been enough for them? 

I don’t have the answers to this seemingly universal struggle, but I suspect that if I remove the pressure to make it perfect and make each moment count, things might feel a whole lot easier.

If I stop wrestling to hold back the tide, I may be able to enjoy the journey a bit more. 

And at the same time, my eldest is only 9 and my littlest is 4 but I get it. I really get what the kind supermarket lady means. And I imagine she really would go back to those days in a heartbeat.

But perhaps there are others ways of framing it, that feel less pressured, that feel just a little bit lighter.

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Maybe she meant; take that extra day off work, if you can afford to. You’ll be glad you did.

Don’t worry about when they’ll reach their next milestone, you’ll be looking back soon.

Don’t sweat the small stuff, everyone will be just fine.

Have the picnics, listen to the little-big stories and soak up the simple moments. But don’t beat yourself up when it goes off track.

And when it all feels too big and heavy, just get down on the floor for a few minutes and play. Keep it simple.

Because yes, the seasons do go round and children do grow. And it’s ok.

Sometimes you will wish the day away and count down until bedtime, and that ok too. This stuff is hard.

And I don’t need to hang onto every moment in order to make the most of it of their childhood. I just do the best I can when I can.

And with this in my mind and a heart full of memories, I find I can sink into the messy and magical process of this motherhood life a little bit deeper, imperfections and all.

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