Every parent knows how fast time flies when your kids are growing up. Between the pressures of helping your child rehearse for their school concert and making sure they have everything they need for their first school camping trip, it's not always easy to take it all in.
Read more: "I constantly feel like a terrible parent"
Katrina Kenison, author of The Gift of an Ordinary Day, writes about her desire to tune in to a slower rhythm while her sons grow into teenagers as she tries to embrace the smaller moments of their lives.
It's a beautiful memoir and a great reminder that memories are created not just by the fancy holidays you book for your family or by the things you buy your child, but by the simple, every day time you spend together.
It's not always easy to maintain that sort of balance. In some ways it seems like the meditation of parenthood which requires a certain amount of inner peace and self preservation. But it's certainly a great thing to keep in mind if you're wanting to embrace your journey through parenthood.
The simple things in life
So what exactly should you be tuning into?
At the end of the day, the collection of memories you have of your family will be a result of the days spent without the rush of getting things done on time. You've probably noticed how much more you miss when you're rushing around trying to put things in place to keep the ball rolling. But sometimes it's okay for the ball to stop for a bit and rest in its stillness.
Those moments you share with your children, reading stories, sitting outside watching the clouds and listening to the birds, the conversations you have in the car together, or the quiet time you have with your child while he gets on with colouring while you read a book. Those are the moments that set the tone to your memories. Just a regular day.
How to make the most of a regular day
Put the phone away
This has to be one of the most common interferences and the reason why you're missing out on all the finer moments. How many times have you had to ask your child to repeat what they'd said or asked you while you were busy replying to a WhatsApp? Get into the habit of purposefully putting your phone away during those precious catch up times with your child: when they come home from school, when you're in the doctor's waiting room together, when you're both waiting in the car for something etc. Those are regular moments worth being a part of.
Stop trying to be perfect
Some parents are so obsessed with trying to be a perfect parent. They set the bar so high that they're unable to appreciate the finer, simpler things. When your kids are young, it's not going to affect their well-being if their lunch boxes don't include all the fancy things that other moms pack for their kids. Tough. It's okay to have a bad hair day or to feel lazy and some days it's okay to not feel like 'parenting' at all.
Limit planning and control
Routine is great and it's necessary to keep things running smoothly. But you'll find that you embrace more from the spontaneous and unplanned days than you do from the action-packed days you spend rushing from place to place.
Not everything is going to go according to plan. If you've been parenting for long enough you'll know that nearly 70% of your time is spent having to reschedule and shuffle things around due to the unpredictable circumstances that inevitably happen.
Not every holiday needs to be planned. Not every day needs a schedule. Not every moment needs to be photographed. Sometimes it's the unplanned, non-photographed moments shared between you and your family that count the most on just an ordinary day.
“Life finds its balance. Children grow up. Second chances come along. In the meantime, I could choose to savor this moment. What good would it do to allow annoyance to interfere with gratitude?” -Katrina Kenison, The Gift of an Ordinary Day: A Mother's Memoir
What's a regular day to you? Send us your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org