At this time of year (the end of it) we can all feel a bit frazzled and disorganized, not to mention a tad drained simply by the daily grind of parenting.

There are some universal truths when it comes to life with little ones, which must be acknowledged. There is great encouragement and support that comes from understanding and accepting some things happen to most other parents too, and that ‘this too shall pass’!

– You go to the bathroom. It’s completely normal to have the door wide open because you know you’ll have company at any moment… Remember to shut and lock the door when in public places (but of course you will because you’ll also have someone squeezed in there with you, wanting to open the door/crawl on the floor/play with the SANITARY BIN).

– Being able to shower at leisure, with no other human beings, is literally a day spa.

– Grocery shopping used to be the world’s most boring job. It can be fun with the kids if you ask them to find different items in the store or have them ‘help’ to put things in the trolley but you’ll NEVER get everything you need and almost always buy something you really DIDN’T (snaaaaaaacks). Getting to shop on your own is actually as good as a holiday! So refreshing and so organized!

– Hands up whose first dinner is made up of the kids’ scraps and then you eat actual dinner anyway? I’m not sure if this is a plus or not but I don’t usually complain #wastenotwantnot …

– It doesn’t matter how many times you ask everyone if they’re ‘ready to go’ in the morning. They will not be ready to go. They will not have their shoes on/bags packed/hair brushed/homework done/show-and-tell item. You will have to facilitate the doing of all of those things in about 4 minutes and then carry everything to the car using your arms, hands, and teeth in order to ‘save time’ and avoid another trip. You will forget something.

– Nap time? Often it’s us that need the young-uns to sleep (amirite?) but why do they think it’s such a terrible idea? Why fight it? Honestly, you wouldn’t have to ask me twice to ‘go for a nap’. (Of course, once they’re asleep, if they’re down more than two and a half hours we’re creeping in there to make sure they’re still alive. We can’t win!)

– Self-diagnosing every bump/scratch/rash/sound that you notice. What did we do before smartphones and the Internet? Answer: probably nothing, unless the ailment grew significantly more obvious! Seriously, modern technology is most definitely a blessing and a curse. We can make ourselves sick with worry by googling symptoms, and feel completely judged or inadequate as parents because we read ALL THE BOOKS.

Actually, don’t read all the books. I mean, read them if you want, but read your own child first. Get to know them and their normal. No one has written a book about what’s best for your child (or about you as a parent for that matter), so you are the expert!

Yes, there are some universal truths when it comes to child rearing (and these include feeding & clothing them, keeping them warm/cool enough, providing comfort and stimulation, and teaching them). My advice – for what it’s worth – would be to put the connection between you and your child first while providing these things. Don’t follow rules or plans to the detriment of your relationship. If they work and your baby is thriving, fantastic! If you’re beating your head against an imaginary (or real…) wall and not getting anywhere, stop and reconnect with your child. Strengthening the bond between carer & child is the most important thing on the journey of parenthood. It teaches your child the most important lesson they need to learn – you will always be there for them, and whatever the future holds, they can rely on your help until they can do it alone.

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