A friend of mine likes to point out to her children when they are having idyllic childhoods. Picnics by the river, cuddling piles of squealing kids on a trampoline, gingerbread daleks at Christmas. IDYLLIC CHILDHOOD. Of course, they never do stop and appreciate the moment for what it is – but maybe, maybe pointing it out to them will freeze a photograph style image in their head that they can pull out as an adult.
It also gives us a chance to let the usual layers of maternal guilt slide away for a few minutes and appreciate that, sure, we do so many things wrong, and so many other things just to get by, and there’s no such thing as perfect parents or perfect children, but right this second, we’re doing a good job and they are good kids, and these are the bits we want to remember when they’re glued to Playstation 2020s and grunting unintelligibly at us.
There are many days of their childhood that are so far from idyllic, with the TV blaring and the kids wanting (or actively trying) to kill each other, the days when the lack of a cup of tea can be the difference between making it to 6 o clock or everybody falling in a heap.
“Look, idyllic childhood moment, over there! You go run after it while Mummy has a sit down and breathes into this brown paper bag.”