The Importance of Play for Children

Parenthood! It’s not all bad

congratulationsI was reading a post that has stated that they have heard so many bad things about having a baby. As someone who was pregnant, this had lead to them being worried and confused about why people had more than one if it’s all so horrible.

This really interested me for two reasons.

First reason, it is the complete reverse of my experience. When I was pregnant I was constantly bombarded with information about how wonderful and natural the whole thing was.

Secondly, why is the all the information we possess all so one-sided? As a mum of a toddler, I can now see good and bad parts. Yes, my son can be a nightmare but he can also be really sweet.

I can see why people stop at one but I can also understand why they don’t.

The Good

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My son is growing up really fast now, he always amazes me with everything he knows. He is a sponge for knowledge and he always wants to know everything. He isn’t content just knowing a little bit he wants to know the ins and outs. He has such an inquisitive mind.

He is also has a very strong sense of right and wrong, he isn’t afraid to speak out against the things he perceives as injustice. It’s no surprise really that he absolutely adores superheroes and the police.

He is also incredibly kind and thoughtful about those he cares about. Not so much about strangers, but if you are a special person to him he will look after you and will always check in to make sure you are ok.

He is also really funny, he is always making me laugh. This is probably the thing I love the most about this age, it’s just hilarious and it definitely helps make the bad stuff less bad.

The Bad

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My son has a temper if he perceives something as an injustice, and after pointing it out nothing changes immediately, you stand a very good chance of witnessing one of his tantrums. He is very good at tantrums and he can keep them going for quite a while.

He is also very quick to dismiss the feelings those that he does not know well or are not on his exclusive list of favourite people. He still has not developed the ability to think outside of his little world, but this isn’t unusual for his age.

He also can be quite stubborn and if he really doesn’t want to do something it can lead to a lot of tantrums, negotiating, and bribing. This is almost guaranteed to happen when you really don’t have the time.

The Ugly

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There are many ugly moments in parenting, the most often is all of the bodily fluids. My son has covered me in absolutely everything. Its kind of got to a point where it is almost normal to be scrubbing {insert bodily fluid here} off of the {insert place bodily fluid should not be}.

There is also the changes that happen within you. I have touched on this before, whilst I have noticed a lot of positive changes, there are also plenty of negative. I find myself questioning things that I never thought I would question.

There is also the whole guilt associated with parenting. It seems that no matter what you do or how you do it, there will always be a level of guilt that comes with parenting. It could be around work, what you feed them, what you do with them. I’m no different, I have felt a lot of guilt around my son.

However, for me, the ugliest part of parenting is the mum shaming (dad/ parent shaming). At a time when people are already feeling unsure/ vulnerable/ desperate, why do we feel the need to make them feel even worse by ripping them apart? You do not have to agree with someone but you also don’t have to put them down. Unless someone is doing something very harmful/ dangerous/ abusive then just leave them to parent how they want. Not your circus, not your monkeys.

My honest assessment

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Parenting is the hardest but most rewarding thing I have ever had to do. It is a constant battle between everything that is brilliant and everything that is bad.

My son has given me a purpose, a focus, something to fight for. However, he has also caused me a whole amount of stress. Put a strain on a number of relationships, and (at times) financially crippled me.

I still love him, I wouldn’t be without him. However, there are times when I haven’t liked him. Where I have almost mourned my childfree life. Having a child is confusing, it turns your whole world upside down and nothing makes sense, not even your feelings.

Nothing can prepare you

Parenting is nothing like I imagined. I knew it would be tough, I knew it meant less time and sleep. I knew things like weaning and teething would be difficult. I knew children could also bring joy, they could be sweet and funny.

However I didn’t appreciate how individual babies could be, I did realise how unpredictable they could be. I didn’t know how demanding they could be.

I also didn’t realise how much having a child would affect me. I am not the parent I thought I would be. I’m not the person I used to me. I do not recognise my pre-child self, that person has gone.

In some ways, I have turned into the person my son needs. He needs me to be strong, he needs me to be confident, he needs me to be selfless, he needs me to be nurturing.

I think this quote explains it perfectly.

There are times as a parent when you realize that your job is not to be the parent you always imagined you’d be, the parent you always wished you had. Your job is to be the parent your child needs, given the particulars of his or her own life and nature. – Ayelet Waldman

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