We are family of four. Recently, we welcomed a new addition to our family. When my daughter was born six years back, we wanted to provide her all the comforts she could get in the entire world. With a single bedroom apartment, a newborn and baby stuff occupied more than half of the living space. Within 20 steps walking distance, we had a baby monitor just to keep an eye on every breath she took. Essentially, my wife and I turned ourselves into helicopter parents.
Shortly after my daughter’s birth, my wife went through a series of health-related troubles and extended stays in the hospital. That period gave me an opportunity to learn about parenting. It was at this time when I learned, as a guy, how hard it is to raise a child. Long late-night awakenings, inconsolable cries, puking and diaper changing. I learned to sleep whenever and wherever I had chance. After all the trouble and hiccups, we managed to give undivided attention to her.
Now six years later we just welcomed a newborn. This time it’s a boy. My daughter wants to be involved in every aspect of his care. We cautiously involve her and hopefully make her feel like an important person in his care. Oftentimes, she complains that we are not paying her enough attention. We foresaw this, and we are trying our best to explain to her about giving more attention to the newborn as “he cannot take care of himself'“ and we encourage her to take care of herself as a big sister and to set an example. There are unavoidable stressful situations and shouting matches in our crowded home of extended family. But we are making sure the anger is not directed towards at her.
It is rightly comprehensible that she is having hard time adjusting to a new normal and transitioning to potentially less than the best level of attention she is accustomed to receiving. She has managed very well so far. Any visitor bringing gifts to the baby, we make sure that she receives some kind of treat as well. Although, we still have to keep watchful eyes on her interactions with the new baby. I learned very quickly that parenting is a full time, ever evolving and exhausting job. I bow to and salute all new moms and single parents.
With more than one young child the idea of single parenthood is a dreadful situation and hard for me to imagine. In this case, the general health and well-being of everyone involved is on the line. I experienced this once and the feeling chills me with thoughts of what if I have to go through same situation again. In the absence of family support and help, there is no good solution for a single parent to raise two young children and balance everything else in the life.
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