I once read something that, in my early days of being a parent, was very much needed for me: You are the best parent for your child.
It was a blog post discussing how only you truly know them and what they need. Their likes, dislikes and so on. That parenting books and those annoying women at the Early Childhood Centre really don’t know what’s best for your child. You do. So take bits and pieces from here and there and do it in your own, unique way.
Do you ever feel that perhaps you AREN’T the best parent for your child? That you yelled too much or didn’t have enough patience? You were too tired to play. You would have preferred they didn’t eat crackers all damn day and no vegies. Do you feel as though you favour one over another at various stages? Do you wish you were one of those people who could let washing and dishes pile up to instead spend time on the floor playing with trucks and dolls? Do you lie in bed at night and go over your day and wish you’d done things differently?
I was a winter person until I had kids. Staunchly winter. Hated summer, the next-to-nothing clothes, humidity at 2am, burnt skin no matter how keenly you apply sunscreen. But now, I love it. During the last week we’ve had a few days of warm sunshine and it feels so good. Gives me hope that there WILL be an end to the runny noses and coughs. Very soon, we’ll get home from work and preschool with sunshine time to spare. Rather than come home to a cold dark house, it’ll be warm. Time for a jump on the trampoline (rather then whine) while I make dinner. Or a quick trip to the rockpool as the sun begins to set.
I guess it has something to do with where we live now. Near the beach instead of the grimey inner west of Sydney. I loved the inner west until it became too noisy, too polluted. The only outdoor space was the park. No private space to for the kids to run around in their undies and play with buckets of water.
I love summer weekends with their early morning visits to the beach, and a repeat performance in the late afternoon. Greasy fish n chips on the sandy grass. Or on the back veranda where there is always cool breeze.
My kids start three days a week of pre-school next week. They’ve been going two days a week since January this year, and now that I’m a more proficient designer, and the work is piling up around us, I need to move to three days. Heck I WANT to start doing three days. Two days aren’t enough time to “own” the job. I’m hoping three are. I love the creativity, the sense of importance, and yes REWARD my job gives me. But! There’s always a BUT! The Mummy Guilt. Oh the Mummy Guilt. Will they be ok? Will they be happy? Will we, as a family, cope with me not at home to do the “home jobs” (I can’t say housework, just can’t). Will it be too much for the Little Man, who is after all only 2 years old? (mind you, he’s the one who runs off happily the moment we arrive and rarely even waves good bye – a good sign – no?)
I love the pre-school they go to. It’s the first of over, gosh, 10 or more I have visited in my short parenting career. And not a single one made me feel happier in my gut than the one they go to now. It’s so busy with activity, so loving, the same teachers are there as the first day they started, they RARELY get sick (unlike the cesspool poor Princess Firecracker attended in Newtown when she was younger. Grrrr.).
I guess the only thing I can do is trust my instincts and be thankful that I am in the glorious position where I don’t HAVE to work for us to make ends meet. We can stop if we need to. I should remember that I am working for the break I need from full time parenting and am unable to get without paying a nanny/daycare. That I am creating a new path for my career – one that fits in with my family. One where, in years to come, I will work from home. I will have the luxury of walking my kids to school and being there when they get home. And those years will be many, many more than the few we navigate through now.
We’re going on holiday tomorrow. Not overseas, heck, not even interstate. Only 5 hours north (ok, double that, we’ll have a 2 and 4 year old with us). And only for 3 nights. But this is the first time the four of us have gone anywhere together on holiday. Very sensibly, we’re holidaying with friends who have kids the same ages as ours.
I attribute the long break between vacations to the last “holiday” we went on as a new family. It was a shock.
You see, the last time we went on holiday Princess Firecracker was 6 months old. It was a post-Christmas NYE holiday. It was set to become a regular feature among our friends until we went and “ruined” it all by having a kid. Quiet naively believing that we could indeed maintain some semblance of a pre-baby life post-baby, we hired a beach house with 8 child-free friends and away we went. Anyone with kids knows that 6 months of age, heck ANY months-of-age, is tricky to travel with kids. Coinciding with what was supposed to be a week of fun was Ivy deciding “no I won’t sleep all night anymore I’m going to wake up. A lot.”
So there we were, totally exhausted, a house full of NYE revellers downstairs, and we’re upstairs trying to get a 6 month old to settle and go to sleeeep, pleeeeease!
It was horrible. So stressful. And we haven’t bothered again until now.
I’m almost packed. We’re leaving at 4am to hopefully get driving done while they sleep. I have snacks. A lot of snacks. I’ve borrowed a 2 screen in car DVD player. Which reminds me, I need to pack the DVDs.
And you know what, if we have to resort to hotcakes or chicken nuggets, we’ll do it. No shame. Whatever works.