Probably the hardest parenting lesson of all….

The Ups, Downs and In-betweens of Boat Mama


sad-girl-on-steps-1371872.jpgI remember vividly the sleepless nights and exhausted days of my daughter’s early childhood. The regular waking, every two hours for twenty minutes or more. The desperation I sometimes felt when I heard her stirring yet again and I had a full day of teaching Year 8 & 9 starting in four hours, and had only had three hours’ sleep myself.

 I wouldn’t change it now, those long nights with her held in my arms, I don’t regret any of the attachment parenting choices I made (extended breastfeeding, co-sleeping, not leaving her to cry and so on) which many people said at the time were creating a lot of my difficulties. But those times are so short, looking back.

At the time, my 3am mantra was, “this too shall pass”. But what I didn’t realise was that those were the easy days. In those days, I could make her happy so easily. I was her world, and as long as I was there she felt safe and secure and loved. Now, when she is out there in the big world, I can’t protect her like that any more. I can’t prevent her interactions with other people from hurting her and causing her pain and damage.

 She’s having something of a friendship issue at the moment, and it breaks my heart because she can’t understand it. She doesn’t know how to present anything other than an honest face, and she doesn’t know why she’s been cut out in the way she has. She doesn’t want to play with her other friends because she likes this particular friend, and the games they’ve been playing for weeks together. I can’t help, I can’t intervene because I’m not there. I hate to see her so sad, and I hate to feel so helpless.

Part of my mind says it’s a lesson she has to learn, part of me hates that realism and that cynicism. I can advise her, I can talk to adults at school, but I can’t stop her hurt and that’s probably the hardest parenting lesson of all.


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This is a blog written by a variety of people living and parenting in Gloucestershire today and sharing the ups downs and in-betweens of real family life.


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