Over the course of the last few years I have noticed that our lives have been lived in a state of reaching a particular milestone or date. During the week we live for Thursday (in the Middle East) or Friday (the rest of the world) and even more frightening with our children, it is a developmental milestone that we are all waiting for our babies to reach.
That first step, or tooth or smile and while I normally don’t have a problem with it, it has got me thinking that perhaps while we are rushing from one milestone to the next we are forgetting to enjoy everything in between. As a young first time parent, every baby book on the market goes in to great detail about the milestones that your baby should be reaching each week. Whether it is his eye sight or motor skills and before you know it you are constantly checking to see if he or she is hitting these startling milestones. And this in turns brings out the competitiveness of moms who are wanting the rest of the world to notice that her child is reaching milestone faster than her friends baby. When did having a healthy bouncing baby that you absolutely love become not enough?
Before my son was born, my hubby and I decided that we would not have any family members with us at his birth, his parents would come 10 days after Daniel was born and then my mom will come soon after their departure. Being a fiercely independent couple, we though that this would give us some time to bond as a family and establish a routine. In ten days, really?! I know, how naïve were we? All the same our families accepted our decision, not that they had a choice considering their lived half a world away. I had already grinned and bared my pregnancy without much help so I thought I would fly through the being a mom thing. HA! What a joke! Within a few hours of my hubby having to go back to work on day four, I was a total wreck and to top if off I knew he couldn’t come home either until that evening. I sat through that first week wondering if I was fit to be a parent because I had no idea what I was doing.
So my question is who was the crazy person who decided to put pregnancy, birth and being a mother to a new born on that shiny pedestal to completely blindside the normal people out there? The milestone race began long before my son was born, it started from the moment I fell pregnant, yes ma’am you are 5 weeks along, 12 weeks, 34 weeks, 40 weeks! And in those weeks your poor fetus has to hit a developmental milestone like clockwork! All the pregnancy magazines showed moms who were sunshine and roses and all I wanted to do was get it over and done with.
So now I have a super little three year old and much to my dismay will be starting Foundation school in September, school uniform and all and unfortunately the milestone fight is still very evident because all children wanting to start FS 1 need to have an assessment at the school you wish to attend and you have to pay for that assessment as well. So off we went to our choice of schools and Daniel handled them very well. Most of the reports came back to say he was a well adjusted young boy with great social skills and he hit all the, wait for it milestones, they were looking for. Like I said most of them. The last school we went to did a 20 minute assessment and their feedback was that he didn’t have the social skills required for a 3 year old to start FS1, flying in the face of anything anyone has told us and what we knew about our son. To say I turned into a thin lipped viper is a total understatement but in the back of my mind I knew that t was the best thing and we have now placed him a great little school just down the road from our house.
But it has been the little things that have got me thinking about how we are pushing our children to become more than what they should be at an earlier stage in their lives and while we are constantly rushing them off of the next extra mural activator recital when did we last stop to take stock of our lives and think that perhaps we should be giving them more time just to be children and not a milestone achiever?
So instead of living milestone to milestone should we not be living from one happy moment to the next or just living?