I was supposed to go to a horsey get-together today. Unfortunately, I overslept and was unable to do everything I needed to do before I could leave. Standing in the grocery store, on the first Saturday after payday, it was hard to explain to a young, carefree friend that trying to get there would be impossible.
There were simply too many things to do and too little time! Even if the shop wasn’t swamped with people trying to do their month-end shopping, making the actual shopping trip twice as long as it needed to be, I would still have to drive home, unpack the shopping, prepare lunch and coax it down the throats of my children. It doesn’t sound like all that much, but really that could fill up 90 minutes easily!
A few years ago, having two hours to get ready for an event which took 20 minutes to drive to, while having an empty fridge at home wouldn’t have mattered. Those two hours would have seemed like an eternity in which to get everything done. I could just dash into a shop, get what I need and dash out again. That is if I even bothered to go to the shops at all! The empty fridge would probably not have bothered me as I could live on two-minute noodles or even skip a meal, if need be!
But a few years ago, I would have been up early. It is only since having had children that I struggle to get up in the mornings. When I was a student, I was up at sunrise and if anything, had trouble falling asleep at night. But once asleep, not much could wake me up – I slept through a minor earthquake once! Nowadays, my I’m asleep before my head hits the pillow and have to drag myself out of bed, after having hit the “snooze” button multiple times. It has to kept in mind that I do wake up several times during the night to tend to the needs of others, so it is understandable, I guess.
But all of a sudden, there is just so much more to life than before! More things to do, more people to take care of and well, just more of everything, with eternally decreasing amounts of time at my disposal.
At the same time, other things I realise, have not changed at all.
I took my toddler to a party a few weeks ago and it struck me how it doesn’t really matter how old we get, our inner selves never really changes. (If you are me) You arrive in a setting where you know no-one else and you are insecure about meeting strangers; about how they may judge you (even while you are rationalising in your head how ridiculous that is, as they probably couldn’t care less!) . Only now, it is not for yourself that you fear, but for your child – how would their opinions affect the future of your child?
And this just serves to remind my of the immensity of my responsibility as a parent. For those foundations laid early in the lives of my children, how they see themselves and feel about themselves will stick with them until I am no longer around to protect them. It will affect their self-worth and the decisions they make as a result of that.
When you are little, all you want to do is to grow up, so that you feel more in control of your world, and that you can do what you want to. When you are grown up, with all the rights and responsibilities that brings, you are still trapped by the fact that your every action affects other people too!