The other day a friend who is about to have her first baby asked me if I had any wise words for her. I laughed and said I’d have to have a think about it, and I haven’t got back to her yet.
Really, this is completely telling of what it’s like to have small children. For the past week I have had a few thoughts bobbing around my head at inappropriate moments and I’ve been thinking I must make a note to tell her this or that.
That would have to be my first thought for her right there. While your children are young (I’m hoping this changes as they age) you will never have time to do everything you want to do. The perfect window of time no longer exists when you get to sit down and focus on one thing. Right now I am eating a plate of plastic corn on the cob and pretending to feed a doll, all to keep Shine distracted long enough for me to write this.
All of a sudden you find yourself mentally sorting tasks into things that can be achieved in various time slots – while child is napping, while breastfeeding, while boiling the water for the pasta.
If you do get a chunk of time where you are on your own, free to do what you like, you’re faced with crippling indecision over what to prioritise. The temptation to do absolutely nothing, like lay in a bath and read a book, is sometimes so strong that you don’t achieve anything that you should.
If you don’t prioritise doing nothing sometimes then you risk becoming totally overwhelmed by it all and doing nothing for much longer.
Another thing I thought to tell her was that children need walking, like very active dogs. Before you shout at me that children are nothing like pets, yes, yes, I know. However, my children need walking, like very active dogs. If I don’t take them out for a walk every day then I risk them shredding tissues, in Shine’s case, or ‘doing building’ that results in holes in the wall, in Sun’s case.
If someone had asked me if I was ready for the commitment of owning a dog before I fell pregnant with Sun I probably would have said no. No, I wouldn’t want to have to worry about being home in the evening in time to feed them, having them minded while on go on holidays, pay for all their vet bills etc. Well, hello, what was I thinking a child would be like?!
This was yesterday morning’s run:
Another thing that has run through my mind this week is that whether you think you are doing a good job of this whole parenting thing often depends on perception, and what you tell yourself. I now call bribery rewarding good behaviour. Letting them eat chocolate and sweets on occasion is ensuring they don’t become fixated on those foods and develop an unhealthy relationship in later life. We need to spend time away from them because it’s good for them to develop independence.
When your children are quiet and happy for any period of time you will want to capture that moment and commit it to memory as it can often feel very rare and be short lived.
And then it’s fitting to note that you will be constantly interrupted. You will not be able to concentrate when they cry. Their whining will drive you mad. You will have to cut short the things you are doing, like this post, because they are hanging from your knees demanding to be fed and watered.
And of course you when you look at them and they smile at you, you won’t mind any of the difficulties of parenting at all.
I’m linking up with Parenting Pin-It Party because last week I discovered some great (new-to-me) blogs and I’m sure this week there’ll be plenty more!