Davina here - You may have noticed that I have not been posting much lately. Well when I say lately I really mean for the last 9 months since Bonnie was born and in particular over the school holidays during which I’ve had both girls full time.. The main reason for the lack of posts is of course time. I have none. Or at least none to myself except for that drizzly evening time when all my energy disperses like rain drops from a cloud and I am left empty and craving chocolate and TV. I know it’s not good for me I know I should be using that time wisely and pursuing my interests and blogging but I am just too tired most evenings and I have been taking our own advice and listening to my body (although I’m not suite sure my body is right with the chocolate addiction! I’ll work on replacing that sugar hit with something healthier!)
I have been feeling a lot of guilt about not blogging enough but the truth is even if I did have time I feel I don’t have much to share as so much of my time is taken up with the practicalities of parenting - getting kids from A-B, feeding them, resting them, cleaning them, dressing them - you know the list goes on and they both have such different demands and needs that its all consuming. And of course in many ways thats the easy practical stuff; the true parenting and energy consuming bits are the nurturing and playing with and at times dealing with challenging behaviour and difficult emotions.
The other day I was talking to Hannah about all of this; about how overwhelming I was finding parenting two and was expressing how much I want to start making more seasonal inspired crafts and do seasonal activities like she does but how I don’t know how to find time. She said something really relevant - that I am in a season of intense parenting and that’s ok, something to be celebrated in fact, and that I should talk about that.
This concept of a Season of Parenting really struck me. It made my think about this time in my life in a very different way and I thought it would be helpful to share this with you incase any of you are going through the same as me; struggling with the fact that you can’t do much else other than parent.
The first thing that struck me about it was a strong realisation that if parenting young children is a season it is not forever - that it will slowly morph into another season as summer does into Autumn. This is important because it helps me remember how short-lived this time is and how I must try to enjoy it as much as I can because before I know it they will be big and not want me to cuddle them when they fall over.
Grow a Child like you would grow a Vegetable
The second idea that I found useful was thinking of a season of parenting like a season of growing any vegetable or fruit - this may sound strange but hear me out. Vegetables and fruits need firstly to be planted as a seed, they need to be planted somewhere where there is a good foundation of soil and sunlight and watered regularly and of course in the end harvested and enjoyed. If we translate this into a season of parenting than we need to:
- Plant Seeds - well this can be seen as conceiving our children or we can look at it more metaphorically as planting seeds of ideas, values and beliefs in our children for their future lives. I really like this idea and it makes me want to talk to my husband in more depth about what seeds we are choosing to plant.
- Choose a good Foundation - Like plants need good soil children need a secure functioning home that provides as much nutrients as possible - we all need to keep on adding compost to their soil otherwise it risks going stale.
- Provide Sunshine- Vegetables can’t grow without sunlight and neither can children - This can be interpreted in two ways - one simple but oh so important - get them outside in the sun shine!!! Give them fresh air - we need it too - and I often forget and spend the whole day inside. Another way to provide sunshine is to provide moments of joy. Simple ones - they don’t need to cost anything. Sometimes I find myself going through the day and not having really had a joyful moment with one or both of my daughters - even if its only for 5 minutes tickle them alive or dance with the or so whatever you know breams a smile to their faces and to yours.
- Water Regularly by feeding them good food and you too so you can look after them well.
- Harvest - Reap the reward for all your hard work and enjoy your children as you enjoy watching them grow and turn into adults with hints of the seeds you planted showing and plenty of sunshine in their lives.
When I look at this I know how much I am dong and what an unbelievable job it is to parent and it makes me feel less guilty about doing less of everything else. It is but for a short time.
I am writing this as Bonnie is with her childminder for the first time settling in. Its the first time I have had to myself during the day (when I am not exhausted at night time) for over nine months. It feels good. It feels good to reflect and have a break from it all but motivational at the same time.
I am feeling better about the season I’m in, embracing it in fact, but that means I may not be around here quite as much as I’d like to be. Now Bonnie has started a little bit of childcare we’ll see how that goes; I may be able to blog a bit more. Here’s hoping!
Have any of you had a season of intense all consuming parenting? How did you get through it? How did you make time for yourself?