I was hoovering the floor the other night (and by ‘hoovering; I mean ‘Dyson-ing’ with our fancy new cordless, handheld Dyson.. AKA the freaking best appliance to have ever roamed our corridors) mindlessly contemplating life as it stood in that moment. You know the stuff; how so many leaves had managed to enter the premises when I’d only Dyson’d a mere 2 hours ago, how many minutes it would take my husband to walk home from the station and thus join me at the coal face of evening-time parenting, why Ollie was no longer wearing pants and where Evie had found a potato masher, when I was struck with a sudden and rather more profound thought. His pants were in between the couch cushions! KIDDING. They weren’t. I still don’t actually know where they are but I suspect they got put in the dirty clothes hamper. The sudden and rather more profound thought was this… What will my kids remember about me?
I’m sure it’s not a new thought, and I’m sure thousands upon thousands of parents have pondered it previously but it was the first time I’d actually considered myself through the eyes of my kids. How do they see me? When I ask them, in 2/4/24 years time about how I appeared to them as a mother, what would they say? How would they remember me?
As an adult, I can vividly remember certain things about my own mother. What she wore most often (three quarter length pants and a shirt in Winter, a sundress in summer). Where she could be found of an afternoon after school (in the kitchen, making her ravenous brood afternoon tea or sitting down with our neighbour having a cuppa). How she took her tea (strong, white, no sugar) What she did to de-stress (drink tea). Even how she wrote her shopping list (aisle order, broken up into shops when we were little and she shopped in individual places like the fruit market, butcher and Flemmings.. Does Flemmings even still exist?) and which chores she liked and loathed. I’m sure I’ve compiled those memories, that picture by seeing those things a million times over. They made up the very minutiae of our everyday and gave structure to our existence.
What will my kids remember about me? Which things do I/we do over and over and over again that will stick in their minds for the months and years to come? And I don’t mean the ‘big stuff’ or the pre-planned moments or even the times when I’m consciously trying to be the worlds best mother. I wonder what they’ll remember about our everyday life together. About random Monday’s in the middle of August or stock standard Thursday’s after 5pm. There’s plenty of little things that I hope make their way into their collective consciousness.
Pondering this question has certainly given me a virtual kick up the bottom to continue to work my mama mindfulness. Of being present with my kids. I recently committed to a ‘no social media before midday’ strategy whereby my phone remains in the kitchen (and not glued to my palm) of a morning while at home, and in my nappy bag while we are out. I answer messages and phone calls (as any stay at home/work at home mother will tell you, their mobile is a freaking lifeline of connection to the outside world and actual social activities whereby you have the opportunity to converse with those slightly older than 3.5) but that’s it. It’s been really interesting to observe the difference in my kids when I’m not distracted by constant scrolling. While they are still happy doing their thing, chowing down on breakfast, greeting Giggle And Hoot with the kind of enthusiasm I dream of, they seem to notice my presence a lot more and engage a hell of a lot less in activities designed to reclaim my errant attention. I now notice the little glances my way to check out what I think about a particular block tower or arrangement of trucks. Evie offers up a selection of her ‘musical instruments’ AKA noise makers for my perusal. Teensy little things that make me realise how much they value my full presence.
I’d love to hear your thoughts. What do you think your kids will remember about you? The little stuff, not the big moments. A particular dish you cook? A chore that happens day in day out? Feel free to share in the comments.