It’s a cliché to say that the only constant is change, but I have found that to be truer since becoming a parent.
Obviously when a new baby arrives, the status quo of the household changes – as it would with the arrival of any new person. But then just as you get used to the new state of things, something new happens to throw out the equilibrium.
For instance, you might just start to get into a really good sleep routine with your baby, and then they approach a new milestone where you need to drop a midday nap, throwing the whole day out of kilter!
“In fact, our lives and choices affect our children much more than their development does us.”
However, not all the blame for this constant imbalance falls at the feet of our little ones. In fact, our lives and choices affect our children much more than their development does us. Even something that you would think wouldn’t really matter to them can change their lives quite dramatically.
So, if you get that new job where you have to work slightly longer, or that makes you slightly more stressed by the time you get home, this can really change the kind of day your little one will have.
This isn’t to make you feel guilty, though. It just means that you have to take the effects of any changes in their lives into account when making these decisions. You also have to think about how to mentally prepare them for the changes.
For instance, both our boys are going to a new playschool next year. It’s bigger, and they’ll be going for longer hours each day, so we’re worried that our generally shy boys might struggle with the transition. That means that we are literally going to be using the next few weeks to remind them how brave they are and how exciting the new school is.
We’re also moving homes soon, so there is a lot of talking about imagining if we lived elsewhere – and everything we are describing will hopefully make the new place feel very special.
Honestly, though, even the best-executed plans might still leave little ones feeling out of place, scared and vulnerable. Our job as their parents is to acknowledge those fears and help them work through it, remembering that children are also very resilient.
That’s right, even my shy little boy can cope with all this change. Hopefully.
So, as the new year arrives with all the inevitable change that comes with it, remember that even a small change can be a big deal too.
AfroDaddy, a.k.a. Terence Mentor, is a place for parents, especially dads, to come together and share in the “duality of parenting” – the fact that being a parent can be fantastic, wonderful and beautiful, while simultaneously being exhausting, frustrating and awful. A husband and father to two boys born 18 months apart, AfroDaddy shares his unique view and experiences, while opening himself to new experiences, learnings and people. You can find him at AfroDaddy.