With Darbs starting nursery I had all these visions of free time to write and dedicate to the blog (not to mention quiet coffees and solo shopping trips). The reality has been vastly differently – once I get home and beds are made, dishes cleaned, washing done and put out, etc, etc and whatever pressing task needs to get done that day (bill paid, call made, errand ran) time has run out and I have to get in the car to start the school pick-up process.
Parenting is a funny thing. It's like that dangling carrot that it will get easier, better, less hectic once they 'get older' or 'go to school' or whatever. In some ways it's true, I will never take for granted being able to call out "Go to sleep!" and they actually do, oh how I wished I could've done that when they were babies (and for it to have worked). I also love being able to make dinner without a toddler attached to my leg, screaming for attention – I did that for far too many years.
I remember so many people telling: "Once they get older, it will get easier." And it does, sort of. And it kind of doesn't.
Now there are other things, more complex things. Things that can't be solved by just being in my arms or kissed better or being distracted by something bright and shiny. Once they go to school and grow up there are friends, cliques and navigating relationships outside of your family really for the first time. Along with that, there are broken hearts that their BFF is now someone else's BFF. There are classes and teachers and working out what they like and what they don't. There's not being picked for the team they desperately want to be picked for. There are sleepovers and playdates and knowing when is the right time to let go. There are school camps. There are tests. It's soothing anxiety. There's deciphering when something's really wrong and when to intervene or step back and let them have a go at doing it themselves. It's all the complex emotional stuff. It's knowing that they will remember how you reacted and responded. The thing is I can see things getting more complicated and complex as they continue to grow. I shudder at the thought of all the things teenage.
I think the past few months have been the most challenging of my parenting life. And I say that remembering months of rotten sleep deprivation, of having 3 children who liked to wake all night long. Instead of having babies waking me in the night, it's waking in the night worrying that you've made the right decision or that you've handled a situation in the right way. It's worrying that they'll be OK.
I think it's exactly that, at whatever age they are, be it 5 months or 35 years – worrying that they'll be OK. It's the constant state of parenthood.