Why Parenting Is Like Being A Surfer
What better way to kick off the New Year, than with an article about the full breadth of parenting, from choo-choo trains, to empty nesting? Our Featured Writer of the Month for January, is the delightful Val Robus.
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'To me, parenting is like being a surfer. One minute you are riding the waves like a pro. The next you've been smacked in the face with your surfboard and are floundering to stay afloat.
There are no days off, and no medals for good behaviour. If you aren't feeling well, that's tough. You could have the migraine from hell and have a toddler screaming in your ear. As for the sleepless nights, well, we've all been there: The bags under my eyes live to tell the tale!
Trying to get carrots into them instead of a chicken nugget. The spoon that becomes a Choo Choo train. The little tricks of the trade.
Potty training, where you might have one success out of ten. The moment where it's all going so well and the doorbell rings, when you've finished with the door you come back to find your little darling wearing the potty, contents as well!
Letting them dress themselves. One pink wellie, fairy wings and a Spiderman outfit is obviously the perfect choice for a trip to Granny's house.
The trips to the supermarket. The absolute horror when your little treasure throws themselves down in the middle of the biscuit aisle because you wouldn't buy cookies. The auld biddy that looks at you with disdain muttering that she blames the parents.
Going on holiday. Packing the car is like a military operation and the check list is like a condensed version of War and Peace. You have to bring books, favourite toys, Sudocrem, bonjela, rusks, baby food, twenty changes of outfit, wet wipes....and that's just for the husband!
The first day at school. The new uniform that is at least four sizes too big and so starched they can hardly move. The trepidation as they enter their new life. The tears you cry as they skip off towards their classroom without even a backwards glance.
Homework. The bane of most parents life. Hunched over the kitchen table when everyone is tired and cranky. The shopping needs putting away, the dog has his legs crossed with desperation and you're trying to help with Irish when you haven't a notion.
Community Games. Like a young version of the Olympics. You can't understand why all the other parents are roaring at their children to run as fast as Usain Bolt, when you are laughing like an eejit because your daughter decides to run backwards.
Secondary School. Having to take out a second mortgage just to buy the books. Bags weighing as much as a sack of spuds. More homework, the shopping is now all over the floor and the dog has created a large puddle.
The first school disco. The fake tan, the false nails, the giggling of girls getting ready. A skirt so short you almost have a conniption. Make up so heavy they look like Lady Gaga on a bad day. Saying ten Hail Marys even though you are a lapsed Catholic.
The Leaving Cert. The blood, sweat and tears – and that's just you. The Rescue Remedy, the sun so hot it's splitting the stones, chewed fingernails and midnight cramming, grinds and going over lines. It'll be grand though because Granny lit a candle.
The Graduation. A shaking lad appearing at the door with a corsage for herself. The hubby is interrogating the young fella about his intentions. Waiting up until all hours until she finally staggers home. One shoe missing and slurring that she's not at all drunk as she falls over the dog.
Leaving home. Packing up the car for the last time. Her fairy lights, her teddy bear, her 45 pairs of shoes. Fifteen packets of pasta, just in case she gets hungry. A cake that weighs as much as a small child, from Granny. Pillows, duvets, toilets rolls, anything you think she'll need for her new life – without you. Moving her in to her college digs. The hugs and the tears, happy for her but so unbroken for yourself.
The quiet drive home. Yourself and himself rattling around the house, even the dog looks sad. The 21 years with all its trials and tribulations went by in the blink of an eye and now your nest is empty. Your job is done and you should be proud but really you'd give anything to relive it all again – including the sleepless nights.
Parenting is the most exciting and rewarding journey you'll ever go on, so enjoy every minute of it.'