There’s no manual for parenthood. It’s harder than most people imagine, but infinitely more rewarding.
I’ve learned in recent years that parenthood is one of those un-winnable games.
Once you think you’ve mastered one level, you’re onto the next – each level with harder puzzles to solve along the way.
Throw separation into the mix and quickly you’ve got two players trying to help one character win, each with conflicting strategies and objectives.
I have Evie on a two-week split timetable and there’s a gap that I don’t see her every two weeks of about five days.
It’s always been this time I’ve struggled most.
Thankfully, children are malleable little creatures and they adjust so quickly; Evie certainly does.
She fully relaxes back into her routine with mum and when she sees me again, it always takes her a little while to warm back up.
Considering I see Evie seven out of nine days that break after seems like a long time indeed.
That’s not to say we don’t always have a great time together, we do. It’s just that the difference is noticeable.
It‘s this time that causes me to question myself most.
Does Evie want to be here?
Am I doing a good enough job?
Is she really happy?
It plays on my mind a lot.
More recently, I’ve tried to remind myself that we all succumb to that self-doubt from time-to-time as parents.
Instead of suffering like I used to, I try to think of self-doubt as not only healthy, but useful.
Questioning myself forces me to continuously examine my behaviour and re-evaluate my approach towards parenting to ensure I’m doing what’s right by my little girl.
There’s no one size fits all strategy for bringing your kids up.
What matters, and what they’ll remember, is that you tried your damned hardest to fill their lives with love, security and laughter.
So keep smiling.