The Days are Long But the Years are Short
Tomorrow, my gorgeous son Dylan will turn five years old. Where have the past five years gone? He has grown up before my eyes. I can’t believe how fast time has flown. I can’t believe my first-born baby is five years old already. I can’t believe I am stating all the parenting clichés to explain my incredulity at how fast time seems to pass.
Aren’t parenting clichés annoying? Lets take a look at some of these old chestnuts. Then tell me if you don’t find them irritating. And true. And irritating because they are true.
The ‘Life Will Never Be the Same’ Cliché
When you are about to have a baby you get a lot of statements along the lines that ‘life will never be the same again’. Well no shizzle, Sherlock, another entire human being is going to enter this world. Then somehow I will have to keep him or her fed, warm and dry. That is epitome of a description of a life that is about to change.
When baby arrives, you get on the cliché bandwagon and state the obvious like ‘I can’t imagine life without him’, or the slightly more surprising observation ‘It is like she has always been here’. Thus perpetuating the ‘life will never be the same’ cliché.
Before baby arrives, and you get told that you life is likely to change, it is often followed up with some advice along the lines of ‘do stuff now that you won’t do with a baby’ – like travel or go to a movie or sleep.
Gah, irritating advice clichés – lets tackle these next.
Unhelpful Advice Clichés
‘There is never a right time to have a baby’. Whoa that is a real zinger that one. What am I supposed to do with that? What am I supposed to do with that when told it while I am trying to get pregnant? What am I supposed to do with that when I am eight and half months pregnant?
‘Parenting is the hardest job in the world’. Oh really. I had no idea. I thought I signed up to sunbathing and cocktails at the pool every day when I pushed two babies out of my body.
‘You have to work on your marriage’. What does this even mean?
And my personal favorite, in terms of most irritating and clichéd advice: ‘Sleep when the baby sleeps’. That is dependent on a number of factors like is there dinner to be made, washing to hang out, shopping to do, Facebook to catch up on, or simply whether I feel too frazzled to rest. It assumes that the baby sleeps quietly or for periods longer than ten minutes or in his own cot and not on me. It assumes the baby sleeps.
Does anyone in the whole world get his or her baby to sleep and immediately fall into instant slumber? ‘Sleep when the baby sleeps’ should be banished, relegated to a far off land of outdated clichés like ‘a woman’s place is in the home’. Never. Uttered. Again.
Simplicity is Key
So if clichés about time, change and advice are all unwarranted and irritating, where does that leave us? What parenting clichés can we still find an ounce of wisdom in?
Take kids birthday stressors. When I am looking at Lego sets for birthday presents and trying to remember which ones Dylan doesn’t already own, or working out how much snack food we will need for the birthday party or worrying if we bought enough balloons, then remembering this parenting cliché often helps: ‘Its the simple things in life that matter’. He is my son, I am his Mama, I love him. Not much else matters, except maybe cake.
So to my darling, delightful, dazzling boy, Dylan, happy fifth birthday. It is so clichéd, but that is what makes it true – I love you to the moon and back and always will.