So here I am. About to dip my toe into the blogpool. What the hell (read ‘heck’ if mild swearwords offend) am I doing? What could I possibly have to say that hasn’t already been said? I’m guessing not a lot. So I have three children. Big deal. Who doesn’t have a clatter of tots trailing after them in Aldi, uprooting the Specialbuys these days? And I’m not the sentimental sort either. My default hard-wiring won’t have me writing deeply emotional pieces lamenting the newborn or documenting the ache of watching your child inch closer towards independence. Don’t get me wrong. I feel the feelings, I just tend not to dwell on them too much. And I struggle to put those feelings into words anyway. I’ll leave that to the proper bloggers, the real writers! I’m more about enjoying the everyday moments. And if one can’t enjoy a particular parenting moment on account of the screaming toddlers or the fighting siblings or the Pritt Stick in the hair, then one can step back, uncork a bottle of red and regard it as a learning experience. So I could probably write something relatable about those moments; the good, the bad and the downright mortifying; the epic parentfails and the rare instances when you, for a fleeting moment, seem to have the parenting game nailed.
We live in Galway City. There could be material in that too perhaps? Surely I could write about parenting in a city, the pros and cons, fun days out, where to breastfeed, parent support groups, the rage-inducing traffic, the moronic parking, the need for wellies on 300 days of the year…
And I have fairly decent knowledge of gin joints, wine bars and the likes. I also have an appreciation of how important both gin and wine are to the experience of the Irish parent, in particular the stay-at-home parent. I cook a lot. I love to eat but my children don’t. Maybe I could blog about cooking for kids who only eat peanut butter and carbs?
And when I think about it, Mr C. and I have experimented with various ‘parenting styles’. (I’m not sure why that term makes me wince, but it does.) We have parented each of our children differently. It wasn’t intentional but we kind of evolve as parents all the time, don’t we? As is the case in most families, our first born was the guinea pig. The buck has turned out alright though. So far. I think. I read any book that was recommended to me and eventually binned all but three. I bottle-fed my first and am now breastfeeding the toddler (though our days are definitely numbered.) The buck rarely shared our bed but the girls co-slept. I’ve spoon-fed and I’ve weaned the ‘baby-led’ way. I’m bonkers about slings and baby-wearing and we try to be ‘gentle’ parents. We even succeed on some occasions. We muddled through on a trial-and-error basis and eventually found a combination of approaches that works for us. (So by that logic, we should yield much better results from the toddler than the others. We’ll see.) In summary, I’m an expert in absolutely nothing but I have a genuine interest in parenting and how approaches, attitudes and trends are ever-changing.
I’ve chosen to take a two-year break from work. I’ve put my career on hold to spend my days in an untidy house with these bounding little energy-suckers. I’ve given myself over to dry-shampoo and trainers, to school runs and toddler mornings. I’ve left a job that I’ve been doing for almost 15 years to do one that throws me new challenges everyday. The struggle is real! I’ll start rolling out the cliches now: It’s a journey and the road is long but the years are short. We are constantly reminded to ‘enjoy them when they are young’, usually by older mothers who are wearing glasses with an extra layer of rose-hued tint, mothers who now enjoy the luxury of sleep. (Yes, they face a different set of parenting obstacles but they get to sleep, so I win.) Deep down I know they are right, though. And if there’s one thing that never ceases to amaze me, it’s the support women will give one another. It takes a village, after all. And in the absence of the neighbourly network of old, we must create our own. Without inspiring, gin-guzzling mom-friends, online forums and local support groups, I would have been pushed right over the edge by now.
I’m exhausted. I want to tear my (thinning) hair out daily. But so does every mom I know so there’s gotta be material in that, right?