When you’re a parent, Father Time is the enemy.
He’s the guy that you’re mentally shaking your fist at when you once again begin your day at a time that starts with a 4, robotically inhaling caffeine whilst your fresh-as-a-daisy toddler bounces off the furniture like a Duracell Bunny at Mardi Gras.
He’s rigged it so that the longer it takes you to prepare a nutritious, child-friendly meal, the quicker you’ll be muttering obscenities into the bin, scraping their untouched plate clean and wondering whether a Dairylea ‘Ham N Cheese’ snack pack counts as a balanced dinner…
He looms menacingly over you at five minutes to “we absolutely have to leave the house RIGHT NOW’ as you scour the living room for lost dummies/your car keys/your sanity, whilst simultaneously chasing a semi-naked toddler around the coffee table, mentally checking off the 101 essential items for the nursery bag, and half-heartedly lobbing wholemeal toast in your child’s general direction in the hope that they’ll accidentally take on some nutrients mid-scream.
He slows down to an agonising crawl at restaurants when they bring out a children’s meal SO HOT that it must have been spewed from the bowels of Mount Vesuvius. Cue what seems like hours of frantic blowing, fanning and nugget-dismantling in a bid to stem the inevitable waterworks.
He contrives to make that hour before bedtime, that unrelenting procession of increasingly high-pitched wails (yours) of “I won’t tell you again!” (*you 100% will*)/ “I’m not picking up after you all night!” (*Again, definitely happening*) / “Right, I’m counting to 5!” (*But will stop at 4, because everyone in the room knows that there’s f*ck all left in your parenting arsenal if you actually get there*), last about a decade.
He makes five minute’s peace whizz by in a flash, whilst “just five more minutes mummy!” drags on for days.
But ultimately, the REALLY annoying thing about time when you’re a parent, is that you know there will never be enough of it.
All of a sudden, they’ll just beam at you, or hurl themselves into your arms, or do something AMAZING for the very first time, and you flip from wishing time away, to desperately trying to grasp hold of it. Because there will never be enough lazy summer days in the local park, or sticky kisses on sandy beaches. There will never be enough Christmas mornings, or snuggly Sunday breakfasts in bed, or impromptu living room discos. I dread the time when she no longer wants to hold my hand, or run towards me when I enter the room, or come to me for cuddles when she’s sad. Inevitably, all of those exhilarating ‘firsts’ will become bittersweet ‘lasts’. And sometimes, you won’t even realise it until it’s past.
Time is the enemy, but also such a gift.
So perhaps I’ll let Father Time off, just this once, even though wine o’clock seems a looooooong way off right now…