Parenting is relentless – especially if solo

I’ve had a couple of reminders of how relentless parenting can be over the past couple of weekends.

The first was when my wife and I took charge over a two year old grandchild for a full and night. A good kid but very active, and supervision was a full time full on job. It is not just the attention they demand, even when they are occupying themselves independently you can’t relax for a minute without knowing where the child is and what they are doing.

And while there is a noticeable change of intensity when the child is safely asleep in bed you are still aware of the need for keeping an ear out in case they wake crying. This continues through the night interspersed with whatever sleep you can manage.

And when you wake in the morning  you are immediately alert to when junior wakes – and when they do the task ramps up and continues.

The second reminder was this weekend when I had one of my daughters visiting. This was the first time she had left her two children for any length of time. Skype enabled the frequent thoughts of the kids to be converted into remote contact, but that highlighted husband at home manning the fort – and finding for the first time how relentless parenting is when done solo.

If children have two parents that at least shares to constant supervision, although both parents have to be constantly vigilant when with the children.

But sole parents have to manage on their own, hour after hour, day after day, week after week, year after year. They may be lucky enough to have supportive grandparents or friends, but they are ultimately responsible for their children, 24/7.

Parenting is very rewarding – I rate my three children as my biggest and proudest achievement in my lifetime – but the rewards are very hard earned over a long time.

I’m now only an occasional part time grandparent, but it’s good to be reminded of how much care and attention goes into parenting.

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