I was thinking about being a parent as I was convincing my young son to clean up his room. (Alright we were having one of those discussions, the ones that end up with him wanting my partner there, because I was not the soft lovable push over he thought I should be).
For me it’s harder knowing what is a parent, I’ve been without my Mum for fifteen years and my Dad for ten years. And in that time, I became a parent. Right at the end of their lives, I had taken over, with the help of some of my siblings, the care of my parents as they fought their individual battles with cancer.
But parenting an elderly sick parent, is completely different from that of a young newborn, or a toddler, a preschooler, or a child at school. And I had no idea there at the beginning when I brought my young babe home. Together my partner and I surfed the highs and lows of sleepless nights, breastfeeding dramas, a crying baby who suffered through intolerances, all of this we did alone.
There was no support network, and no Mum on the end of the telephone to reassure or provide some advice. So learning how to be a parent for me was through trial and error. I read books, asked a variety of friends with children what worked for them, and talked extensively with my partner.
I would look enviously at those folk who had parents who would step in and take over when all you needed was a few hours sleep
And wonder how much easier parenting would be if you had parents who were handy, who could step in, who had been through it all before, and so were old hands at this parenting lark.
But I can say now, from the heady heights of six years on, it’s been such an enriching experience for us all. For my partner it’s led him into a new career, and for me, it’s made me realise how short a time we have with those we love. And I love being a mum, if you’d asked me when I was at highschool and through my twenties, there was no way I was going to be a mum. But then in my late thirties I had the good fortune to meet and fall in love with my partner. And things changed. For the better. I also took the plunge into becoming a mum, well after my own mum and dad had left this mortal world. This was the bravest and scariest decision I have ever made. It paid off with me meeting the very special child who came to live with us. And changed us from a couple to a family. He has changed forever how I view my own parents, and how I view the world.