As a mum of a now ten year old, I often find myself reassuring new parents and parents of toddlers that it gets easier, in the same way other parents did to me when Erin was little.
When you’re in the thick of it, it’s hard to imagine a time when you won’t be needed so much anymore. We have most certainly reached that point this year, our roles as parents have most certainly changed. We are facilitators now. We help her to do things for herself. We offer guidance, but many decisions are hers to make now.
I am currently moving myself over to this new blog, and part of the process of winding down my old site where I have blogged for ten years is deciding which content I want to keep, and what will go. I came across this post which I wrote when Erin was four, I can hear in my writing that I was experiencing a change then too. It provides a great snap shot I think, of how parenting changes over the years. Here’s the post I wrote just a little over six years ago…
“Erin starts school in August and there’s a sense of change in the air. Thoughts are slowly turning to school uniform and the prospect of whole days, sans child, are looming large. I’ve been a stay at home mum for over four years, by the time Erin is full time at school it will be almost five years since I left my 40 hour a week job. I’ve picked up and dropped a couple of part time jobs along the way but my role has always been that of a full time, stay at home mum to Erin.
It’s been hard.
There was the year living in a top floor flat and getting out for a walk meant scaling four flights of stairs with my completely impractical three wheel buggy. There were the days when I was ill with crohns and felt that I didn’t have the energy to look after myself let alone a small child. There were the days when it was mehanging off Alex’s leg begging him not to go to work. And then there were the tears, because sometimes it’s really hard to just give all of yourself to the pursuit of parenting with little stimulation for yourself. But it’s also been a privilege. I’m aware that I’ve been extraordinarily lucky to have been afforded the time I’ve had with my daughter, time that now it’s almost gone has actually been little more than a blink of the eye. I listened to her first word. I witnessed her first steps. I was there at her first nativity play. I’ve done it all and I have the memories to prove it.
We’ve had to sacrifice this and that along the way to make staying at home work but it’s been worth it. I’m looking forward to being a bit more ‘me’ and a bit less ‘mum’ but I’m sure as quickly as I have that I’ll miss being at home with Erin too because the grass is always greener which is why I intend to fully enjoy these last few months together and make them the best ever, because it won’t be long before I’m waving her off wondering where the baby years went and wishing we could spend long days together playing play-doh, baking and dare I say it watching cbeebies together.”
Six years on and I haven’t hankered after those days much at all. I’ve been too busy crafting, baking, and watching Strictly together. Parenting does change, but each stage is just as enjoyable as the last. I’m embracing the stage we’re at now, while we have less to do practically, in other ways we have a lot to do. From what the other parents are saying to me, that never changes!