17 November 2018

Parenting memories: What I loved and what I learnt

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It is important not to spend so much time worrying about parenting styles and how to be a good parent that you forget to enjoy it. The early years pass in a flash. Here parents whose children are long past babyhood recall the things they loved most about parenting.

“The thing I miss most about parenting young children is seeing their sense of wonder and discovery at the world around them, and their pleasure in such simple things. As a grandmother I got another chance to enjoy all that.”

Rita, mother of two and grandmother of five

"Holding hands, tickling, waving goodbye at the school gates, playing sardines, pretending they can beat you in a play fight, telling terrible ‘Dad’ jokes, sharing your favourite films and music with them, but most of all watching them suddenly being able to do something like swimming or riding a bike that they never thought they’d be able to do on their own.”

Emlyn Rees, father of three, co-author of Shabby (Constable)

“I will always miss that feeling of having a newborn asleep on me. There's nothing quite like a tiny baby nestled against you. I wish I'd enjoyed it more at the time and worried less about following parenting tips and developing bad habits.”

Amy Ransom, mother of three

"Reading them a bedtime story was very special. I would love to experience that again. Sadly, my son now says he can’t even remember me doing it.”

Tim, father of two

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“It’s lovely when they can’t really speak, so you don’t have to listen to them arguing and complaining! Seriously though, I miss those chubby little baby legs and super-soft skin.”

Helen, mother of two

“When they were little, but sleeping well, they would be so incredibly happy to see us in the morning. Lifting them out of their cots for the first cuddle was a wonderful start to a day.”

Daniel, father of three

“The early days feel like a distant dream. People looking after small children always look so exhausted, and so as if they can’t imagine life will ever be any different. I want to reassure them that the snack box/nappy bag/hideous plastic toy years will be gone before you know it – and parenthood gets better and more interesting and easier every day.”

Daisy Waugh, author of The Prime of Ms Dolly Greene (Constable), writing as EV Harte, mother of three

“Small children just absolutely trust whatever you tell them. They think you have all the answers. Then gradually they become cynical. And I never realised I would miss them invading my bed in the early morning, but I do!”

Siobhan, mother of two

“I miss what they smelled like at bedtime and their funny turns of phrase, the lisps and the muddled-up words. I wish I had recorded more. The snippets I have make me weep now.”

Pam, mother of two

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