Enjoy them while they're young. Oh yes. I heard that many times. And did I take note? No of course I didn't.
I don't know how it was for you but when mine were small I was so busy 'parenting' that I hardly knew what day it was never mind have the focus to relish the here and now.
Mummy, Mummy where are you?
Who could imagine there could be limits to how much adoration I could take? Seems hard to believe now but there was a time when my children actually wanted to spend time with me – no make that all their time with me, when they would sulk if I had the audacity to do something as frivolous as have a bath without them.
Forget the scented candles, forget the water, I just wanted space and to have a locked door between us.
I cherished my rare moments of solitude, mentally begging them to bugger off and find someone else to hassle, whilst they sat outside banging their duplo on the bathroom door. 'Mummy, Mummy I Neeeeed Youuuuu.'
I'm rarely needed now unless it's to find something, iron something or take them somewhere. Sniff!
Dressing to impress
Children are so much more relaxed about what they wear than teenagers.
OK, there were times when middle child would insist on wearing slightly unusual combinations often accessorised with a red plastic sieve on his head but I could deal with that - apart from when I need to drain the potatoes and couldn't find it.
And I don't miss the bright yellow Bob the Builder plastic jackets that were so loved, on occasion they were even worn to bed.
Children don't need designer labels; in fact the cheaper, more garish, the more nylon fibres the more they'll probably like them.
And best of all it worked both ways. I just needed to slap on some makeup, put on a dress and mummy looked like a Princess. Now? Well let's just say it's very different.
Time for bath, book and bed.
Dare I admit that it was often a chore? By 6.30 I was usually so knackered I rushed through it as quickly as possible and on occasions I would even put the clock forward an hour.
My English Lit A level finally became useful as I became adept at précising books from a page to a paragraph.
But through my rose tinted spectacles I see the grins of delight as they happily blow bubbles and splash. I don't see the waterlogged floor and drenched towels.
I don't even hear the wine calling 'drink me drink me'. I see cherubs, thumbs in mouths, faces rapt as I tell them their story again and again.
Primary colours and sharp inanimate objects
Obviously I don't miss the searing pain of treading on Lego and I definitely don't miss the aesthetics of every surface covered with dust gathering creations that were just too special to be chucked in the toy box.
But I do miss the days when they would sit happily building for hours and rarely got bored. It took a lot longer to clear away than X-Box games but it's so much more constructive than shooting people.
Let's make something, Mummy
The words would send shivers down my spine as they bounced up and down enthusiastically brandishing their scissors and 'making things box'. Reluctantly I would get out the glue and the sellotape, the paint and the sequins and we'd make a cat bed, a castle, a bootiful box.
After half an hour the devastation was complete, every surface covered in glue and sequins and treasures that needed to dry. But now I go into the attic and see them and I think they really are treasures. Anyone fancying making papier mache with me?
It's my party and I'll cry if I want to.
Did I really dread the days when numerous pre-schoolers would descend, tread cheese and pineapples sticks into the carpet and wipe their noses on my furniture. What a doddle that was. Yes, birthday child would get a little overwrought and tears might flow but oh for those days because they would all go home.
Snot or vomit, which would you choose?
No toddler is capable of the damage a drunken teenager can bestow. Teenage tears don't vanish with the rustle of a haribo packet and they're often still there in the morning – tears and teenagers both!