Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Nostalgic for your children's childhoods? Talk to a new mum

If the smell of banana sandwiches makes you come over all dewy-eyed about your children's childhoods,  try talking to a new mum. It's a great reality check.

I met one the other day.  OK, her baby looked adorable, and I envy her in so many ways: that mad besotted love, the burst of creativity, the way life's possibilities stretch ahead limitlessly.

But in so many other ways I really don't envy her: working on deadlines into the wee small hours, snatching a few hours' sleep before the 5 am feed,  boxing and coxing with your partner instead of being romantic,  searching for good childcare.  Never mind the heart-wrenching anxiety when your child gets ill.

Having babies and small children was the best time of my life - no question.  It made me what I am,  it informs everything I do and think.  I know how lucky I am to have had that time.

When my children first left I felt hopelessly nostalgic for their toddlerhood,  full of regret for all the things I did and didn't do.  I still do, a bit.  But I really really wouldn't want to go back there.