18 September 2018

The End Of A Parenting Era

I realised the other day, rather randomly while shopping for tights for Lottie, that we have all of a sudden moved on to the next stage of parenting. Time is quite simply flying by. Ellie and Phoebe are now at school and Lottie is in her preschool year at playgroup before joining them next year, its a total cliche but where DOES the time go?! The baby and toddler days are behind us and I have hardly even noticed. I thought it would be something I would grieve, but the trade off of things finally feeling that little bit easier far outweighs any sadness I feel about reaching this 'end of an era' milestone.

our girls are growing up and we are leaving the baby and toddler days behind

A pair of tights might seem like a funny trigger for this realisation but looking for age 3-4 tights meant that we had no need to go into the baby section of all the usual stores for the first time in nearly 7 years. We've also barely used the pushchair recently, except as a bit of a donkey on our days out to carry picnics, coats and spare clothes and have no real need for it other than that. I also very seldom have a child on my hip these days... Lottie still likes to be carried occasionally when she is tired but it's definitely becoming a rarity, I often wonder when the last time will be. 

Other than the tights we just bought and buttons or buckles, Lottie can almost dress herself like her big sisters do which is quite liberating given that not so long ago we used to have to physically dress all three of them. We are a nappy free household after Lottie potty trained earlier in the year, the beakers in the cupboard haven't been used in ages as they all drink from a regular cup and I have a large pile of outgrown clothes in the corner of my bedroom. When I eventually organise myself there will be very little traces that we ever had babies in the house apart from the three little girls they have grown in to and two slightly jaded parents who are still recovering from all the lack of sleep! 

Watching my family and friends with their babies and remembering how tiring and intense those early years can be, has made me reflect upon the fact that we are coming out the other side and I'm now able to sit back a bit and watch the girls from afar as they are more independent. I even manage a hot cup of tea and 2 minutes to myself and I'm really grateful for that. Anyone who knows me knows that I love the baby days, those early years are full of such magic, but also very hard, overwhelming and all consuming at times. I've had pangs of broodiness but I am able to rationalise them... I really don't think I could take any more sleepless nights! 

I've also been MIA for a number of years when it comes to socialising and keeping up friendships and I'm really sorry if those around me have ever felt a little neglected, but raising these girls of mine, at one point three under 4, has taken everything I have. Couple that with working and trying to be a half decent wife, sister and daughter, capacity for much else been minimal! I am always here for you even if it takes me 3 days to reply to a message and now that I'm emerging from this stage of life and finally clawing back a bit of time for myself I'm going to make a conscious effort to ensure there is more of me to go around. 

This next stage of parenting we have found ourselves in is still very intense and full on, just in a different way. The girls still need us and we continue our roles as chef, nurse, maid, taxi driver and PA!  There are now busy schedules of birthday parties and after school clubs, reading and homework - supporting them emotionally as they navigate the world and just teaching them to be good humans. Learning to crawl and walk have been replaced by learning to ride bikes and to read and write and we find ourselves feeling prouder and prouder with every day, not only of the girls, but of ourselves as parents. Rather than being sad that this stage is over we have found ourselves enjoying watching our babies grow as they spread their little wings and it feels like all our hard work is paying off. We have wholeheartedly thrown ourselves into parenting our girls, they are our whole world and if this stage we are leaving behind has taught us anything it's that every long day, challenge and sacrifice is so very worth it. 

Me x

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