First published Feb 23rd, 2017
I’ve been driving just a few more month than I’ve been parenting. In both cases I still at times end up being lost, in a tight space or generally feeling I’m not very good at either things.
Sometimes I find parenting to be a lot like driving.
A few weeks ago I attempted a car journey on my own into Edinburgh, well my destination was not ‘into’ Edinburgh city but nearby, but me being me, I ended up getting nearer and nearer and nearer to said city. Anyone who has being to Edinburgh city by car in the last few years will know it is not somewhere you want to be driving unless that is where you are meant to be going! So I kept having to find a place to park (that I could easily get out of again) and look up my destination and off I would go again only to miss the street I needed. This went on for a while until finally I got to my destination and found somewhere to park and that was me. Or so I thought…
The time came for me to go home and as I walked to the place where I had parked the car my heart began to sank. I was (so I thought) blocked in, there was no way I was ever going to get the car out of that space! Thankfully for me a friend came to the rescue and was able to reverse the car up the street and turn it around for me and off I went home without getting lost!
Last week, as a family, we made two long journeys – 480ish miles each way – that were quite different to each other.
On the way down we made it quite quickly and easily, on the way home a lot of the journey had to be done in the restricted 50 miles per hour traffic. We persevered and were almost home when we saw the dreaded sign ‘Bridge ahead closed’! Thankfully, it wasn’t a long detour but we were tired and I had to stop and ask Colin to take over the driving as I find driving in the dark hard work.
Parenting for me has been much the same as my driving a lot of the times.
I often get lost in what I’m trying to do, I get lost not making the right priorities for my family and I. I get lost trying to follow other people’s expectations, I get lost looking at other people’s parenting skills, I get lost in my dreams of being the perfect mum when in reality there is no such thing!
There have been and I’m sure will continue to be a lot of times in parenting when I’m caught in a tight spot, a space where I think I’ll never get out of. Times when I feel like I’m failing at being a mum, failing at being a wife and failing at being a friend. In those times it is a family member or a friend that comes along side me and reminds me of the important things in life. Someone who comes along side me and offers to tidy up or play with the children while Colin and I can get some ‘us’ time or get some cleaning done. Or at times someone has to do the parenting for me while I have a meltdown for a few moments and then feel better for it.
They say that ‘the days are long and the years are short’ and that is true but in those times when the days are endless and all I want to do is put the kids in bed at 4 in the afternoon, those times are when I need someone to take over. In those dark long days I need to remember that I am not alone, I need to ask for help and I need to give myself a break.
There are times when I think we’ve finally got this parenting thing worked out when things change and we have to take a different route and learn a whole new set of emotions, ways of doing things.
But the thing to remember is that like all my journeys so far when I’ve been driving, I’ve made it home. Parenting changes and we have to adapt as our children grow and as they change. It’s not a one way street it is a journey that goes on through speed bumps and 20 miles per hour zones, through the day and through the night.
Life is precious, our children are precious, let’s remember to keep going and not be frightened to ask for help and to treasure the days for the years are very short.