Some days you have it down. You’re parenting like a boss (which leaves you with an even greater feeling of yay than adulting like a boss, which is already no mean feat). But that’s not every day.
If like the rest of us, there’s a pattern of several days attacking you at once, step one is to stop your face turning blue.
There are several other steps, depending on your level of current insanity, unmanageability, or un-adulting-ness. They include making sure your blood sugar’s on the up-and-up –Frankenparents are real and they’re usually hangry – that you’re hydrated, and that you’ve a spoonful of Netflix-and-chill – or whatever your flavour of R&R – in your system.
But in the spirit of having little and not-so-little ones under your roof for just so many years before it’s off into the sunset they fly, there’s a step that we tend to let fall to the wayside, when in fact it’s one of those building blocks without which the house eventually tumbles down.
Daily, we return to the comfort of our homes, battle-weary. Our kids – having fought their own battles during the course of their waking hours, some exciting, some daunting, but all worthy bumps on the road to personhood – can seem like another item on our list. And let’s face it: Our lists are long, and we’re exhausted. Give us a break.
Right. Where were we? Ah, that part where they’re more than just checkboxes. Which is hard to remember, at times, when there are so many demands on our time, and our attention spans hardly know when to put out fires and when to fuel them.
But in doing the maths (in case you’re waiting for a quantifiable answer, I’m not actually doing it), there’s only so much time we get to spend with them, having conversations in the humdrum of the day-to-day, from the time we can exchange words without having to pry the cat from their mouths in-between, till the day they pack their carry-ons for more than just a vacay.
And, let’s be frank, most of these precious few conversations we ultimately end up having over the span of their under 18-lives are far from sky-opening enlightenment and wisdom impartation, and more, “How was school?” and “What would you like to eat?”
Much like meaning hides in nanoseconds, meaning also resides in the mundane. Forget about particle acceleration; whole lives are squashed into monotonous chats about English class and creamed spinach.
In real life, we don’t have wizards at the front gate asking us to return hypnotic rings to fires of Mordor. Our hero’s quest lies in surviving our own battles with paperwork so we can show up for our kids to talk about theirs. Such is the bravery of life in this day and age. It’s boring and it’s beautiful because we only get to have it for so long before it’s gone.
(You may find that the more you notice the beauty of it, it totally downplays the boringness factor…like watching trees grow.)
It’s becoming mindful of, present to, these everyday opportunities to connect with your kids that’ll determine, to a large extent, how healthy the roots are your children take with them when they pack up shop to go plant themselves in other gardens.
What’s been your #BoringBeautiful parent-kid chat for the day?
Nadja is on an epic quest to make the exciting world of rapidly evolving technology work for her and her family instead of swallowing them up whole. The jury’s out daily on who’s won which round.
This article was first published on CompuKids, a junior technology academy that provides structured online Computer Science and Technology curriculum for kids, where Nadja has served in a parental advisory and marketing consultancy capacity.