You’re now a single parent. You’re pulling your hair out in frustration when your children won’t go to sleep at night because you just want an hour to yourself, good lord, even half-an-hour will do, so you can catch up on your favorite show with a nice cup of tea.
Deja Vu Anyone?
Your day feels like deja vu; you wake up, your children take forever to get ready, yet you get ready in world record time, you drop them at school and go to work, you balance finances and pay the bills, you arrange the dentist, the Dr’s appointment, and all the things our children need, you sort their social lives but don’t have one of your own. Yet the other parent, the “occasional parent” flutters in and out of their lives. It’s almost like the children are a hobby that can be engaged in at will like a round of golf.
What Is a Constant Parent?
You are what I call the “constant parent.”
A “constant” is something that doesn’t change, and I for one take great comfort in that.
It will, however, always be just a little harder and a little more frustrating for you. The constant parent isn’t as exciting or fun as the “occasional” parent. They don’t count down the days until they see you, your knock at the door isn’t met with joyous cheers. And your appearance in the house isn’t anything to celebrate. You are a constant presence in your children’s lives and that’s OK. In fact, that’s more than OK.
Your children won’t worry that they have to be on their best behavior around you in fear that their actions contribute in some way to the reasons you don’t come around and play with them often. Those little tantrums and little acts of defiance are the children’s way of showing you that they are not worried, they can be themselves, they can be the children they are and want to be because they know you love them and will always be there for them.
The Constant Parent Isn’t Very Exciting!
Remember, you are the constant parent, and that may not be exciting for your children and you may not feel like anything special. However, your constant presence in the house is a wonderful gift you give your children. The security that they will never need to wonder if you will be there may seem insignificant to you but the contentment a child has knowing you will always be there is a precious thing. Because of that, they don’t have to spend a single second worrying about it. It doesn’t even occur to them to act in any way but themselves around you.
The Constant Parent’s Job Is Never Done.
You never miss a teacher-parent meeting, you never miss a dance class or football game, and then they don’t run to you shouting “mummy, mummy” or “daddy, daddy” when they score or win an award or when you are there to pick them up from school every day. And maybe their eyes don’t light up when you walk in a room; that’s because to them it’s no surprise you are there, yet your heart breaks a little.
The occasional parent is ice cream, an exciting treat. The occasional parent is a new toy, shiny and exciting. The “occasional parent” is a spotlight, focusing on your children. A spotlight makes things amplified and fun, but only for a short duration. The constant parent is a nice, warm homemade dinner that makes them feel full and content. The constant parent is the go-to teddy bear that comforts when needed. The ice cream, the new toy, the spotlight are all very exciting, but the warm dinner, the comforting teddy bear, the nightlight are all essential.
The Constant Parent Is Taken For Granted But Reaps All The Rewards.
Being the constant parent, you are taken for granted, you are expected to perform on cue, and there are no sick days. Essentially, you are a one-man band doing it alone. But the reward is something money can’t buy, and the occasional parent will never understand or benefit from the rewards that you receive. You get to say goodnight almost every night, read them a story at bedtime, and hear them laugh and say, “I love you.” Knowing they are safely and lovingly tucked up in bed resting for another fun-filled day that awaits their innocent little eyes and minds, that’s what make it worth it.
So yes, you are frazzled and exhausted, and you look forward to those two minutes alone when you pee and pray to God that you can stretch it out to five minutes, and sometimes count down the hours until they go to bed, but then feel guilty that you have done so. Well, you are not alone. We hear you and we are with you.
So “constant parents,” if you haven’t heard it in days, weeks, or months… here is a high five. You’re doing a great job. Be proud.
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