I spend my days supporting expectant and new parents, reassuring them and providing information about baby’s needs – how it is normal for them to cling to their mum for safety, reassurance and comfort. But it is easy to forget to focus on the same needs of my children, who are older – one is a teenager and the other is 10 – who can communicate better about their needs and about what they want. Except they don’t really. While they do communicate very clearly about going out, about homework, about how horrible the other is they don’t communicate clearly about their emotions, the changes in their moods, how they feel as they grow and work out friendships, people and the dynamics of the relationships around them. So they cling, they follow, they talk constantly just to connect. I have been guilty of wanting some space, of feeling swamped, of wanting them to go and do something else especially when I am juggling work and them.
So my moment, my realisation is to give them what they need, to accept that I sometimes need to snuggle them in, that what I want to do might need to be put on hold because while they can be independent, fiesty and firey, they are also children who still need me and my time and my focus and my energy. It can be easy to lose the understanding of that need when children get older and seem to need their parents less and less. I am going to enjoy it more, to accept it and to make the most of the cuddles and their need to connect, just as I did when they were little.
I have always struggled with juggling work and my children, it is my main source of guilt. I love my work, I love what I do and I am very dedicated to it but I don’t want to feel like it is coming before my children. Work is important, it matters and my children need to understand that but, as someone who is self employed, work never ends because there will always be emails to write, research to read, sessions to plan. So for me, I need to put away the laptop, the phone and the tablet, I need to leave the admin and the planning until the next day if they need my time because investing time in my children is also important.