I’m often asked about having 2 children 20 years apart. My standard response is “I feel like I’m at the sharp end of parenting them both”
Referring to the very crazy and very different antics of my 2 year old wild child and my 22 year old young adult.
So what’s different?
Both children have extremely different characters, my son was an angel child eager to please, contented and studious. At the age of 16 he began a rebellious stage. A stage that is due to end sometime soon, I can tell.
My little lady is fast and furious with a strong will and a list of demands before we even reach breakfast time.
Yet the biggest difference of all is me and my approach to motherhood.
I was 22 when I had my son, at the beginning of my career. I worked long hours. Everything was done by the book, with restrictions and timetables. I had no idea there was an alternative to getting it right – which likely led to my son’s rebellion.
With the little lady, I’m grateful to have been around to meet most of her demands. Including breastfeeding for the first 15 months. My parenting style and overall lifestyle is way more relaxed and fluid. As we travel around the globe, our lives are filled with wonderful experiences with little restrictions.
What’s the same?
The magnitude of love and gratitude I feel for them. Especially seeing them together, it brings so much joy and wonder.
A few months ago my son was on the sofa reading his sister The Gruffalo’s Child, a story I read to him as a child. I could have stayed in this beautiful, tender moment forever.
The birth of both my children acted as a catalyst for positive change and strength in my life. Whilst I never planned to have kids, they both arrived at precisely the right time to turn my life around. With their arrival my love for life expanded more than I thought possible.
And the biggest lesson I’ve learned?
Being present to them. Seeing them for who they truly are. I know that I cannot meet all of their needs all of the time, but in 22 years I am finally learning – what I want for them is not always what they want for themselves.
So I get curious, what do they need from me right now? And the answer is normally a variation of – to be seen for who they truly are, unique, beautiful souls.