Dear Parent of a Toddler,Let me start by acknowledging that at this point you are actually an inhabitant of an alternative universe. This Universe is a special place of its own, with different timings and routines as well as a whole lot of expectations and demands, and may I add, not enough rest.
I also see that sometimes it is hard and overwhelming and utterly exhausting. I remember being there not so long ago and completely shocking my brother who was visiting by bursting into tears when he asked me ‘How are you?’ I cried for 10 minutes straight, talking about all the exhaustion, the strain, the pressure of managing two kids under the age of four with a spouse who had to travel extensively for work. I was grateful as he sat there with his arm around me quietly. He had no idea how loaded his well-intentioned, innocent question was. Nothing was wrong, so as to speak (I had him worried) but it all got just too much that morning. Parent of a young one — I see your vulnerability amidst that strength.
Before you had kids, you may have decided that you were never going to let your identity as a parent eat up your other identities or overtake your other interests. And now, when you get the chance to pause, you wonder when you last read poetry, painted something, baked something experimental or took off on your bike. And you may feel like you have given up so many things. An avid reader may choose to forgo reading to go for a facial, unimaginable a few years ago. A hardcore biker may choose to head out for an evening out with friends over a bike ride, surprising themselves. It’s just that you are craving a quiet pampering or adult interactions and you are meeting that need. Things are different than how you imagined, and that’s ok. You want different things than before, probably and that may surprise you, even throw you a bit. Parent of a young one, give in to what your soul needs and don’t judge yourself harshly.
You feel like your little one is going to playschool for three hours and that means you have time and you want to get back into work, you may want to work out, or do the million other things you have put off, but it’s probably the only time during the day you have some respite and you just don’t want to do anything. Also, children can be unpredictable. A sudden earache, a nasty cough which didn’t allow sleep can throw your plans completely off track and that can leave you feeling so frustrated and sometimes inadequate. Life throws you curve balls when you least expect it. Parent of a young one — I see you handling the curve balls with utmost grace and as much gumption as you can muster. It is enough.
Parent of a young one — please do not forget that these are years in which it seems that you have a semblance of control. These years can leave you more frustrated than the infant years because you may have started feeling like you were a little bit back in control and then suddenly you realise it is as fast a roller coaster as before. I see that there are days when things are easy and life feels like a breeze and there are also days when it is anything but that. Parent of a young one — I see that you are good enough for both.
— Seemanthini Iyer is a certified Parent Educator with Parenting Matters, an organisation that promotes parents to build deeper connections within families. To know more about our programmes and workshops look us up on www.parentingmatters.in