By: Rated PG Columnist Orla Breeze
I have a teenager. In fact, I’ve had him for a year now and, I have to say, so far so good. But with another teenager just around the corner and a third only two years after that, I’m having to come to terms with the fact that my parenthood days have taken a significant turn for the better. Or possibly the worse. Let’s just say it’s a turn into something and leave it at that for now.
However, with all new phases comes an opportunity to look back on how it’s been, how far I’ve come and to assess what tricks – if any – I’ve got left up my sleeve. Fellow parents, sit back, relax and take a trip with me through the 5 Phases of Parenthood.
Parenthood Phase One: Newborn Parent
With every firstborn child comes a newborn parent characterised by dog-tired eyes, a permanent look of WTF on its face and sporting Majamas – that good ol’ maternity wear/pyjamas combo. (And yes, I mean the Dads too.) It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was an age of sleeplessness, it was an epoch of tears. Many have been there. Only the brave would return.
Parenthood Phase Two: The Danger Zone
Picture the scene: you’re two years in, your little one is happily eating solids, he’s sleeping like a … well … baby, and most importantly you’ve got your boobs back. (And yes, I mean the Dads too.) You got this! In fact, you got this so much that you inadvertently cross over into the Danger Zone where memories of the first few months are instantaneously wiped from your brain and you end up having another one. D’oh!
Parenthood Phase Three: The Juggler
You’ve hit your Five Year Parentaversary and find yourself in a permanent state of wondering whether or not you’ve fed the the dog. Until you realise that you don’t have a dog, it’s just baby number three hanging out of your legs. Mix that with the other two who are in a constant fight for whatever attention you’ve got left and voila: you’ve reached the Juggling Years! Going for a walk with all three without losing one along the way, crossing a road with more kids than you have hands, and who to put in the naughty corner first are all predicaments you face daily. But who will win? Unfortunately, they decide!
Parenthood Phase Four: Get Smart!
The toddlers have gone, only to be replaced by small-sized people with full-sized personalities. And the questions to go with them. You gotta get smart to get through this stage! Why is the world round? Where do waves come from? And my personal favourite: Mum, who was the first person on the planet? Well, nobody knows that for sure darling. Can’t you Google it? Parents should have their own version of Google. Poogle, maybe?
Parenthood Phase Five: The Golden Years
Now, I know some of you may disagree with me (that’s okay, we’re all friends here) but this phase – the still a teen, not yet an adult phase – is the best of them all. The Golden Years, if you will. And I’m loving it! Interesting chats where they’re doing the teaching, fab senses of humour that make me laugh out loud, and a strong sense of the amazing adults they’ll one day become. Oh, man! Someone pass me a tissue! I’m gonna miss my monkeys when they leave. Sniff!
This article first appeared in the Oct/Nov edition of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue!