So we all know parenting is hard, any reader of any parenting blog will know, as will any parent. People have made money telling you just how hard it is to be a parent or how you could make it easier. Make no mistake I certainly fall into the ‘it’s bloody impossible at times category’, but I have been thinking lately, what is it about trying to raise my one and two year old into decent human beings that I find so hard?
You see, I was talking to my mother in law recently, about her mother. Her mother had an eye watering six children, during the war. Her husband was off serving his country whilst she remained home, alone, in Birmingham to raise six children. In a house that was bombed to the ground, twice. I can’t even satisfy two miserable mouths, but imagine trying to cook for six, on rations, amidst having to nip down to the air raid shelter with 6 children. You think you can’t get a coat on your little one, try a bloody gas mask x 6.
Then there was my mother in law herself, she had two children in 13 months, I had two in 11, not that it’s a competition. Anyway in her day, she didn’t drive, she didn’t have her fancy tandem pushchair that I have to cart her offspring around. She lived away from family and out of town. What the hell did she do? I lived out of town for 11 months before I moved us all back to within walking distance for the sake of the my sanity. There was no online shopping to bring your food to your door. No kids club, soft play or season tickets to Drayton Manor. Instead it was Reusable nappies with a pin (not the kind we know today) and a fire or electric blowers for heat, not a smart meter in sight.
Then there was my mum. She had three children, one who was severely disabled and one with learning difficulties. She wasn’t a single parent on paper but in reality she was. She also didn’t drive, didn’t have the internet, and as the years went by was without friends for moral support. She raised a newborn for 18 years and got nothing back, apart from 2 heart attacks and a breakdown in health. Now that was hard.
So then there is little old me, with my two in eleven months. Me, who does everything for an easy life, if it rains I load the kids into the estate with their bloody isofix seats and we drive to somewhere dry, convenient and entertaining. When I can’t think of another varied yet wholesome lunch to give them, we go out. My shopping is brought to the door. I can run large part of our administrative crap from my fingertips. My house remains up right (centrally heated) and not under threat of being blown to the ground. I have two, recently declared, healthy children who don’t want for anything, so why do I find it so hard?
Am I missing the maternal gene?
Am I missing the patience gene?
Am I missing the enthusiasm for nursery rhymes over and over again gene?
Make no mistake, my children are so very wanted and so very loved and it is not hard all day everyday. Yet, when it is hard, boy is it hard, but why?
Is it the demand on my time, that every waking second of the hours of 7-7 is dedicated to two others? Possibly, but I happily give it to them. Is it the effect on my bank balance? Possibly, but money can’t buy what my two little terrors do for me. Is it the curtailing of my freedom to do what, and go where, I want? Possibly but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere where my babies aren’t.
I suspect it is a bit of all of the above and then some, but as hard as I find it, Blitzkrieg or not, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So I guess my point is this, whatever your situation, no matter how something looks on paper, if you find it hard, then it is hard. It is ok to find it hard and to do whatever the hell you can to make things a little easier on yourself. Let’s cut ourselves a bit of slack, things may be easier than our ancestors had it, but then they had it easier then their ancestors (thanks Jenner and your Petri dish of mould) and no doubt our grandchildren will have it easier than us. That doesn’t however make it easy.