Parenting. It’s a full-time job (make that 24/7) and sometimes it can feel like there are no benefits. No financial pay. No annual leave. No sick leave. When you become a parent you can expect to have no more days off and you don’t have the ‘luxury’ of being ill. Nappies still need changing, laundry still needs washing, meals still need preparing, regardless of whether or not they actually get eaten. And you can wave goodbye to lie-ins.
When you’re tired and overwhelmed it can be easy to focus on the negatives. When the good moods are few and far between and you’re drowning in a sea of tantrums, fussy eating and a newfound hatred of bath time, it’s easy to grow resentful.
Fortunately, for me, it’s about quality rather than quantity, so ten minutes of cuddles before bed can make up for an entire day of tears (his, not mine. Most of the time…), throwing toys around and a flat-out refusal to do what he’s told.
There are those super-cute moments which make all the hard ones worthwhile. Like when I get a call at work with the kid screaming down the phone for me and I can’t do anything to help. But when I walk through the door he comes running at me, yelling “Mummy, cuddles!”.
Or when I attempt a coffee outside the house and he just won’t sit still but he makes friends with a dog and everyone thinks he’s adorable.
There are so many moments of pride – and sometimes they come as a complete surprise. Like when he’s playing with his toys and randomly starts lining them up to count them and I realise that he can count to ten by himself.
Or when he gets excited to see his older cousin and starts calling his name before we even get through the front door – and hugs him goodbye – when, until recently, he wouldn’t play nicely with him.
A lot of parenting is about learning to make it through the hard times – the broken sleep, the colic, the teething, settling in at nursery – but the unconditional love certainly makes it all worthwhile.