My children are on holiday with their father, and last night they didn’t call me.
I’m pretty certain that’s because they’re having such a fabulous time they just forgot, (no news is good news, after all), and actually, this makes me happy.
As parents, whether our children are with us or being cared for by someone else, knowing that our children are happy and secure gives us the freedom to be happy too.
As for me, I am still adjusting to the idea of this time; it seems distinctly unreal to me.
It’s not that I don’t have anything to do. There are long lists of things to do, more than I can ever achieve in a week.
The strangeness is in how easy everything is. I can move around the house without a small girl wrapping her arms around my leg. If I want a cup of tea, I get up and I make one. If I want a shower, I just have a shower. If I feel like going out, I leave the house. There are no barriers to action, and it’s just weird. In my mind, everything I do is less, as though I were accomplishing it through some sort of trick.
Also; the quietness. I can hear myself think.
When we first bring our newborn baby home, we learn to do routine tasks with one hand; metaphorically, that’s a skill that never leaves us. It becomes second nature. So much so, that when we don’t have to prioritise someone else’s needs over our own, it feels unnatural and unsettling.
What it makes me think, more than ever, is how much more society should value and support the parents of small children; in their hopes and dreams and everything they want to achieve.
It isn’t that what we do in our child-free time is worth less; but that everything achieved while our children are with us takes so much more effort to accomplish; and that should be celebrated more than it is.