School is back. With it comes early wake up calls, washing uniforms, lost pencils, homework, afterschool activities and daily collections. Routine is back. The summer was fun but I’m ok with school being back. We’re back in the rhythm already and it’s been less than a week. Christmas will come in a blur.
I’ve always known I wanted children. I don’t think it was even a decision. Some biological imperative deep inside meant that I never had to put much thought into it. I never really had to make a decision. If you were to fully analyse whether or not to have children you might well decide not to.
We give our best years to our children. We give the best of ourselves. It is a role that never stops. We act as teachers, nurses, friends and disciplinarians. I can’t think of any other role that requires so many skills. We make decisions regularly that we know will affect them for the rest of their lives. That’s C.E.O. levels of pressure. Some simple decisions like food and exercise, others more tricky like vaccinations (which are vital) or what age they get a phone.
Most of us were never trained for this. We just have to do our best, and pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off when we get it wrong. The great David Carey gave the best advice I’ve ever heard as a parent. ‘You just have to be good enough’. Not every day will run smoothly. We have made mistakes and will make more. Beating ourselves up over errors serves no purpose. We are all learning all the time. ‘Good enough’ gets better all the time.
I’m very glad to be a parent. I don’t miss the nights out or lazy days half as much as I would have reckoned if I ever did analyse whether or not to have children. Biology knew more than I did. These years are a privilege. Down time with the kids is now the most fun I can think of. It would be nice if time slowed down a little though.
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