Finding Magic in the Madness of Family Life
Parenting can feel gruelling. A never ending round of dirty nappies, spilt milk, crying and lost toys, all set to a soundtrack of annoying but surprisingly catchy theme tunes. It can be hard to get a break, and as important as breaks are you don’t want to feel that you live for the moment you can get away. You love these tiny people and you want to enjoy the time you spend with them.
That is where the magic moments come in. There’s a moment, just when you feel as if you can’t take being climbed on for one more second, when your little one snuggles in and tells you they love you and your heart just melts. That’s when you think “this is what it’s all for, it’s worth every second and I wouldn’t change it for the world.” Those are the moments the old lady in the supermarket wants you to treasure.
Of course, you don’t know when your toddler will spontaneously throw their arms
around your neck, but there are a few things you can do to find those moments of joy and connection every day.
Sharing a book is a wonderful experience for babies and toddlers, snuggled on your lap and circled in your arms they feel safe and secure while you focus on the pages together. Sometimes you might read the story while your little one listens, other times they can take the lead by pointing to the pictures or talking about what they can see. That favourite story you’ve read a thousand times might be boring to you but for your child it has a comforting familiarity, like an old blanket. Enjoy the cuddles, and maybe find some old favourites from your own childhood to share.
Nothing calms down a fraught day faster than a pot of bubble mixture. As soon as you blow rainbow bubbles into the air, babies stop crying to stare in amazement and toddlers forget their tantrums to dance and spin as they try to catch them. Not only that, you have to slow your own breathing down to blow bubbles and that helps you to stay calm. You can even turn it into a sort of sensory meditation.
There’s magic to be found in the strangest of places if you look at the world through your baby’s eyes. Try to find the time to stop rushing, set aside your to do list and just notice whatever has caught your little one’s attention. Lie with them to watch leaves blowing in the breeze or watch how absorbed they are in filling and emptying a metal cup. A feather, escaped from a cushion, could entertain a toddler for half an hour as they crawl after it, then blow it up into the air and watch it float slowly down. Watch with them, and appreciate the simple things and quiet spaces in your days together.
Sometimes the little things that make your family unique and special are the things that connect you. It might be the way you always eat fish and chips on a Friday, or the song you sing when you cuddle your little one dry after a bath. Perhaps you have a silly phrase that you use when you say goodnight, or a special recipe passed down through the generations that you love to cook together. The important thing is to recognise these moments. If you don’t have anything special you can always create some new traditions, it’s never too late. When you start to think about it, you might even realise that you already have family traditions and hadn’t noticed!
End the Day on a Good Note
It’s always good to end the day with loving thoughts, helping your little one to feel safe and secure as they drift off and letting you feel that connection before you head downstairs for some child free time. If your baby isn’t talking yet you could pick a few phrases to say to them as you tuck them in, affirming how much they are loved. Once they can talk you could start to ask them to contribute, perhaps asking what their favourite thing was about the day and telling them something you enjoyed as well. As they grow this could extend to thinking of three things to be grateful for each night.
If you would like to spend 60 minutes bonding with your little one over music and fun, followed by time to enjoy a cup of tea or coffee and chat with people who understand how hard being a parent can be, then Popcat’s could be just what you’re looking for. No need to book, just find a class here www.popcats.co.uk and come along.