Parenting is one of those things isn't it? where each time you think you've got it under control, you think you might be on track and sort of know what your doing, things change.
The baby stage never really bothered me, I loved it, the endless coooing and cuddles, the simple nature of things, smiles beaming back at you from the funny faces you pulled, simple sing song rhymes making them fall asleep against your chest. The sleepless nights and days following the same pattern full of nappies and feeding babies seemed to fit round my life and I blended into being mummy easily.
Then the toddler years approached, things changed, the dynamics of the daily routine were more manic, time was spent instead of cooing and rocking but rushing around picking up after the mini whirlwinds that tore through the house, re arranging the ornaments so everything was out of reach that was precious, getting used to the fact the dogs water bowl had to remain outdoors to prevent a flooded kitchen, finding out that nappycream is awful to get out of hair and having to have a bag full of nappies, snacks and toys for every occasion as a permanent fixture over your shoulder soon became part of daily life.
Busy days seemingly filled with laughter, always finding new ways to cope with the new stage of developments. Activities became the focus, each day filled with colourful bricks, paint and playdough, running climbing and exploring the outdoors at every opportunity marveling at their new skills and encouraging them to try new things.
Life was fun, then time changes again school years begin and personalities appear more each day, back chat and attitude tears and temper. Homework frustrations and exhaustion for all parties makes the school years the toughest.
As a parent I have watched and marvelled at my childrens developments smiled as they learnt to crawl then walk, talk and shout but with each stage of development I find it harder and harder to find the right way to manage things. Pushing limits and testing boundaries are easy enough to handle when the fall out is over how much chocolate to eat before bed, easily resolved when the upset is that they want two stories reading instead of one. But as the children grow so do the challenges.
So how do you know when they are old enough to be given more trust? When do you know they are ready to take on the next stage of development? when that next stage doesn't involve nearly as much interaction from you, when the next stage is all about breaking the ties and doing things alone, why is it these times that I worry the most about?
My eldest is 10, my daughter nearly 9. They are not babies anymore, heck they are fast growing out of the children stage, they are growing up. I want them to be independent, I want them to have confidence and responsibilities. I want them to learn from their own mistakes and learn their own boundaries They are no longer babies that need my 100% attention, they want to go out and do their own thing, play at the park - alone without their mum sat watching them. They don't need me to watch them anymore, So why is this the hardest parenting, why is it now when they don't need me there at every turn do I find myself struggling being a mum the most?
I have slowly been dripping in bits of Independence to their everyday lives, encouraging them to make the 2 minute walk to school themselves, walking them half way, and then waving them off, each day a new little bit more independence, stalling to fetch them so they come out of the gates and meet me at the lollipop lady instead.
Each day that passes they are growing up before my eyes, I know I have to let them, I know stalling this Independence cooping them inside preventing them from these experiences is like any other developmental stage and if they don't get the opportunities they won't get to flourish, but holding their hands whilst they stumbled and letting go so they could take them first wobbly steps into my out stretched arms, was so much easier than letting them run off down the road to play and learn where I am not there to catch them.