MOTHERHOOD CAPTURED: february
Another month gone, and I just about managed to get a shot of me and my girls. I don't seem to have been quite as inspired this month but I'm so thankful I remembered to pass the camera to my dear friend Amy this week. It really only takes twenty seconds and I'm thankful for this little project and our monthly deadline to ensure that I do get in front of the camera.
I feel like February was a tough month. Coralie has found her way into the world of Terrible Twos and Josephine is 4 going on 14. A true insight into having a teenager in the house. There have been long, hard days, and I found I spent the (long-awaited!) evenings reflecting on all the things I could have done differently, how else I could have reacted, what else I could have said; could I have done a better job?
But this week I've reminded myself of my main focus, my intention, for 2016 - thoughtfulness. I don't want to focus on the could haves and on the negatives. I want to think about what I did well, what fun we had. I think it's so easy to be hard on ourselves. To forget the giggles and quiet moments of 'I've got this' - no matter how fleeting they were.
The other night, exhausted from two weeks of broken sleep thanks to teething and horrible coughs, I sat on the sofa feeling like I'd let the girls down that day. That I'd shouted about things I shouldn't have, that the TV was on for a little longer than it should have been, that they'd had pesto pasta for dinner again. But as I climbed into bed I suddenly remembered the twenty minutes that morning that the girls and I had lied in that bed together. Laughing and cuddling and tickling. Snuggling under the covers and watching the birds fly past the window. Being clambered on and jumped on. There was no place I'd rather have been, and I'm pretty sure the girls felt the same way. It was joyful.
My eyes welled up at the thought of how easily I had forgotten that. How quickly I was to replace that memory with a moment of impatience and my telling off the girls for shouting or snatching or taking too long. Quickly I was remembering the fun they had when we were at the park for two hours, rather than my frustration at getting them to put their wellies and waterproofs and coats on as we tried to leave the house. I thought of all the hand holding and impromptu cuddles and kisses, and how many times Josephine told me she loved me without me saying it first.
I remembered that I sat with Coralie pretending to change her doll's nappy over and over for about half hour and how much she loved that. I remembered that I listened, truly listened, to every word of my conversations with Josephine and answered all her questions with thought and honesty and that she was so pleased to hear my excitement and interest in what she had to say. I remembered that I told them both that I loved them, that I was proud of them, that they were brilliant and funny and clever. That whenever they cuddled me, I held them until they let go. That I breathed in every ounce of that moment. That I played Mia and Me with them both for the hundredth time that week.
I'm done with spending the evenings scolding myself with what I could have differently. Here's to giving ourselves a pat on the back for all the things we did right. For letting our children know that we love them, that they're important, that they're safe, all day every day. That an hour (ok, ok, two hours) of Timmy Time and DinoTrux is not the end of the world and that they gobbled up every mouthful of pesto pasta so who cares if they had it yesterday too. That, after I lost my patience as we were trying to leave the house and I shouted about how unhelpful they were being, I apologised to them both for getting cross and Josephine said "It's ok Mama. I'm sorry too."
Sure there are things I want to do differently tomorrow, and every day I hope to do a little better, but actually, I'm doing a rather good job right now too. We all are. So with Mother's Day a week away, get in front of the camera and capture that moment, so that you and your children can look back and be reminded of all those little things. Then, like me, treat yourself to a hot chocolate with marshmallows or the last Jaffa Cake. You deserve it.