The Guilt Monster - are you Saving or Shredding Your Kids' Memories?

The Guilt Monster - are you Saving or Shredding Your Kids' Memories?

"Pleasure is the flower that passes. Remembrance the lasting perfume." Jean de Boufflers

Family memoriesThere are certain parts of being a mum which are, let's be honest, a real turn-off.

1. Emptying the school bag.

How many dads do this? It may sound like a relatively quick and simple task, but in my household invariably takes a full half hour of reading, calendar-ing, checking, organising and notifying. And that doesn't include the jogging of memories, baking, PTAing and making-sure-it-all-actually-happens-on-the-daying.

2. Snot.

Now, for some reason, I have grown accustomed to my childrens' pooh. It phases me not. It can even be funny (my 4 year old shouts "splash, pond!" when his doo-doo hits the water). But for some reason snot, especially the green stuff, still makes me queasy. Dads seem to be content to let it run. Kids use a sleeve. What the hell is it with everyone around here? Use a tissue!

3. Stuff on the floor.

Shoes, primarily, but also.....laptop bags(dad), dirty washing (dad and boys), water pistols (boys) and today even an actual Scooter (not dad)! I remain convinced that if I died tomorrow the rest of the family would eventually suffocate in the growing mountain of clothing which would swallow them whole, whilst watching Sponge Bob Square Pants and munching crisps, with only vague memories of my existence.

Anyway, why am I telling you this? Because, on the flip-side, there are certain things about being a mum which violently make up for these aberrations. One of them is this - when your tiny little child who is not yet able to roll his or her 'Rs' presents you with an artistic offering which he or she has diligently made at nursery/school. Your heart beats just a little bit faster and for a fleeting moment you are united in the knowledge that this dreadful, unaccomplished piece of 'tat' is both a symbol of the bond of love which you share and a sign that your baby is growing up.

Your child's art work holds much to admire. Captured over time, it shows the improvements to their dexterity and motor skills - learning to hold a paint brush or stamp a potato on the actual paper is no mean feat for a 2 year old. Eventually the sloppy squiggles turn into shapes - their memories are developing to be able to translate what they recognise onto paper. Shapes become faces and then there is the magical moment when they finally conquer writing their own name! (I would like to offer some in-hindsight advice here to all mums-to-be. When selecting a name for your unborn child, pick "Jill" or "Tim" in order to avoid lagging behind in the 'my baby wrote his name before your baby' competition. I, rather foolishly, saddled my kids with "George" and "Oliver", two more circular names would be hard to come by and the letter 'e' is a right bugger, it turns out.)

Over the years, I have 'tidied away' some classic art pieces. What do you do with yours?

I'm firmly in the 'keep the best stuff' category. I religiously scan (or photograph is sometimes easier - clay pots tend to break the scanner, I find) their stuff, making lots of oohs and aaahs at their incredible tiny brilliance, and post a digital copy of their creations on to their lifelines. There they can be enjoyed forever, without filling too many boxes in my tiny, cramped office, and they are date-stamped and catalogued chronologically (and best yet, automatically) on their Lifeline. I know for a fact that one day they will thank me for it.

Hopefully it is these memories which will overshadow the remembrance of me ranting about Scooters in the hall, and snot.

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"Life's a Journey, SaveEveryStep"