Normal service is resuming here on the blog. My power is slowly returning after being sapped in the summer break. Now that it’s October, my holiday to France back in August seems like a lifetime ago, which is essentially what the previous month feels like when you get to my age. My holiday was with my family, and by ‘family’ I mean my husband, the kid, my parents, two older siblings, their respective husband, wife and kids (fourteen of us in total), not many people can say they’d holiday in such a way. It would, I imagine drive some of you bananas but we all get along really well (read as, not in a Waltons-esque way, but we all like a good laugh and a considerable amount of vino). I’ve written two previous posts about our holidays together but this time, having done an epic drive to and from France a few times now, I wanted to write about how we get through it semi-unscathed with the kid in tow.
Chatting to another mum in the park recently, we both recognised that we have already started to hear other children (generally older) telling our daughters ‘no’. Little things like, you can’t come on the slide because ‘you’re a baby’ or ‘no you can’t play with us’. It seems that meanness starts to creep in, even at such a young age. Both my friend and I agreed of the importance of trying to raise our girls to be ‘strong’. And by strong, I don’t mean so that my daughter can physically fight back, windmill arms style (although occasionally this might be needed, see later point below), I mean that I want her to be able to stand up for herself, know when people are being mean or unfair and be able to hold her own.
I won’t lie. I’m having a bit of a hard time with the small person at the moment. Another ‘phase’ has crept up on me and it doesn’t seem to be passing anytime soon. The terrible twos were tough (which started before the kid turned two by the way) and now we’ve progressed into the threenager stage, which I thought was a myth damnit. This new phase is making me question everything that I’m doing as a parent. My emotions are taking a bit of a battering. It’s safe to say that this is without a doubt, the hardest leap so far.
I’m into week two of the Easter Holidays and boy, am I finding it a little on the difficult side. See, the kids nursery stops for the holidays so that’s me out of my lovely day and a half that I have to myself and I’m not afraid to admit that I’ve found it really tough. That day and a half is when I ‘get shit done’. I write, I edit, I surf the net, I waste time on social media (obvs) I do admin, house-min and most importantly get the chance to sit in a coffee shop uninterrupted. It’s much needed time away from my sidekick, as much as I love her. She’s full speed my daughter, a bruiser in a princess dress, a Duracell bunny, she’s all go and no, I wouldn’t have her any other way, but as we sidled into week two of the break, because she’s with me with 24/7, I’ve been reminded how incredibly moany, whiney, and three year old-esque she is. My patience has worn thin. I’ve uttered more empty threats in the last few days than I have in the last year. The only thing that has been giving me comfort is the amount of other parents I’ve seen muttering and shouting at their own children to, ‘WILL YOU JUST LISTEN!’. Thank god it’s not just me.
When you have a child, you get told so much. Oh my, so much information is thrown at you, either by yourself from reading books and online, or by professionals, friends, family and strangers. Everyone wants to reveal their tips and tricks to you. You get told how amazing it is, how exhausting you will find it, how babies are hard work, how times flies and how much they change. You get warned about the body changes, the sagging boobs and the slight potential change to the, erm, downstairs department and you get told about the stretch marks, but does anyone ever tell you about, ‘the fear?’ Let me just explain what I mean (sidenote: there’s no dramatic music when saying the words, the fear, although you can create if you want) I’m talking about that overactive imagination that kicks into gear as you’re trying to sleep at night, creating horrible scenarios from harmless activities or days out. Scenes are replayed in your head with alternative, horror endings. It’s all just tricks of the mind of course, but this parental fear wasn’t something I was prepared for when I became a mum.