Regardless of what stage you are in your parenting journey, there will be good days and bad days. If you’re having one of those rough patches with your newborn, toddler, preschooler or school-aged child, then please, take the time to read this.
In the eyes of your children, you are many things, especially as they grow up. Some days you may be the enemy. Some days you may be their best friend. But every day, no matter how old your children are, you are the most important person to them.
To newborns, you are their world.
For nine months they had you close. You were all around them. And, then, all of a sudden, you are nowhere in sight. Sure, you may only be five metres away in the kitchen as they sleep in their cot, but they cannot smell you. They cannot feel your warmth. They cannot hear your beating heart.
As time goes by, they will learn to establish new connections to comfort objects and areas, but this takes time. It may not happen overnight. It may not even happen over the course of a month.
So, for now, let the dishes stay dirty, let the laundry stay wrinkly and let the beds remain unmade. Focus on how your newborn sees you – you are their everything.
And, for now, that’s all you need to be.
To toddlers, you are their missing piece.
At this stage, it’s difficult for children to have a sense of identity, unless you are part of it. To a one-year-old, you are their missing limb. And when you are not together, they can feel a little lost.
Sure, they can explore their surroundings on their own, but having you by their side just feels better. Having your hand to hold, your smile to encourage them and your arms to run back into if things get too scary is all they need to find the confidence to grow.
To preschoolers, you are their favorite friend.
Preschoolers are full of curiosity and wonder and you are their tour guide on this imaginative journey. Sure, playing ‘camping’ when you have a million other things to do can be painful, but to the little person tugging at your shorts and smiling up at you, this is the most important thing in the world.
Look for fairies in the garden. Hide from the monster in the backyard. Sail around the world in the laundry basket. Visit the stuffed animals in the bedroom zoo. With you by their side, the sky is the limit.
To five-year-olds, you are their teacher.
And as their teacher, you can expect to answer a lot of questions. You can expect to explain why dinosaurs no longer exist, why superman can fly but they can’t, why rocks are so heavy, why fish breathe underwater and how Santa can make it around the entire world in just one night.
You can expect to be teaching them, leading them and showing them how to behave with every single thing you do. Yes, it’s a daunting thought and, at times, it can be the most frustrating thing in the world, but it’s also so amazing to think just how much these little ones need you to help them understand their world.
So, whether you are reading this while rocking your newborn back and forth, playing dolls with your toddler or watching Ice Age for the 30th time, take a minute to remind yourself of just how incredible a job you are doing and just how important you are to the little ones in your life.