This is an area that I have found has it’s pros and cons and an area that has definitely been and still is very much a learning curve for me.
Pros are obviously endless and we probably don’t even know the effects that children being brought up by both their mum and their dad 24/7 would have. Even if it is just for this year.
Dads interact differently with their children and I would encourage everyone who is a parent or due to become a parent to watch “The Biology of Dads“. Such an enlightening look at the role dads play on a child’s relationship. They are risk takers, they teach kids boundaries and push their boundaries more. They use a very different language and they are often harder on the disciplining.
Our girls have someone listening to them all day. There is always one of us available to listen to them and respond to them throughout the day. This helps their learning having their questions answered. There is always someone there to help them up a step, read them a book when they want it and pretty much give them love all day long.
There are of course some down sides to having us on tap.
They do expect someone to play with them whenever they want or need it. We are on tap for them. I think winter doesn’t help this situation. But they like to play with mum and dad. All kids do. So when we are sitting right next to them, of course they would rather we played a game with them rather than them playing on their own. In this respect, they do not have too much time playing on their own, there is always someone in their space. I can imagine in summer this will definitely change as we will be outside more but for now this is the way we have to be.
For a while I had to go through telling myself “my way is not the only way”. Who am I kidding, that is still the case now and probably will be until we are old and grey. But from being home with the kids for 2 ½ years, I had my routines and there were thing me and the kids did that worked. But Nic has just as many things that he does and of course the kids would survive and flourish if he was doing it on his on, it may not be my way but it would still work. So I find every day, I have to try and hold myself back and let Nic do things how he wants with the girls. All day long Nic pushes the boundries with the girls, takes them to the edge and I’m on the sideline saying “too fast”, “not so close”, “be careful”; wrestles with them when it’s time to start settling down ready for bed; He stirs them up, when they are not in the mood for something he just pushes their buttons for a reaction. This is an area that I remember very clearly in my childhood and still to this day my dad loves to push our buttons. It would wind us up so much. I am wondering now if it is all part of a dad’s role or whether I am just very sensitive to it when I see Nic do it to the girls. Frankie especially is a very sensitive soul who needs careful treading – again, mum’s perspective!
When it’s full time shared parenting, its full time shared ideas on what your children need, how they should be raised and what it is they are wanting when they can’t communicate and just scream. Not to mention it feels like our whole day is just each of us asking the other one for something for the kids. “Can you pass me this”, “can you do that”, “I’ll do this while you do that”.
Now I don’t want this whole blog to sound pessimistic about life as life is an absolute blast. This blog is just solely focusing on the ins and outs of parenting, not the fun at the park, bush walks, listening to your kids stories and watching your kids walk hand in hand for the first time (MELT!!) type activities.
So another pro is that it is always a job halved. As a new parent, I always remember my first year, I have never ever doubted and questioned myself as much in my life as that first year of working it all out. Is that right? Did I do that wrong? Maybe I should have done this instead? Should I leave them to cry longer? Should I have said no? Was that too harsh? Now that there are two of us, I always have a fall back, someone to run things by or just someone to support decisions that you make all day long. And that is an amazing feeling and something that is so important in parenting and something in my experience I think for a mother is really hard in that first year especially.
In writing all this I have to acknowledge all single parents out there and I have to say that I have the utmost respect for you all. What an epic job you do!!!! I cannot imagine not having the support that I have even when Nic was working. Though now, after having lived like this for a few months. I am already a little scared of the thought of going back to parenting on my own while Nic is at work all day again (though it might be me going back to work after this, who knows). I can’t imagine doing it now and I don’t know how I did it before alongside the endless number of other things we had going on in our life. I guess that’s just kids though. They just make you step up and do what you need to do. Kids are great for that so I think everyone who is a parent whether a single parent, a parent with one child or a parent with 6 children, acknowledge yourself in what an epic job you are doing in pulling it off and raising your child to the best that YOU can do based on YOUR situation and not anyone else’s. All mums and dads are so amazing in what they do daily and give so selflessly for their children and the blood sweat and tears they put in to look after their child and try to make that child be the best they can. Respect to you all because it is really hard work!!! Such hard work but so infinitely rewarding to see them grow and develop into little beings and find their place in this big wide world of experiences and opportunities.