I’ve been down in the dumps lately. To be honest, I think most of us have. The weather has been bleak and the interminable Brexit gloom hasn’t helped either.
As a result, I’ve been harder on myself than I normally am. Particularly with regards to my parenting skills.
But, over the weekend, I realised something I hadn’t recently acknowledged to myself and it made all the difference. Namely that we get there eventually.
There are battles of wills that seem never-ending but, with perseverance and patience, we get there.
Back to the scene of said realisation, we were sat at the dining room table. Now that youngest is that much older, we eat together as a family more often.
She was sat to my right, eating sausage and chips. To my left, oldest was happily chowing down on some lasagne. It was interesting looking at the two of them, side by side as it were.
Looking at youngest, I initially felt bad that she wasn’t eating the same as us. And also that it’s not top of the list of healthy options.
But the fact is, she won’t eat anything other than her favourite things. No matter what we try, she’s still at the stage where she’s fixed in her ways. She’s a threenager – need I say more?
Turning to look at oldest, I immediately felt better. The lasagne he was shovelling into his mouth was packed with vegetables, many of which he would have flat out refused to touch not so long ago.
It took years to get him to venture out of his comfort zone. For ages, the only concession he made to vegetables was peas. He refused to combine flavours on the fork either.
Yet here he finally was, merrily eating leeks, mushrooms, courgettes and onions. Bound together by lasagne sheets, mince and two different sauces. Oosh! We got there. And we will again.
A similar parenting battle regards sleep. Youngest still won’t stay in her own bed for the whole night. Whatever we try.
The particular time varies from one night to the next, but she always gets in with us and always gives us both a good kicking.
Her other brother didn’t sleep through until shortly before she was born. He was almost four by this point. Yes, it was a slog. And, yes, we’re still exhausted as a result. But we got there.
Finally, I find it incredibly heartening that both boys have nothing but contempt for Peppa Pig now. They used to love it and, somewhat infuriatingly, ‘Peppa’ was among their first words.
But they both express frustration whenever it’s on the telly now. Good boys!
So, if you’re still going through some tricky parenting battles at the moment, hang on in there. It does get easier and you will get there.
Don’t wish time away, just persevere and know that your little ones will eat healthily and sleep eventually. Be kinder to yourself too.
And know that there will come a day that you never have to endure Peppa Pig again.