It’s well documented about the various tasks and responsibilities you will have on your plate as a parent.
Juggling doesn’t even begin to cover it.
Think of a circus performer. They are currently spinning tens of plates, each one slowly lolloping toward obliteration, only for the performer to swoop in and give it extra impetus to carry on for a few more precious seconds. The performer hurries to the next piece of crockery on a one-way mission to dust and again saves it from ceramic heaven. This goes on and on.
Then add a one-man-band kit the performer must play whilst they are attempting to keep the plates spinning.
And all of this is on a tightrope. On fire.
These analogies are pretty accurate, if a tad dramatic. You will need to develop the next stage in evolution to cope calmly with every situation – an eye in the back of your head to maintain vigilance on your wee one. You will go from task to task, trying to sandwich in household duties while keeping your child’s routine pristine. You will do all this simultaneously alongside attempting to keep your partnership with your loved one functioning and not sweep it aside like it is secondary to everything…
Although compared to your kids, it inevitably doesn’t get the attention it deserves so it does lose out.
All of this is done without a rule book, a guide, a helpful source of information you can refer to, in order to check whether you are failing as a parent, just winging it or you are actually doing things correctly.
It leaves you exhausted most days and even the most level-headed of people will feel the same. There is never enough time in the day for everything and your ability to prioritise is key.
Things will fall through the cracks, but it is imperative that those tasks that do drop to the floor can be picked up at a later date.
What is most important though, is that the stresses you have don’t affect your time with your wee one.
As my kids grow and I look back on photos I took just last year, the difference is staggering. It is a constant reminder of how valuable your time is with them. Blink and they’ll be at school. Another blink and they’ll be at that dreaded age where time spent with their parents is about as appealing as an hour in a sauna with Trump and BoJo.
It is so easy to crumple under the weight of responsibility. Currently, with the pandemic and other problems creating a perfect storm, I’m sweating each month about paying bills. When you add into the mix that my youngest needa a new mattress – which are far from cheap – and he is fast outgrowing his car seat, it leaves each day fraught with panic.
If you let it.
You can separate the worry from your time with your kids, and you have to try. It’s a case of worrying about it when it is relevant. There is no point in me stressing when I get home from work – what can I do in the evening hours to help my fiscal situation? Nothing.
When I’m at work, I’ll hustle and do whatever it takes to improve my family’s circumstances, but when I get home, I put the shutters down on the day, lock it up and I am simply daddy. The big guy who plays cars, fetches juice and makes funny sounds with a spoon at dinner time.
Parenting is the hardest task you’ll have – but by far the most rewarding. Cut yourself some slack. You’re doing fine and that part about priorities? As long as your little one is top of the list, that is probably the best advice anyone could give – and it means you’re doing things 100% correctly.