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Life Gets Busy with Kids and Work - I Do My Best

By Bianca Wordley - 28th April 2011

I have been thinking a lot about parenting lately. Well, to be honest I was sitting on the toilet and one of my girls walked by and for the first time in ages I took the time to look at her properly.  She looks so tall now and is growing into a young girl. Her long limbs and flowing blonde hair is an indication of things to come.  I’m not sure when she changed from toddler to girl. Had I not noticed the transformation? Have I been too busy? Have I been an absent mother? It’s funny how the idea of parenthood hits you at the strangest times.

I started thinking how much of being a mother or father is active guidance? How much of it is fulfilling daily needs of feeding and clothing? How much of it is leading by example? Do we, as parents, need to schedule regular times to reassess our techniques?

I think it is so easy to slip into the day-to-day demands of life. So many times I have heard myself and other parents say: “I'm just trying to get through the day at the moment. I'm so busy I haven’t even had a chance to scratch myself”.  Those two statements pretty much sum up my life at the moment. With our house on the market, ever increasing demands of owning a small business and intensifying work commitments, our days are a blur. Time is flying by.

My husband and I have become like ships in the night, except we both hate the sea and generally at night we are asleep. So, I suppose we are more like relay runners, just pausing long enough to give each other a quick kiss as we pass the baton of parenting duties to each other. Somewhere in the rush, our shopping gets done, so too does the housework.

The busier our lives have become, the less busy our kids lives have become.  The children’s extra-curricular activities have taken a back seat. There’s been a lot of television, independent craft activities and outside play. With three children under five it’s enough of a juggle without also getting everyone in and out of the car to dancing, the library or playgroup. Just getting through the day can be intensive. I often feel like it’s a tag team – I’m always tag. The kids take turns needing food, nappy changes, clothing and entertainment.  They take turns to have tantrums or grab a cuddle. Somehow in the craziness of daily life it can be possible to forget to actively parent.

I like to think that our kids watching us work at something we love installs in them a sense of 'anything is possible'. That if they work hard, they too can one day pursue what they love - make careers out of it.  That teamwork, support and positivity are all good attributes. That having it all isn’t all its cracked up to be, that sometimes you need to make sacrifices. That life has ups and downs, but if you stick together you can do anything.

When life gets too blurry for us, my husband and I have learnt to stop. We schedule time out. We schedule alone time and couple time. We schedule family time. We take a few days off, turn off our computers, turn off our phones and regroup. We started a small business so we could be more flexible with our time, so we could parent. When we lose sight of that, we are quick to rectify it. We get back to the basics. And while we have clear heads we discuss the children with more clarity, we make sure our parenting styles are in line with each other, that we are heading in the same direction. These moments of reflection are important, but sometimes they are not always possible and the daily grind gets in the way.

So, here’s what I thought when sitting on the toilet, watching my long-limbed, beautiful girl run past the door. My husband and I might be struggling to find enough time to one-on-one parent each of our children as much as we’d like. I might not be mothering as much I should. I might be leaving a bit to circumstance and sprinting along through my day, at times not stopping to fully address each issue, but I am doing my best. My husband is doing his best.  We are not perfect, but who wants that anyway? That's too much pressure.

Our kids know they are safe, they are loved and they know that once things slow down a bit for us that their lives will become busier again.

If someone can tell me what proportion of parenting should be meeting needs, providing positive role models and active guidance, then I’d love to know. In the meantime, I’ll get back to doing what I do best - trying my hardest.

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