When Mums Magazine asked me to reflect on my experience as a Mama to three girls for International Day of Parents, I thought about everything I’ve learnt since becoming a parent, from the first “how to bath a baby” days, right through to the “how to get three children into three different car seats, without anyone getting run over or being half an hour late to wherever you were going” days of my current parenting life.
Becoming a parent teaches you so much about yourself and the skills you didn’t realise you had, like discovering your hidden talents as a packhorse. Carrying a baby in a sling, pushing a toddler in the stroller with one hand and carrying the scooter your four year old swore they would ride “the whole way” in the other hand, might have seemed a challenge before having children, now it’s just a regular shopping trip.
The list of tasks I can perform with only one hand has massively increased as well. Open a packet of biscuits while holding a baby? No problem. Put a dress on a dolly while still brushing someone else’s hair? Easy. And while I’m pretty sure, even though we’ve had three daughters, my husband still finds dressing a baby in anything with buttons more frustrating than doing his tax return, there isn’t a button, press stud or hook and eye closure I can’t sort out with one hand, without even looking at it.
Expanding our family has certainly helped teach me and the girls more patience too. In fact, I’m pretty sure the shop assistants at our local market think at least one of my daughters is named Patience because I start so many sentences with “patience please!” while dealing with the endless demands for treats or to be lifted in and out of the shopping trolley.
Parenting is the most difficult job you’ll ever have, it’s relentless and both emotionally and physically challenging in a way that nothing else can prepare you for. At the same time it's easily the best and most satisfying job too. Some days are filled with frustration, like catching your four year old using half a bottle of your favourite perfume as bathroom spray, or realising that while you have enough snacks to last a week and half of the contents of the toy basket in your handbag, you have forgotten to restock your crucial nappy supply! Other days are filled with your children hugging each other and playing happily together or spontaneously telling you they love you, and learning how happy one small special moment with your children can make you, is the best thing I’ve learnt since becoming a parent.
Author credit: Robin Marsden