I remember the fatigue of being a new parent. The sleepless nights, the clingy babies and toddlers. The tantrums, the horrible, horrible tantrums. We did a decade of this stage through our 3 kids, and it was only recently that things started to “loosen up” in regards to our time.
What I didn’t know, as our independence from our kids started to grown, was that this was only a window of time… only temporary.
You see, Babies are challenging. They exhaust your energies, and create a whole shift of problems.
But eventually babies DO sleep. Eventually they do shut off, and you have a moment of time.
Our kids are now 8, 12, and 14. They are ever present, always there. If they aren’t at home its because we have chauffeured them somewhere, which means we will also need to be available to pick them up again.
Their needs have become more complicated, with so many nuances its difficult to wade through the complexity. They NEED us. They NEED our time, our brains, our hearts and our souls.
We shifted from encouraging natural skill growth in our toddlers to teaching our kids about work ethic and finances. Their conversations have moved from “don’t eat the play doh” to lengthy discussions about their thoughts, feelings, choices and opportunities.
As parents, our window of time has closed. For now. Our opportunity to spend time together has (again) become limited. We are pushing to help our children complete school, find jobs, and develop the skills they need. We are having to become experts in all they things they love, so we can support them, guide them, and maintain a connection with them as they follow their path.
Our time has become restricted yet again, where we squeeze in conversations as the line up of kids waiting to ask questions grows longer and longer. Where we used to have to limit discussions around our kids to “what we are getting them for Christmas” these days we need to edit many more, due to advanced ears and a growing capacity to understand our conversations. Conversations about mortgages, income, relationships, all need an additional level of privacy… some things kids don’t need to know.
Most confusing is that I didn’t know this was coming. People warn you when you have a baby that you will be tired, and isolated. They tell you it gets better, which it does.
But no one warned me that it would get harder again. More difficult to manage, and more important to manage it well.
I know the window will open again…. crack by crack until we have all the time in the world as our kids move off to their own lives. I know this.