My husband and I were talking the other day and he said something about swapping one of his car seats in his car with one of my car seats in my car. “We can’t do that, yours doesn’t have the right anchor point” I told him. “Surely, if it works in your car, it will work fine in mine?” he replied. And something clicked. I realised that he isn’t the one who had spent countless hours in baby shops asking questions about the 45,000 car seat models on the market. He isn’t the one who spent hours scrolling through google reading about extended rear facing, 5 point harnesses and anchored vs non anchored car seats. Then I realised this happens a lot with us. He will say something like “Any of the kids due for their vaccinations soon?” Cue massive eye roll from me, with me thinking “How does he not know their vaccination schedule?”. I don’t actually even think he knows what their blue book (if you’re born in NSW, red for QLD) is for, or where it’s located. Heck, he probably doesn’t even know they get one when they’re born. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying he’s a bad parent, he’s just not the parent. You know the one I’m talking about? It’s probably you. The parent is the one that knows when their child’s vaccinations are due, the one that knows the date of the daycare cake stall, the one that knows the developmental milestones, the one that knows whether they are legally allowed to be forward facing in their car seat, the one that knows which car seat they have to be in for their height. The one that knows where all the important birth forms are, where the blue book is, where the vaccination records are kept, where the doctors office is, and even the doctors name. The parent knows which brand of nappies gives your baby a rash, they know the class birthday parties that are coming up, the name of their child’s teacher, school term dates, holiday dates and what vacation care options there are. Are you starting to see how mind-numbingly exhausting this is for your brain to carry around every day? And do you know how much of a difference a lot of their information makes to your life? Not a lot. Okay, so vaccination dates are pretty important, so ask the GP office to send you a reminder when they’re due. Done. You forget a class party, definitely not the end of the world.
I’m learning more and more about parenting and motherhood/parenthood every single day (mostly through my failures, let’s be real). And one thing that keeps coming up in almost every single situation that I struggle through is “Don’t sweat the small stuff” (if you have the time, google this book by Richard Carlson-life changing). Like my doctor told me, that time I thought I had early onset dementia, which turned out to be a bad case of ‘mum brain’ “Your brain is like a sieve, its just trying to catch the big, important bits”. So forget about the cake stall, the class parties, and all the bullshit information that I guarantee is clogging up every single one of our brains right this very second. Focus on today, get through today and enjoy it. Enjoy your kids, enjoy the chaos, the noise, the mess. Because one day you will wake up refreshed from a solid eight hour sleep, walk into a perfectly clean, quiet house, because your children will be older and will have moved out. And while my children are still so young, this reality seems dauntingly close already. If you are the parent, give yourself a much needed break. You can’t micromanage an entire household, finances, kids and yourself. Something has to give. Delegate tasks, delegate information-tell your partner, your mum, your best friend to remind you about important things and make sure they do! Say “No”. You can’t babysit your friends kid on a weeknight, you can’t help out with reading in your sons class, you can’t make the 3rd play date of the week. And one word I want you to say more of is “Help”. Don’t be proud, don’t try to be Supermum- she doesn’t exist. Ask for help with your laundry, ask for someone to watch your kids while you go to the supermarket solo, ask for someone to just be with you during the day if you’re struggling at home (we all know how isolating parenting can be).
Breathe, relax, be kind to yourself because while the days are long, the years are short.