Thursday, 19 June 2014

On what my children teach me

Very close friends of ours have recently had a baby. Due to circumstances they came to parenting late and it is very moving to see them welcome their baby boy into their lives. It is also interesting to watch from a distance - as opposed to being in the middle of things myself - just how profoundly a baby changes a couple's life.

At the weekend we met up with man J who had taken baby S with him to give lady S some much needed peace and quiet. He came pushing a pram, carrying a baby bag (stuffed to the brim with the usual goodies: nappies, arse-wipes, bottles, cloths and whatnot) and sporting a complicated looking contraption called a Baby Bjorn baby carrier. But the beauty of it was: he came wearing a smile. Baby S had taken over his life, but J was taking it all in his stride.

Witnessing all of this made me think back to how it was for M and I. The hectic years of babies and toddlers. The round-the-clock care. The comforting and nurturing. The sleepless nights. The lack of social lives. But I also began to think about what my children have taught me over the years.  Here's what I came up with:

Selflessness: Before I had children, it was pretty much all about me. When I felt like eating, I ate; when I felt like sleeping, I slept; when I felt like going out, I went out. Having children has taught me to put someone else's needs before my own, even if it's not convenient. The thing here though, is to find balance in order to avoid feeling depleted.  That is something I'm still working on.

Letting go in various forms: Letting go of constant worry (about the children!), letting go of wanting something to go my way (plans are often thwarted by children), and letting go of the idea that I can be in control of everything (I just can't ).

Flexibility:  Learning to go with the flow of life and playing things by ear. Very difficult for people like me who were control-freaks in their pre-kid days.

Patience: Boy, do kids teach you patience! You may want to get on with things... but does your toddler when they're examining a flower on the way to the supermarket? Someone I knew before I had children was extremely patient with her child and when I questioned her about it she said: "Hurrying kids along has the opposite effect. I have simply resolved never to be in a hurry, period." 

Much like these swan parents, perhaps...


  1. Love this post Isabelle. Sometimes I resent the selflessness aspect and need to claw back some 'me' time. I agree that's what balance is all about and my kids are old enough now to respect that. As for letting go? Well....I am still that control freak haha (hmmm funny how that Frozen song is now my daily earworn...let it go)

  2. Hey Isabelle,
    words of wisdom there! I am always struck by just at that moment when I think I've cracked this parenting lark, something bites me on the arse to remind me that no, I haven't!!
    Thank you for your kinds comments on my blog. I am having a look through yours at the mo. Lovely.
    Leanne xx


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