Feeding pigeons in the park

Benefits – I have time

Some days, I have said ten times in an hour, ‘Hurry up, we’ll be late’ or ‘I can’t do it now, I don’t have time.’ But the reality is that most days there is time, or at least I am learning to make time to walk with toddler steps to feed the pigeons, pick daisies or throw pebbles. We are used to a frenetic world where meals are instant, information is instant, desires can be instantly satisfied but stay-at-home mums have a very precious commodity. We have time. Slowing down our pace is hard, especially after a business environment and we need to learn to slow down and not rush our children.

Having time to talk with and enjoy your children means you can build strong, enduring relationships. Talk now while you have the opportunity, because you will have strong connections for those teenage years when all you hear is grunts, and strong bonds to weather the turbulent teenage years.

Time with your children is also an opportunity to pass on simple life skills, whether it is how to sort out washing, setting a table or how to hoe a vegetable patch. These life skills are built on day by day as they watch, start to ‘help’ and perhaps one day become proficient and then assist you. I am eternally grateful that my mother taught me to touch type at the age of twelve… if only I had learnt to change a plug as well!

Can you remember the film ‘Dead Poet’s Society’ where Robin Williams, acting as the English professor John Keating, walks along a school corridor and breathes into the ears of the young schoolboys the Latin phrase, ‘Carpe Diem’? Those words still send shivers down my spine and I remember that time with my child is limited – so ‘Seize the Day’. After only four short years children start school and their early childhood ends.

If someone said to you that you would only be a stay-at-home mum for two years, I think most of us would pour ourselves into the role, because we would know it was finite and we would want to use every moment. But because it appears indefinite, we sometimes see staying at home as treading water. Children will grow up or your situation may change – it may be a year, five years, or a decade, but recognise it as a finite period of time and enjoy it. When you are in the thick of it, it can feel as if changing nappies and wiping grubby mouths will go on forever. Some days you will have to switch to survival mode, but don’t be swamped by the monotonous aspects, because one day no one will feed the ducks, and the saved crusts of bread will curl and find refuge in the bin.

You have the opportunity to make early childhood special for you and your child. Your life can become full of urgent but unimportant deadlines so make it the priority to spend time with your child each day. Rob Parsons, the author of business and family issues, uses the phrase, ‘No-one was ever heard to say on their death bed, ‘I wish I had spent more time at the office.’[1]

[1] From The Sixty Minute Father by Rob Parsons

1 comment
  1. Brilliant post. After a few years (oh yes, it took me two years, alas) I realized that the time I spent with my girls was very very precious. I missed this time with my son – as I was working-mum and my husband was stay-at-home-dad for the first two and a half years – and am now appreciating every single moment I can spend with my now 9 year old boy. Times goes fast and, as you said, they’ll stop feeding the pidgeons with you… Fortunately I have beautiful memories and they’ll last forever.

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