Growing up is something we all rush to do, but when we get there we are desperate to turn back the clock! It’s also the case when we have children; we spend nine months wishing they’d hurry up and be born, excitedly await and count every little milestone and before we know it they flounce out of the door without a bye or leave. Like me, do you ever wish you could capture a moment in time and stay there?
I’d choose the summer of 2008; the year little E was born. Now to some of you, looking after three children under the age of ten, would not be your choice for ‘year of my life’. However, for me, it was. They were all so cute, well mannered, funny and we had so much fun. It didn’t matter to me that I was struggling to lose the baby weight, or that I was constantly covered in baby sick/poo/wee (delete as appropriate). I just loved having them around me. Extended maternity leave enabled us a guilt free summer where we hired a beach chalet for the entirety and spent hours swimming and in the sun. Idyllic days?
It could be argued that my rose tinted spectacles from 2008 need a polish. It was hard work. Bloody hard work. Maybe I could have chosen a different time? A time when all I needed was a glo-stick and a tenner to get in the rave? But I prefer to think about a magical time. A time where my children were children.
We live in a constantly fast paced world where it appears children aren’t allowed to be children for long. Also, when they are allowed to be children they are so restricted by ‘health and safety’ that I wonder how they can breathe?
Worryingly, in the last ten years, statistics show over 8.000 children under the age of ten suffer from depression and 68% of adults with depression were first diagnosed as children (see link below). This figure astounds me, as well I predict, will you too. My theory for this is that we are not letting our children be. We need to allow them to grow naturally
We can blame the media, Facebook, and Youtubers for presenting unhealthy role models for our children. We can blame the fashion industry for the sale of crop tops, leather trousers and strapless tops being pedalled to the pre-teens. We can blame the likes of Little Mix for singing about sex to a demographic ranging from four upwards. But really we have to think about how we filter these choices.
Same goes for the Super Nanny Police who judge our every move. What do you mean you don’t always sterilise the soother? What, you let your children stay up past 7? Look at the state of my granddaughter, her jumper is filthy!! 1. So what they need to build a resilience to germs. 2. Yes, they only see me and their dad for an hour a day otherwise. 3. She’s had a fantastic time and it’s nothing a bit of Fairy won’t get out!
You see I want my children to feel happy and content. They are never starved of cuddles. I tell them I love them probably more than once a day (I know I do). They explore who they are. Encouraged to grow into free spirits. They dance, sing, act. They live healthy and active lives. We encourage them to grow independently in this scary exciting world. So, as scared and fearful as I am at allowing them to grow, I am grateful, happy and proud to hold their hands as the become beautiful young adults.
You see, watching them grow is a privilege not a chore.