Sometimes I’m an absent parent. I’m physically there, I only work one day a week, but I’m quite often mentally elsewhere.
Playing with a toddler is time consuming. Moo would happily have me sit there next to her all day. It’s dull. There’s only so many times I can build a tower or quack like a duck before my mind wanders or I feel myself slipping into a state of semi consciousness. Some days I’d much rather check Twitter or pretend to go to the toilet to have five minutes laid on the bed by myself. No ‘parent of the year’ award here.
Sometimes I’m emotionally detached too. I have days when functioning is difficult enough. I long to be hidden under the duvet, sobbing, or staring into space. I go through the motions, Moo is fed and dressed and I’ll go out for something to do, but I’d rather be anywhere else. 10mg of antidepressant sometimes just doesn’t cut it. A vodka would be nice. I pray that Moo doesn’t know. It breaks my heart that I’m not 100% in the moment with her all the time.
But, there are days, occasionally, when I’m just there. I make time to do all the little things she wants to do. We pick up stones, I hold her hand as she walks on every wall, I let her help me hang the washing, I sing with her, I brave the chaos that is arts and crafts. Today was one if those days. We spent longer than I thought necessary to pick up a shrivelled leaf. I sat on the floor until my knees hurt and longer, playing with the dolls house. We bought stickers and I tirelessly picked off the backs just for Moo to stick them one on top of the other. It was blissful. I was there, I was savouring it, I was living for her, just as it should be.
I can’t keep it up. There’s no way I can work at a Blue Peter presenter level day in, day out. But I need to try. Moo deserves my all, the least I can do is put in the effort. The joy on her face as we ‘row the boat’ or her cheers as she helps me unload the washing machine is totally worth it. I’m sure I’ll always need ‘toilet’ breaks, but I vow to give her more of me. To be there in the moment. To imprint these days together onto my memory, as I know they won’t last forever.