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It’s a holiday today, where we live. It doesn’t matter why it’s a holiday but it is one. Gy is home from school and as is classic, lolled around luxuriously in the warmth of the thick blankets till 8 am.

I let her do it since it’s a privilege she usually gets only on the weekends.

In the meanwhile, I’d been up since 5.30, worked on the first draft of my memoir, gone for my morning walk, made tea and even done a load of laundry in the time  that it took for her to shake off the slumber and get out of bed.

Once she did, mom-mode switched itself on in my head as I quickly asked her to brush her teeth, have her milk, her bath and breakfast so she could enjoy the rest of the day with her dad.

All done, the two of them have now headed out to play a game of tennis followed by basketball while I sit here, winding up some work and writing this blog post.

And I pause.

It’s been a hectic few weeks, what with the move to self-hosted, attending a few events, running the household, taking care of my health, catching up on sleep and some reading. I’ve loved it. Loved every minute of it.

But today, as I sit here, hearing the keyboard jump under my tapping fingers, listening to the hum of the refrigerator as it buzzes in the background and the absolute canopy of quiet that fills every inch of the house, I wonder:

[bctt tweet=”Am I making enough memories with my child? #Parenting” username=”shyvish”]

Making memories with our kids is very important

She’s growing up, this child of mine. I watch it every single day.

I notice it in the way she confidently combs her own hair, manages to gently tease the strands apart, removes  the knots and tangles, runs  the brush through the smooth tresses and gathers it all up into a high ponytail which she snaps smartly into place with a rubber band.

I observe it in the way she packs her books in her school bag, sorting the big books from the smaller ones, sharpens her pencils, checks to see if she’s taken everything for the day and zips it up with a smile that can lift my saddest spirit.

I watch her when she reads her books, her brow intense, her eyes unblinking, her lower lip caught between her teeth and one finger twirling that errant strand of hair that drops from behind her ear.

Thinking of all these visual memories, I realise two things:

One, these are my memories. Memories that I have of this wonderful, gentle being that will keep me warm when I am very very old.

Two, I don’t exist in these memories. I am busy doing other things while she is busy growing up. And I realised that with a pang.

I don’t mean to say we should never make time for ourselves. We should. We definitely should. But we also need to make the effort to consciously and almost effortlessly insert ourselves into the memory-making process with our kids.

It can be so easy to forget that when we are wrapped up in our work, our chores, our blogs, our social media lives, our every fragment of existence that doesn’t consciously include our children.

That is precisely why we need to unplug, rewire ourselves and give ourselves to them ever so often. We can do all of this without the scrutiny of social media or the need to be accepted by society. The relationship that matters- the special one between you and your child- is something that can never be captured quite that well on a Facebook post or an Instagram filter anyway.

For, without us, the memories that our kids will have of us will be very different when they look back at this time of their lives.

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Obsessivemom · September 2, 2016 at 1:18 pm

Oho my comment disappeared :-((.
Anyway I have to say this again that this is a perfectly timed post with a long weekend coming up. I do get caught up in ‘mommy mode’ even on holidays. It seems like the natural thing to happen when the kids are around. However there are some days when we talk. That perhaps is the best part of the kids growing up – they can hold a decent conversation and they do come up with very interesting perspectives. We need to give them and us more together-time. Thanks for this post Shailaja.
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    Shailaja · September 3, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    We need more together-time, very aptly said, Tulika. I hope we all make the effort to take care of ourselves as well as the bonds we make.

Varsh · September 2, 2016 at 2:34 pm

When they grow up children forget things like what you gifted them on your birthday, but they’ll always remember what you cooked specially for them or how you played catch with them in the living room. Memories like this keep us warm. I already look back fondly at my son’s toddler days and he’s just 8!
Yes, we need to set aside time for people who have a brighter chance of being around a few years down the line. Stats matter, but these memories matter more. ☺

    Shailaja · September 3, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    Well said, Varsha. I think of my folks and the only things I remember are all the fun times we had together. I need to make time for her and myself too. Thank you 🙂 These memories matter more.

Mithila Menezes @fabulus1710 · September 2, 2016 at 5:41 pm

I truly agree with this thought, Shailaja!
Spending time with parents is truly important for kids too. Be it helping bake a cake or just discussing some news info, conversation with parents is deeper and more meaningful than any philosophy book. Cherishing these times is important!

    Shailaja · September 3, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    Thank you, Mithila 🙂 I think so too and I hope I have these reminders more often, for my own sake.

Shalini R · September 2, 2016 at 7:51 pm

You know, Shailaja. I am not a mom yet. But I guess your post points out to every relation.
I sometimes feel guilty on not spending enough time with my husband. The blogs, social media, household chores, cycling (yes, I started yesterday. All thanks to you and Jaibala), I miss out on those great moments I could’ve had with him. I resigned from my job only to be with him and spend some quality time. And look at me! I need to sort out my priorities, unplug and unwind! Hmmph!
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    Shailaja · September 3, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    Don’t fall into the blame game, darling 🙂 It’s all for the best. You are doing what you love, right? Being with him itself is part of the experience. Yes, if it makes you better, cut back on some social media time and blogging and spend more time with him.

Suchitra (@ThePhDMama) · September 2, 2016 at 8:23 pm

I completely see where you are coming from and I feel like that too. Everyday. Even though my kids are really young and I have every day to build new memories with them and there are many times I desperately hope for time to simply pause while I take a mental image of a moment to capture it forever, I am also okay with it leaving me or I am learning that it’s okay. Every day also brings in newer memories of their latest stage of growing up and all of those stages and memories from newborn to toddler hood have been pretty great too.

I read this piece a few days ago and enjoyed it. Just a different perspective.

    Shailaja · September 3, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Oh I am a very live-in-the-moment kind of a person 😉 Trust me on that one. I am also the kind who advocates that moms should take care of themselves first. You owe that to yourself and the kids. Ever so often though, I swing from that space to one of misty-eyed nostalgia, as I watch her grow up, talk to me less and turn into an adolescent faster than I can blink. On those days, I feel maudlin and sentimental and a tad guilty too. Ah, who said parenting is easy?

Sid · September 2, 2016 at 11:34 pm

It’s about finding that balance between having some ‘me time’ and ‘making memories with them’.
We all figure it out eventually.
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    Shailaja · September 3, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Exactly. I just hope eventually doesn’t mean after she’s left for college. Sigh.

Rajlakshmi · September 3, 2016 at 5:19 pm

Children do grow up fast… I see that happening with my friends who are always surprised how big their kids are now. I am a victim of social media too… blogs are overtaking my life and I need to control that!!
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    Shailaja · September 3, 2016 at 6:44 pm

    Tell me about it. The dopamine hit we get from notifications is so addictive, right? But yes, monitored tech time is helping me immensely. Must extend it to spending time with her too though.

Deeps · September 3, 2016 at 9:07 pm

I had a lump in my throat while reading the post. This could so have been me saying all that you did in the post, Shailaja. Only that you expressed your feelings so much more beautifully than I could have mine.

Yes the me-time is certainly essential but making memories with your child is just as much if not more. Here’s to loads of wonderful moments. Enjoy and savour every bit of it with your child 🙂

    Shailaja · September 3, 2016 at 10:33 pm

    Thank you so much, Deeps! What a wonderful, thoughtful and detailed comment you’ve written. I am so grateful. Wishing you the same with your own child 🙂

Roshan R · September 4, 2016 at 2:55 pm

While I don’t have kids (none that I know of! Deepika Padukone never called back!), even as a person staying alone I do realize that I have plugged in to the system for far too long and have lost touch with the actual world around me. Not having the laptop for the last 2 weeks was kind of an eye opener… I remember you used to take social media breaks and I think I may be heading down that path sooner rather than later for my own well being.
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    Shailaja · September 4, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Deepika Padukone, it seems 🙂

    But yes, we do tend to be sucked into the vortex of social media, don’t we? Sigh. If only we knew how to strike a balance. The social media breaks are great, Roshan! Worth trying for sure. Good luck!

Aparna George · September 5, 2016 at 9:08 am

So true Shailaja, life seems to pass in such a whirlwind that I often wonder what my kids will remember of growing up. Hopefully some good memories will linger, and your post serves as a good reminder to make many more :).

    Shailaja · September 6, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    I think between you and me, we are constantly talking about the things that matter so our kids are more or less settled.I hope we remember it often and stay in touch with them 🙂

Cheney Meaghan · September 5, 2016 at 9:23 am

I hear you, it’s important to make these memories happen. I look back on my own childhood and the older I get the less I remember, and I seem to remember the strangest times being the most fun!

    Shailaja · September 6, 2016 at 9:50 pm

    Oh I know, right?! What lovely memories we have of growing up. Sigh, our kids will have different memories but equally good ones, I hope 🙂

Rachna · September 7, 2016 at 4:48 pm

A truly much-needed reminder that we could all benefit from. Just the last extended weekend was pretty much plugging out and indulging in some family time. The memories were beautiful except for the last day of travel of course.
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Vidya Sury · September 11, 2016 at 11:58 am

There’s not a day when I am not grateful for some life-changing decisions I took, a couple of decades ago. There were very rare moments when I wondered if I was missing out on something I would come across in the online world, but fortunately, since I always knew after it happened, I got used to that 😀 I’ve always prioritized family and relationships over everything else. So glad. Memories are all I have, sometimes, like a cozy, warm and loving blanket to comfort myself. When it comes to our children, it means more tears, but all so worth it.

A beautiful post.
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Medha · September 18, 2016 at 2:15 pm

Shailaja, very well written.It is perhaps a necessity to spend more time with kids not only to create beautiful memories for them but also to dissuade them from so many distractions that may form a part and occupy their memories like cartoons, video games.

    Shailaja · September 18, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    So well said, Medha. If we don’t model the behaviour that we expect of them, how will they be able to do anything that we want for them? Thank you so much for reading. I appreciate it.

Confessions of an Exhausted Mom: It happens to us all · June 14, 2017 at 7:05 am

[…] the ‘take it slow‘ and ‘savour the parenting moment‘ posts that I have written, I firmly believe that this job can overwhelm you big time and […]

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