A hot topic
One of the common discussion topics between parents is about the time they have planned away from their children. You hear it all the time, normally when parents are talking together.
Lots of parents discuss the rough weeks they’ve had and how much they are looking forward to a night off from their parenting duties. It’s all part of surviving parenthood.
Others talk about how they never get a break, and are desperate for time to themselves, whilst some joke about how going to the toilet on their own or managing a shower without ‘visitors’ feels like a holiday.
Do you fall into any of these camps ever, or something else entirely?
It was never going to be easy
I think that some parents forget that we made a conscious decision to have children. We decided that we wanted to be parents, no one forced us.
Of course no one can fully prepare you for what parenthood will be like, but none of us thought it would be easy, surely? Surely parents-to-be don’t honestly think everything will remain the same after a baby, two babies, three babies or more. It can’t, it was never going to be!
I went into motherhood knowing that I would be performing that role without any family support in the same country as me. It’s lovely if parents do have support, but to me you should be able to manage your own children and your own life. We are grown ups after all.
I mean being a parent is hard core isn’t it. It’s relentless and it can be brutal but its also completely awesome. Bottom line, it’s life altering however you look at it, but that’s kind of the point is it not?
Sharing the load
Ideally you’ll share the responsibility of being a parent with another person, but I appreciate that’s not the case for lots of people. These days families come in all shapes and sizes and there are many different arrangements.
Grandparents provide an enormous amount of free childcare in some families. My own grandmother cared for myself and my brother and did all sorts of jobs around the house for my parents. In our situation I’d argue that helped her as much as my parents, as she was busy, felt useful and had an incredible bond with the two of us.
Not everyone has such an arrangement, myself included, which means expensive childcare or rearranging your work arrangements, patterns, or even building a business from home. It’s not easy, and for modern parents this is a huge struggle and source of anxiety.
What happens when you want to go out for the evening?
Babysitter, grandparents, do you take it in turns with your partner?
If a friend or grandparent wants to help you out that’s great. It’s a kind gesture which no doubt is well received, even parents need a break from parenting right?
The problem I feel comes when parents who have regular support start to feel entitled to that support. I overheard a conversation this week when one mum was complaining to the other that her parents had only collected her children from school twice this week and they’d not even done her food shop for her like they normally did! I mean, how rude!
She was complaining that her and her partner had loads of stuff they wanted to do together but they couldn’t because her mum wouldn’t have the children every day!
As parents, we are not entitled to a break, if we get get one then that’s lovely and thank you to whoever has stepped in, but we aren’t entitled. We signed up to this, we chose this route for our lives, so be grateful – there are so many people desperate to be parents who aren’t able to be.
Your children, your responsibility!