As mentioned in the first post, having children was quite a significant event. Not just for me personally but for my husband as well.
We are both introverts. And need time in our own space to feel like ourselves and recharge. It's when I feel most inspired to create and when my best ideas surface. I feel like my head becomes clouded when I haven't had a chance to take a breath. In quiet. In a calm surrounding.
Children require attention. Obviously. You are relied on constantly and can rarely ever switch off. Breakfast needs making, nappies need changing, songs need singing, tears need wiping and reassurance that everything will be OK given on a daily basis.
It's no longer about you but almost completely about the well-being of your little ones.
I knew going into parenthood that it would be somewhat like this. But I guess I didn't realise to what extent. And how physically and mentally drained I would feel at times.
If you're not exhausted from lifting kids constantly, bending down to pick up the collection of food that touched their tongue and didn't suffice, or tidy up the toys for the twentieth time in that day, then you're mentally tired from trying to figure out how to help your little ones manage their fears, self doubt and struggles. And assisting them to become confident and kind little humans.
There is of course the upside. And it easily outweighs the not-so-glamorous side of parenthood.
They open your eyes to something greater. They force you to look beyond your own needs. And challenge you to enter into their world and leave all that messy crap in your head aside.
Parenthood forces you to look at your own behaviour, for it is often mirrored in them. At times you feel like you are a child yourself growing and developing with them. And you question how you are ever going to help your children thrive when you yourself can't seem to get it right.
Some days I beat myself up because I feel I'm failing as a parent. But what I try to remind myself, and admittedly have difficulty in doing so, is that they are creating their own little lives and we don't need to protect them from everything. That gentle encouragement and giving advice when they ask for it is enough.
What I have also learned is that whilst our children need a lot of our attention, so too does the relationship with our partner. It's easy to let time together slide. To give all your affection to your little ones. But it is so important to remind yourself why you made a commitment to one another. And to not always compare what one person does to the other, as it often creates unnecessary anger. It's a team effort. You have to be in it together.
Parenthood is a balancing act in many ways.
It's about finding that sweet spot of having time for your kids, for your partner and for yourself. Each one is as important as the other. But rarely can you give one 100% of your undivided attention. It's more like 80-90% at any one time. Some days it's a mere 25%.
It makes you look at your own parents with empathy. In your twenties you begin to think that they really messed you up and you look at their parenting skills a little cynically. It's not until you become a parent yourself that you realise that the majority of us are doing the best we can given the knowledge and experience we have.
Our kids will no doubt grow up questioning the things we did and decisions we made. But I hope that what I instill in my little ones is empathy themselves. An appreciation of the beauty around them. And a glimmer of excitement and curiosity in their eyes as they explore something greater than themselves.