Mrs Roberts was one of my favourite teachers. She was funny and fair and she was passionate about her subject – biology. I remember her lessons as being one of the handful that I enjoyed rather than endured and I decided to choose it as one of my A’ level subjects. On the first day of the new term Mrs Roberts turned to us all and said, ‘Forget everything you knew last year, that was just to make it easy for you to understand. This year you’ll have to learn biology all over again.’
I’m reminded of this moment because it’s often how parenthood feels. You’ll be coasting along, imagining you’ve got a handle on everything and then suddenly the script gets flipped and you feel like you’re starting all over again. Take sleep. My son has always found falling asleep a bit of an ordeal but it was a predictable ordeal followed by eleven hours of unbroken shut eye and with sleep wasn’t it the case that it could only get better? Then one day he woke up around five in the morning, I dismissed it as teething; when it happened a second night I tin foiled his windows; when that did nothing I had to accept that this was the new normal.
What a difference an hour makes! My boy, who even as a newborn had woken a happy, cheeky chappy, turned into a grouchy mess each morning; I can’t pretend that his mother was much better. Mornings had always been our high point and my time to get a few things organised but I suddenly had to dedicate most of our early hours to temper tantrums and administering caffeine. I needed to take back control so I went back to the books, I went back to the internet and of course I went back to my friends. I revelled in being a student again because my son is my passion and I never want to stop learning how to be a better mother to him.
I’ve completely embraced the fact that they’ll never be a point when I’ve got ‘being a parent’ completely covered. Every year brings new surprises; every child brings unique challenges. The fact that you never stop growing as a parent makes it one of the greatest roles in the world and I am committed to being a student of parenthood for as long as I can.
Please help me with my studies by linking up your parenting advice posts. Anything on sleep regression especially welcome.
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