Ross Good (aka The Stented Papa) is a stay at home dad since needing four stents at the age of 37 and is sharing snippets of parenting wisdom
So we’re just over two weeks back to school for the nips and routine has started to embed itself in our house - both for parents and children. But let me tell you, there are some fairly tired bodies in the mornings and especially towards the end of the week.
There’s definitely a big adjustment for the little ones when it comes to back to school time. Summer time allows a relaxing of the bed-times as well as waking up times and it takes time to re-establish a proper sleeping pattern come September.
I can tell you that we aren’t quite fully there yet. Even this morning I had to peel Nip 1 out of her bed and give her a piggy back down to the kitchen table in order to help wake her up. The issue for Nip 1 is she finds it very difficult to go to sleep and will often be awake in her bedroom for over an hour after story time has been completed.
This ensures wake up the next morning is trickier than it should be. It’s tough on their little bodies and minds though - being back to school, I mean.
Having to do homework on top of a full school day is hard on them for sure. Nip 1 is pretty good with hers thankfully - but there’s no doubt it’s a hard one to have to swallow after a full day using your brain at their age.
Back in our day...
Nip 1 gets a combination of spellbound, mental maths, handwriting, English reading (three pages to read approximately 12 to 14 lines, three times nightly).
I honestly can’t remember but I don’t think we got as much homework at age seven as children do today? Once our homework was done, we were told to get outside and play only really returning for food, bath time and bed.
Most sports or activities were free but today is a different world. Extra activities are 99.9% fee based and here in Dublin they can be quite pricey depending on what the activity is.
We also parent differently today. Are we too cautious when it comes to letting our children out to play? Maybe, but then again is that based on where we live? Possibly.
Neighbourhoods are also different today. Growing up in Longford there was always a great community feeling where parents would knock into each other for tea/coffee and chat almost daily.
If you need to borrow something like milk for example, normally it wasn’t a bother. While that still exists today, how many times does it happen on a regular basis? My bet is it’s nowhere near as much as it used to be as in some cases neighbours can be near strangers today. Maybe that’s because I live in Dublin now, I’m not sure but it’s definitely different versus a few decades ago.
After School Activities...
For me, I find there’s a fine line between getting the number of activities I want the nips to do versus overkill. Is there a magic number? If there is, I’m yet to figure it out 100%.
Nip 1 has something on every day of the week this school year bar Sunday. From gymnastics to drama, from football to chess and swimming lessons, I’m constantly double guessing myself as to whether or not I've signed her up to too many classes.
Parenting guilt is real folks, I’ll tell ya!
Then I think about me when I was seven. We were on the go all the time. I don’t remember ever being that tired that I just wanted to chill. We turned out alright - I think!
So why am I questioning myself over Nip 1’s activity list for the week? There are so many benefits for her in participating in these classes and I’m keen to make sure she has fun while learning, which thankfully she tells me she is. Yet when I see how tired she can be at times (normally Thursday or Friday) I start to think otherwise. Balancing act.
This parenting malarky is tricky business in today’s world but there surely isn’t anything dull about it!
Chat next week folks,
Ross - The Stented Papa