I will do better

Last week we went on our first family holiday. We were supposed to go to Penrith last year, but F was still waking up a gazillion times a night and I didn’t think I could cope with doing all the driving (because, between you and me, N is a pretty shabby driver) and being awake most of every night. So that brings us to this year. If you’re interested, we stayed at a beautiful cabin called Larchwood Lodge right on the edge of Greystoke Forest. We were visited every day by red squirrels and great spotted woodpeckers and the path at the bottom of the garden literally led straight into the trees… and if I’m not selling this to you by now then just go ahead and look at the website.

I’m not going to relate the blow-by-blow minutiae of the whole week because, to be frank, you’d be bored shitless by the end of the first paragraph. So I’ll spare you the details, but I’ll include links to the places we visited at the end of this post in case you’re ever in Cumbria and stuck for something to do.

Family holiday

A montage of our week in the Lake District

The thing is, what I really found myself thinking on the last night of our holiday as I watched my children playing at the edge of the forest through the kitchen window was this: They’re never going to be this age again. O turned four while we were away and I couldn’t help but wonder where those four years have gone. I mean, I hate myself for even typing that because how unbearably cliché do I want to be? But it’s true. Four years ago he was a tiny, helpless baby and I was just getting to grips with motherhood, crying a lot and swearing every time he latched onto my chapped, bleeding nipples for a feed. Now he’s answering back and refusing to go to bed and driving me up the fucking wall half the time, but he’s also this amazing, proper little person and it’s hard to imagine that he was ever that tiny.

happy birthday

Happy birthday to my big boy, O

Then I looked at F and I felt that all too familiar tug in my gut that happens every time I remember how much of his babyhood I missed out on due to worry and stress, sleep-deprivation and god awful mental illness. And I thought that as much as I possibly can, I will try to savour these moments. So I stood there at the window and I just watched my babies play with flowerpots and sticks and dirt. I watched them delight in every moment of this simplicity and I forgot that I should be calling them in for a bath because it was already long past bedtime. I forgot that I still had stuff to pack for the journey home. I forgot that anything outside of that little snapshot of time actually mattered at all.

Bear cubs

Bear cubs in their natural habitat

I worry so much about the little things, about their routines and what they’re eating. I worry about keeping the house clean and getting the laundry done. And I worry what people think of me when they walk through my front door and see the detritus of family life strewn throughout every room. And I know that it doesn’t really fucking matter what anybody else thinks, but I worry anyway. So I lose these moments to worry sometimes. I don’t stop for long enough to notice the little things half the time. But this holiday has been good for me, because it has shown me what life could be like with my children if I put my worry aside sometimes. If I let F cuddle me for as long as he wants to instead of freaking out about everything that I need to do. If I read O just one more story before bed rather than panic that it’s half past bedtime and he still needs to brush his teeth. This week I’ve learnt that if I put off my worries for just a few more minutes, the whole world really won’t fall on my head.

These are lessons that I will forget as often as I remember them, I’m sure. But the point is that now I know and I will try. I will try to do and be better, for myself as much as my children. So I won’t regret the moments I missed when my children are grown up.

The day after we came back from our holiday was our 5th wedding anniversary, and I’ve been thinking a lot about the people we used to be and who we are now. When we got married, we had only been together for a couple of years. We were just two kids in love and we thought we had it all figured out. We thought we could conquer the world, just the two of us, with the force of that love. I look back on that boundless optimism now and I realise how naïve we really were. Because the truth is that what has kept us together for the last five years has been hard work and determination. We have been determined not to forget, but sometimes we have anyway. Sometimes we’ve screamed at each other to “just fuck off already!” at the end of a hard day – or the beginning of one after a long night. Sometimes it’s almost impossible to imagine who we were when we first met, but I know that I was a fragile, heartbroken thing. I know that I was a flight risk, and I know that N put up with a lot. I know that it took strength and guts for him to resist every one of my attempts to push him away. I know that he loved me a lot, and I know that I loved him enough in return to let him in. To give him the chance to hurt me. And I’m not going to dress this up; there have been shitty times and yes, he has hurt me. More than once. But that street has gone both ways sometimes and the bottom line is the only one that really matters in the end, which is this:

He is my co-pilot. We navigate this journey together. And, when all is said and done, there isn’t anybody I’d rather have in the cockpit with me when all of the lights start flashing at once.

Five years is wood. We are not going to be wooden.

We are going to be God damn TREES.

Wedding

04.06.2011

Mirehouse & Gardens

Bank Mill Visitor Centre

Brockhole

Whinlatter

Walby Farm Park

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday
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15 comments

  1. islandliving365 · June 5, 2016

    I think holidays are great for losing yourself and for just really enjoying the moment like you clearly did this holiday. It sounds like you had a fab time and congratulations on being 5 years married! I am sure that should be somethiing more than wood 😉

    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 5, 2016

      Absolutely. It’s wonderful not having to worry about anything and just getting to enjoy the moments :).

      Like

  2. beccaweatherall · June 5, 2016

    I was in tears reading this powerful post. Thank you for being so honest and sharing. I really can relate to wasting precious moments of my little man’s life because of worrying and stressing and mental illness. It’s so hard not to even when you’re aware of it. And I regret every day the moments with him that I waste. But the fact you are aware is the biggest part of the battle. And those extra moments on holiday are a massive step. I’ve been trying to do the same lately. So well done you! And keep enjoying those moments 🙂 #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 5, 2016

      I think it’s just hard to grasp all of the moments when real life is going on at the same time, isn’t it? But I’m going to try harder because I realised how much I’d been missing out on while we were away and I didn’t have to worry about anything except having fun.

      Like

  3. jollymommyblog · June 6, 2016

    Lovely trip mommy! And great cake. Happy 4th bday. Time does fly by. Its not cliche. We are all experiencing it. Lots of love. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sarah@TeamMomLife · June 6, 2016

    It sounds like you had a wonderful time! I know I always feel recharged after a weekend of just being with my family or a no frills vacation where were just spend time together. Congratulations on your 5 year wedding anniversary and thanks being so honest about how hard everything can be. It really can be difficult to live in the moment and not worry about all the things you “should” be doing. #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 7, 2016

      It was amazing. I honestly had the best week of my life. I think there’s always a huge list of things that need to be done and sometimes we just have to ignore that list to be able to enjoy life.

      Like

  5. yummyblogger · June 7, 2016

    Lovely post, I’m about to have my second and been enjoying some magical moments with my 2 year old… I want to pause time or record it all! Blogging about it is a great way to remember it all, lovely xxx #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 7, 2016

      Yes! I felt very much like that the first time around too. Now I think I’m just trying to grasp the moment because I know we are not having anymore babies and I know that I’m going through all of the baby stages for the last time. X

      Liked by 1 person

  6. themotherhubblog · June 7, 2016

    looks like a great holiday – they can be difficult to achieve so well done! and congrats on the wedding anniversary, holding together a marriage through the early years of childhood is hard, imo, and i love your quote at the end!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Motherhood IRL · June 7, 2016

      Thank you :). That’s a shortened version of what I wrote in my anniversary card!

      Like

  7. Savannah (@HowHesRaised) · June 8, 2016

    Blogging truly is a wonderful way to remember all of these little moments. Moments that will mean the world to you and, hopefully, your kids one day too. It truly is overwhelming when you stop and think about how truly wonderful life is. How lucky we are to parent and raise these tiny, beautiful little creatures. Thank you so much for sharing ❤ #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  8. jaxbest · June 8, 2016

    It’s frightening how quickly they grow up. We are sometimes so overwhelmed with survival that forget to smell the roses! Thank you for this honest post! http://www.onemessymama.com

    Like

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