Monday, 18 September 2017

Some thoughts on 'the time will fly by'

It seems the 6 month+ version of 'is she a good baby' is 'make the most of it, the time will fly by'. It seems like all of a sudden strangers in the supermarket queue and middle aged people on trains are full of this wisdom. It's another one of these emotional cliches it seems everyone has internalised, and really, I have no idea why it's such a popular one. 

Firstly, experiences of time are subjective. Gretchen Rubin, who I love, has this mantra - 'the days are long but the years are short'. I get it, I love it, but I've never been a person who has found time to fly by. Honestly. Maybe it's because I've spent so much of my life working in numerous jobs, studying, working on hobbies, travelling back and forth to whatever place is 'home' or 'temporary home' or whatever, but time has never seemed to rush past. There is honestly nothing more agonising and slow than a 1 hour 40 minute Ryanair flight when your headphones are dead. Or 1 hour bus journeys twice a day. Or polishing cutlery. Or repeated the same movements week after week at the barre. Maybe I'm a total weirdo, but I've never felt the rush of time whizz through my outstretched palms, facing down my impending demise. Time is time, it's experienced in lots of different ways, but for me it never ever flies.

Secondly, there is a certain privilege in this testimony. Someone in a FB group posted a comic the other day and it went like this:

Mother and father are walking with baby. Mother pushes buggy. Father carries baby. 
Mother goes 'oh but it's such a long way and she's so heavy'. 
Father gushes 'one day she'll be too big to carry'. 
Father walks off into sunset with babe in arms, mother pushes stroller.

That's great, that's beautiful, but it's kind of bullshit. Why? Because babies are freakin' heavy, and my back and shoulders ache a lot of the time. It is totally central to the gendered inequalities of parenting in our society that the father in this comic is lauded as being some sort of bloody martyr while the mother wants the easy way out. I hold Anna and feed her and carry her about for about 8 hours a day. I love to put her down or better still, have someone else hold her. I can't wait for the day when she can just sit on a chair herself. 

Finally, babydom doesn't seem like all that much fun, guys. You pee yourself 10 times a day. You have to ask for absolutely everything you need, and you can't even customise your requirements. Why would I want my baby to stay in this suspended animation stage? I want her to flourish. To go to school, climb rocks, fall down, get back up, love and travel and cook and dance. I don't want her to be a baby for any longer than is absolutely necessary, for both her sake and mine. This is because babies are a hell of a lot of work, and also because I think she'd rather be a sentient being, squishy and adorable as she is.

1 comment:

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