parents

'The days are long but the years are short.'

El Hogan

by EL HOGAN

My days are so jam packed full of the mundane. Washing, folding, school lunches, vacuuming, cooking, educating, checking off To Do Lists. I try hard to fit in exercise every day, not to mention running 2 businesses. My husband works away, so its just me and the kids for most of the time.

Some days, all I wish for in the entire universe is to pee by myself or drink a whole cup of tea in one sitting. Some mornings I wake up and before I’ve even opened my eyes, I think “I can’t wait until its bed time again”. I’m not the only one. In fact, I’ve no doubt just described nearly everyone I know.

Recently, I started to feel a little resentful of the way I was spending my days. My kids are little and they see me as an extension of themselves. In their eyes, its my sole purpose in life to cater to their every need. Food is put in front of them at roughly the same time every day. Their drawers fill up magically everyday with clean, folded clothes.

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They have healthy lunches packed for them and plenty of beautiful books to choose from for me to read to them. They adore me, and tell me a million times a day. I know they are happy because they run and smile and laugh. But, as yet, they are not very good at being grateful or thankful. I started to feel like I had lost myself somewhere, and didn’t know who I was without my kids.

Then, just last week, I watched as Lily, who’s 4, got herself ready for her shower, turned the water on, made sure it was the right “lovely & warm” temperature (with my supervision, of course), washed herself, turned off the water, dried herself, picked out and got in her pyjamas, got her favourite book from next to her bed and settle into the couch to quietly read it. All by herself. I didn’t have to help once. I can’t remember when that happened? When did she start doing that? I suddenly became very conscious of the old cliché of how fast time was flying.

I heard a saying the other day that I keep coming back to: “The days are so long, but the years are so short”

Fleeting moments in long days….

I don’t want future El to look back on today and only remember the mundane chaos. Because, if I’m honest with myself, I love the chaos. I created this chaos. And its full to the brim and over flowing with love and laughter. That’s what I want future El to remember. Harry learning to read and proudly ticking off his book list every day. Lily painting her nails. Darcy trying to master the two footed jump on the trampoline. And the mess. The never-ending mess.  These things are too easily lost amongst the bedlam.

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So. To remind myself that these days are the ones I will look back on with pride and love, not with exhaustion and resent, I thought I would tackle a 10 on 1o Project this year, inspired by one of my favourite photographers, Molly Flanagan. I really want to document a whole year in my hectic life, but time constrains don’t allow for a photo a day I’m afraid. A 10 on 10 suits me.

Essentially, it involves taking 10 photos on the 10th of each month (funnily, like the name suggests;-)) of our day, however boring and mundane. Roughly one photo an hour, for the duration of the day. For although my life is a whirlwind, I really am grateful for the love that surrounds me everyday, however unruly. I want to embrace the pandemonium! I don’t want to look back in 20 years time and only remember the key moments. I want to remember the value I placed on conversations at breakfast, putting on slippers, the tanties at dinner time.

If you want to participate along with me, let me know, as I’d love to follow along with you! Comment below and share this post or come and visit me at my blog, as I’m sure there are other tired but happy mums out there who maybe need a little reminder that if you look for happiness and love amidst the chaos, you’re sure to find it.

This piece was originally posted on El’s blog here and has been republished with full permission. 

El is an Award Winning natural light photographer, specialising in families, children and babies. She lives in the Gold Coast Hinterland with her husband and 3 beautiful children. You can find her blog here  and her website here.

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