THE BLOG
11/01/2016 10:39 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST

A Smug Mum Once Told Me Something. She Was Right

I am not a fan of the smug, know-it-all kind who tell you how to nurture/care for/raise your kids. The worst is people telling you how you should feel, especially about your own kids. But her words stuck with me for a reason.

Dean Mitchell via Getty Images
Happy pregnant woman with her friends relaxing at home - Indoors

"I'll have to wait 11 years before I have a kid-free New Year's Eve again," I overheard a wistful sounding mother say the other day. I felt one of those sentimental pangs you get when your child is no longer a toddler and you've embraced that smug 'older and wiser' satisfaction you probably don't deserve.

"Hang on to it while you can," I wanted to say to her, which would have been very odd and possibly a bit creepy because (I hope) she wasn't even aware I was eavesdropping on her conversation. It would also have been awful because I am not a fan of the smug, know-it-all kind who tell you how to nurture/care for/raise your kids. The worst is people telling you how you should feel, especially about your own kids.

But her words stuck with me for a reason. My issue wasn't about the fact that I wasn't having a kid free New Year's Eve -- in fact, it was quite the opposite. I didn't have a child with me this year and I had forgotten to even notice, let alone earmark, the last time I had spent New Year's Eve with him.

Last year he was with a friend and his friend's parents at a party. This year he was old enough to attend a party without parents.

Just like that, he's grown up. Just like that, I don't need to 'worry' about staying at home with him on New Year's Eve. Just like that, I don't have to work out plans around my young child because, just like that, I don't have a young child anymore.

How much have I missed in those years he was quickly growing up, becoming a teenager, moving closer to independence and further from his parents? How many 'lasts' have I missed without even thinking about them? How many conclusions to chores I used to curse about because they seemed like they'd never end?

  • The last time I understood his homework
  • The last time I had to book a babysitter when we went out at night
  • The last time he let me choose clothes for him
  • The last time I got to apply sunscreen (now I can only nag him to apply it himself)
  • The last time I had to talk to his friends' parents to make plans for him
  • The last time I got to decide what he should eat
  • The last time I got to go into his bedroom and find him fast asleep AT NIGHT
  • The last time I got to clean up his toys. Or even buy him toys
  • The last time he agreed to come with his dad and me to a friend's house
  • The last time he wanted to see a movie with us rather than with his friends
  • The last time he asked us about anything without thinking he already knew the answer...

Don't think for a minute I want to go back to the days I couldn't go out because there was a small child to consider, but I wouldn't mind hanging on to the days right now.

A really smug mum once told me they grow up so quickly and I'd really miss those childhood years once they were gone. I hate to say it, but I think she was right.

______________

You can read more of Lana's blogs here. Or visit her on Facebook here.

Polling, News, Analysis
All the latest from the 2020 presidential election from HuffPost reporters in the US and around the world