The part time parent
I’ve been reading a lot this last week about part time parenting.
There was one particular story about a man who dealt calmly with his child’s meltdown at the supermarket.
Initially you would think he would be commended for keeping his sh*t together. However as I read through the comments and subsequent posts I’ve interested to read that this wasn’t the general perspective on the situation.
Apparently. He was a part time parent (I mean how did they know this?) and therefore had energy in reserve to deal serenely with these situations as for the rest of the time his child was looked after by someone else (the mother/nursery) .
(I do wonder if it had been a woman rather than a man whether this judgement would have been so readily made.)
Since returning to work in April, I suppose I too now fall into this category of part time parent.
It’s true. I am now the bread in his childcare sandwich. Book ending his day. Breakfast and evening routine foreman for sure, but Monday to Friday not his constant entertainer.
Does this make my life easier? Does it give me untapped reserves of energy? Or the need not to catch forty winks on the train or climb into bed at 8.30pm because I’ve had a crap day? No. No it does not.
I’m a big fan of my LO. He is my joy. My heart. But when he is struggling whilst I get him in the buggy or throwing his favourite food at the cat I think I am about as far from zen as you can get. Well inwardly at least. Like any good parent. I know how to play the “happy face” game. After all who ever got a kid to do anything by being negative?
It’s hard juggling work and family life. It’s hard having to work to pay the bills and also feeling like you’re giving your child what they need in terms of care and development. But you all know that already (you’re probably doing it yourself).
It’s tricky as well now keeping up with the routines. Routines that were second nature. Each evening pick up at nursery is a chance to update on eating, sleeping, favourite activities.
During the working week you imagine that weekends and holidays will be all about family time and cuddles and fun. But of course they also need to be about keeping those routines going, providing consistency. Of saying no, when you could easily just say yes and give your child whatever they want. But you do it. Because you want to be a good parent. Because you love your child.
Then you’re back at work. And no one. No one really cares if you were up all night with teething or your dearest has foot and mouth. And why should they? But what they do expect is 100% and deadlines not missed.
So to the serene man in the supermarket. Kudos to you sir. Good “happy face” work there.