Monday, 30 January 2012

Fully Charged Parenting

I'm turning 41 this year, it's a retrospective time of life methinks. I mean, "life begins at forty" must surely come from the days of getting married and having children much younger, so they would have been leaving home to start families of their own at this age. I imagine parents whose kids had all left home by forty waved their sons and daughters off on their honeymoons and then high-fived each other once the front door was closed.

Yay! The kids have moved out!

I had my first child at 36 however, so Hubby and I have a wee bit longer before we'll be high-fiving ourselves. And we might need someone to help us lift our hands at that stage.

I can see benefit both ways. I didn't choose to have children in my late 30's, that's just when I met the man. He's nearly five years younger than me (woo hoo, Toy Boy!) and we both feel in many ways we're better parents now than we would have been if we'd met younger.

I'm more at ease with myself now, less self absorbed. And gee whiz you need to be, having children takes up so much of your thoughts, energy and time there's not much left for you. I'm also less tolerant, which isn't a bad thing in parenting. A younger me would have found disciplining my kids very difficult I think, I would have spoilt them rotten. As it is, I have no problem enforcing the naughty chair in our house. Yes siree.

The other day, however, I watched a young Dad, I'm guessing in his early twenties, playing games in the park with his son - about 5 or 6.

I wasn't perving a young fella I promise, but I watched and was quite literally jaw droppingly amazed, and exceedingly jealous, of the energy this young Dad had.

With two young boys, I'm lucky if I get a full nights sleep without one of them waking and although that's getting better as they get older, I've been living with broken nights sleep for years. Cat napping? I am an expert. I am constantly, persistantly tired. All the time. At any given point of the day, if I sit down I could nod off.

I manage my day of kids, housework and business on permanent half battery. "Not quite fully charged" is a good way to describe how I feel most of the time.

Fully charged Park Dad held a brilliant combination of being responsible for his son, he wouldn't let him play rough or risk injury, with being a full on, energetic playmate. They were pretending to be pirates, but chasing more than fighting. Dad would run off at speed with son in pursuit, and then turn and "RAAAARGH!!" at him, causing son to squeal excitedly and turn and run in the opposite direction, Dad now in pursuit.

I'm 40, and I smoke. Otherwise fairly fit but honestly, I'd be lucky to make one lap as a marauding pirate before I'd be out of breath and needing to sit down. And have a fag.

My boys spend most of their days outside, they run, jump, climb, play ball and chase games. All the usual stuff. But I realise that the games I play for any length of time with my kids tend to involve me sitting or laying down. Building with lego. Colouring books, board games. We play pirates with a large toy ship, I'll determine the game so that I get to lie or sit on the floor as the 'giant' in the story.

I try, tired though I am. I'll run and play soccer until I'm out of breath and I'll spin them around "dizzy Mummy, dizzy" until my arms ache and I'm dizzy myself. But I think I must try harder.

There's also those Mums out there who, for whatever reasons, have limited movement and capabilities and I'm sure some of them wish they could do what little I manage to achieve.

40 or not, I think if I put my mind to it I could lose the extra Christmas-gained tummy rolls and take a serious look at my health and bad habits.


Words like "full health check up", "giving up smoking" are popping into my head and I'm resisting them.

But I really shouldn't. For my kids and for myself.

I feel fine! But I also feel I'm at a stage in my life now when, despite feeling fine, a full health check would most likely turn up several ailments and a couple of worry worthy issues. Further tests, surgery, drugs for life ....


But what must be done, must be done ey? And maybe I'll be surprised, maybe I'm healthier than I imagine. Don't laugh, It could happen. Either way, I'm sure once I know, it'll be postworthy so I'll keep you posted.

Don't hold you breath though. I'm not done procrastinating just yet. Vive la Résistance!


  1. Doooo bear in mind that you have been able to provide your boys with a built in playmate each.
    At least this is what I told myself when I worried I should have been playing with mine more! Also, thrilling and amazing as I am, I actually think they prefer to play with someone their own age. They think they want to play with me, until I pitch in and ruin everything with my silly old middle-aged ideas... x

    1. Ha, so true. The eldest actually starts school next week too so soon his world will be full of new playmates. Until then, let me just go get my pirates costume on .... :)


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