Thursday, 11 October 2012

The different parts of parenting

We live on an interesting part of our street.  Our little block only has about a dozen houses, two seniors apartment buildings, and one seniors residence.  Only one other house has children - a little boy less than two years old.  So our little white house bursting with children and noise is pretty unique here.

On one side of our house lives an elderly woman, widowed for over 40 years and who never had children.  On the other side lives a young 20-something bachelor fireman.  And us, smack in the middle with three rowdy boys and a newborn baby.

We're in and out of the house a lot, so we're quiet visible.  We love to play out in the backyard, and we don't have one of those massive 8 foot fences, so our playtime is open for all to see.  Yesterday I was thinking about all the times we're outside, when I'm running around with the boys playing hide and seek or soccer or tag.  Our young neighbour with no kids always smiles when he sees the fun we're having.

Then, every day at 3:40, I pack up Benjamin and Juliette and go down to pick up the older two from the bus stop.  Our neighbour often sees us doing that, also.  And it suddenly occurred to me that for all the fun people see us having with children, or for all the massive moments where it seems things fail, there are many, many, many tasks that are just about the responsibility of being a parent.  Boring, mundane things like picking them up from the bus.  It made me wonder about our neighbour's (probably) mostly carefree life.  Can I remember back to that time?  When life was mostly just about me.  When I worked to put a roof over just my head, when a work day over meant play time, when weekends meant going out with friends if I wanted, or staying in for time alone.  James and I were the first in our friends and family to have children, so I never really had a moment to observe parenting from a young adult's perspective.  But I tell ya, I don't think I ever considered the many different parts of parenting.

Interesting to do so now, in perspective, especially being that it's my full time job.  I've been thinking lots lately about how to fix things I'm not happy with.  How to tackle problems instead of just living with them (and complaining about them.)  I have a new "take action" attitude.  And this type of action requires analysis first.  What's not working?  Why?  What can I do about it?  What will help me get it to where I want it to be?  It's an interesting exercise to do this with parenting, because usually being a mom is all wrapped up in one huge experience.  I don't know that I've ever parsed it out like this before.

(more thoughts to come.  Sorry for this real-life parenting interruption!)

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