I’m inspired to write this post by this quote from Alice in Wonderland:
I think the concept of ‘forever’ is something we feel as parents so often.
It feels like the sleepless nights will last forever when you’re in the middle of sleep regressions and heavy sleep depravation.
It feels like your toddler’s huge tantrum in the supermarket over not being able to push the baby’s buggy from the right hand side (the left hand side just will not do) will last forever whilst you’re trying to stay calm amid the screaming and stamping.
It feels like the colicky evenings will last forever – you just can’t envisage an evening where screaming does not occur.
It feels like forever in the hour before bedtime when the children are tired but not tired enough to go to bed, so you’re desperately trying to keep them entertained with jigsaws, tv and stories.
It feels like it’ll be forever until you and your partner can have a night away, or until you can go out for the night with your friends and not have to worry about getting up at the crack of dawn the next day with a hangover.
Sometimes, one second as a parent can seem so much longer.
But when your child starts sleeping through the night, you look back and realise it’s been two years since they first slept through and you realise that, even though you didn’t believe the people who said “it’s such a short time in the grand scheme of things”, they were right. Those sleepless nights were forever ago.
When you get home from the supermarket and your toddler curls his arms around your neck and says “I love you,” that tantrum I the supermarket will feel like it was forever ago.
When you tuck your baby into her cot as part of your established bedtime routine, you’ll look back and realise it’s been months since she screamed the house down between the hours of 5pm and 7pm every evening. Those scream-filled evenings will feel like forever ago.
When your children spend the hours before bedtime entertaining each other whilst you have a nice
cup of hot tea glass of red wine, it’ll seem like forever ago when you were feigning excitement for that Peppa Pig puzzle that was serving as a bedtime stalling tactic.
When you go on your friend’s hen do and drink mojitos all night, for your children to get themselves up and play together until 10am, you’ll think it was forever ago when they woke at 5.30am after a night of heavy drinking and you had to run to the toilet to quickly be sick, before getting them both up, dressed and breakfasted by 7am.
And now it seems like forever ago that your babies were, well babies. And now they are growing in height, independence and personality every single day. And you know that five, ten, twenty years will pass and you’ll wonder where it went.
Because, as a parent, ‘forever’, even though it seems at the time, to last a lifetime, goes far, far quicker than you can even imagine. ‘Forever’, to a parent, is both the shortest and the longest time.