Ok, ‘hate’ is a strong word, and I know this will make me sound like a bitter old woman (I promise I’m not!), but the fact that people seem to call out: “Enjoy making memories” for half of the things that you do in life is a real bug bear of mine!
“We’re getting married next month”. “Fantastic! Enjoy making memories on your day!”
“We’re going on holidays tomorrow”. “Oh, enjoy making memories for your kids!”
Innocent, I know. Just a thing you say. And that’s probably because I’m a bit of a language geek, but I don’t say it, and you guessed that I’m about to tell you why.
It makes it sound like a task
If I’m planning a day out somewhere special or going on holidays, as a family of 5, we’ve got enough stuff to plan for to make it all happen. “Making memories” doesn’t need to feature on my to-do list. “Making the most of it” definitely will. And if it was a good day and one worth remembering, then I’m sure it’ll become a memory, but the bit I want to focus on is the enjoying bit, and I’m sure that the memory will then come.
It makes me feel like whatever we’re doing is already in the past
We’ve not even done it yet, and I have to think about the memory already? As a generation of parents I think we are all a bit too guilty of ‘not living in the moment and in the present’ well enough. We focus too often on the past and constantly seem to worry about the future. I’m going on holidays to enjoy every minute of it, hopefully, without focusing too much on whether it is going to be a good memory or not, for me or my children.
I don’t want to miss out
A few months ago, Adele made the news (you know, first world problems and all that) because she told a fan at one of her concerts to put the camera away and just enjoy.
She’s right though.
And at some point I actually was that fan. I was lucky enough to see Adele performing Hello live last year, and I filmed the whole thing on my phone. Then I asked myself, “Why did I do that?!” I never watched it back – in fact, I did attempt it, and the video wasn’t even good quality. It just was nowhere near what the experience was really like. Now, you may or may not like her, but she undeniably has a powerful voice. And one that really holds the stage. For me it was quite an emotional experience, but why did I bother filming it rather than just enjoying what I was watching? I ended up watching it through my phone screen to make sure I was aiming right – why not just watch her directly?
We are too guilty of this, I find. In the age of smartphones and social media, it’s almost like we are ‘expected’ to show what cool things we do with our kids and what cool places we go to.
And you know what? We all know the truth here. We don’t always get to do cool things and go to cool places because in fact for a lot of parents with young children life can be quite routine-heavy sometimes, and it’s definitely not always picture perfect. I’m sure as parents you also have days or moments that you don’t want to have memories of, and you probably don’t want your children to remember them either! So when we do get to do something different and nice, we do want to share it. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I’m sure you’ll agree that watching things through a lens isn’t the same thing as watching them ‘live’.
Shall we trust life a bit more?
I have memories of when I was a child. Everyone does. And yet my parents didn’t take a camera wherever we went. And they didn’t have a blog or social media to share every single day of their lives with others.
We remember because our brain has the power to retain information, thankfully. We may have forgotten a lot, but we also remember a lot. And the childhood memories we have are ones that we (hopefully) treasure.
Even without a photo or a video to record them.
Even when our parents didn’t set out for the day with the objective of ‘making memories’.
The days were lived.
Moments were shared.
Emotions were felt, and memories were made.
So if you tell me you’re going on holidays, I’ll just really, from the heart, tell you to relax and enjoy it! You may or may not remember some of it in a few months. You know, the tiring and stressful bits that inevitably always happens if you’re on holidays with your children…
Your children may or may not remember some of it in a few years.
But if you enjoyed the single moments, it will all have been worth it, I’m sure.
I know this is a bit controversial. So, what do you think?