We all know parenting is a difficult role. There is no ‘perfect way’ of doing it. You do it as best you know how. I wish children were born with instruction manuals, since they are all so very different. Even siblings, what worked for one, won’t always worked for another. Which is bloody irritating when ‘white noise’ works for both, but one likes it in the form of heavy rain and the other likes it in the form of wind. The forecast for bedtime is always wind and rain, with the occasional spell of ‘screaming’ and ‘child bloody-mindedness’.
When you’re a parent you convince yourself that no-one can do it quite like you do, or at least that’s how I feel. Which isn’t an unfair statement. This leads to a fear of anyone, other than you looking after the children. That no-one looks out for their interests as well as you, that no-one quite cares as much as you. This fear can also lead to anxiety when they are about to be left with a friend or family for a day (so far family has just taken care of our children, I’m sorry friends, I do trust you, I just need to work on my issues).
In all honesty, when you leave your children in the care of family or friends, they will in-fact keep an eye on them more so than you would. Because they aren’t their children, this is a much bigger responsibility, when you’re in the care of someone elses child, someone elses life.
In the early months of motherhood I didn’t want to accept help. I was stubborn in my thoughts that I would be a failure if I accepted any help, if I had a break and also the anxiety that this baby is my everything, as hard as it is, I don’t want anyone else to look after him. This way of thinking not only made my life unnecessarily hard, it also deprived our family of quality bonding time with our child (now children).
I worry every time the grandparents take our toddler out. I worry that they haven’t put his car seat in properly, that he’s not strapped in safely enough, that he will run off into a road, that he’ll be plied with junk food, but he always comes back safely, he also always comes back with a bucket load of toys. I haven’t yet let our baby be taken out but I’m coming to the conclusion that our children are a pair and if you take one, you may as well take both (if you’re brave enough). So watch this space I suppose. They have looked after both children while I go shopping or get a hair cut, have some much deserved and needed ‘me time’.
When I accept help, with anything child related, it means that day is a little easier. No-one judges you for accepting help, no-one will die if left in the care of family or friends. The children may be given an excess amount of crisps, grapes and crackers, but you just have to take that one on the chin. Don’t you remember visiting your grandparents and eating biscuits and chocolate all day?
When I have the house to myself, the quiet is bliss. No Peppa Pig in the background singing annoyingly unforgettable songs, no children banging every, single, thing to test what’s the loudest (turns out the train station is the winner). Things are tidy, clean and once I see the children again I can appreciate all those things that normally irritate me, because I missed them.
Treat your family especially, to some time with you children. Treat yourself to some time with yourself. Everyone benefits, it truly is a win, win.