By Eva Hartigan
8.30pm: Ok, bed time!
8.50pm: Surely you are finished that bedtime snack!
9.10pm: WHY haven’t you brushed your teeth?
9.20pm: Put away that tablet/ phone and read a book for a couple of minutes if you aren’t tired yet.
9.45pm: No, we are NOT going to talk about how much pocket money you deserve for the chores that you did today!
10.15pm: (you pause you favourite TV show) Will you please stop playing your recorder and go to sleep?
10.45pm: Yes I love you too but if you don’t go back to bed RIGHT NOW, I might change my mind!!
11.15pm: (as you pass their room and check in to gaze lovingly at your sleeping kids..) Why the hell are you still awake!!!! You’ll be wrecked in the morning! No, you’ve had a drink! What do you mean you need a sponsorship form filled/ costume for world book day/ have swimming tomorrow/ field trip?
Next day, bleary-eyed and you meet your pals for lunch….. ‘so what time do your kids go to bed usually?’….’Oh, about 8.30’. (ahem)
Tell me its not just me?
Don’t you just love parenthood? Did you sign up for the snuggly,baby powder smell? The dress up, the baby accesories, the extended maternity leave from work, the ‘completing the family’ bliss?
Did you quickly wonder what, in the name of all thats holy, you had let yourself in for?
We love our children with all our hearts, I know, I know… but – and I know its a cliche – IT IS THE TOUGHEST JOB IN THE UNIVERSE!
When we were kids, we played outside, sometimes with a coat on, mostly without one……we ran across the road, played in friends houses – without having their parents vetted first!
We ate sugary snacks…. jam sandwiches… watched TV upside-down on the couch and didn’t go blind, walked or cycled to the shop on our own… and had 2 or 3 channels on the TV!
We had embarrassing photos that our parents shared with friends and family in the photo album, and were told to leave the roon when the grown ups were talking – and go play!
Now, the pressure is on for parents! Have our babies reached their milestones first? Have they been potty trained the quickest? Did Santa take the soother? Not yet? Really? ( tut and a head tilt from ‘friends’)
Have they been accepted to the best Montessori, primary school, secondary school? Are they involved in activities EVERY DAY after school? Are you still working full time? How do you manage? ( cue another head tilt..)
We have play dates and computer games, swimming and piano lessons…. the myriad of TV channels, on line entertainment.. and scheduled outdoor time!
Do you get involved in the madness? What happened to the simple life?
As the movie trailers always say…. ‘In a world gone mad…’, we can decide to give ourselves a break as parents, and in doing this, give our kids a break.
Cuddle up on the couch ( if they’ll let you over the age of 10!) and watch movies; eat the popcorn and lets tell them we love them for who they are. It doesn’t matter whether they are first or last in the class, head hunted for Man Utd, hilariously funny, swim champion (or able to play Irelands Call on the recorder!)…. they are our babies, the babies that, when they were born, we just wanted to be ‘healthy’…
If they would JUST go to bed on time….!!!!