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mat. I remember all of us catching the vomiting bug and having to feverishly run round after two infants who didn’t have a clue what was happening nor the vocabulary to tell me how bad they were feeling. I realise now that a lot of those early years were spent stressed out and exhausted and dreading all the exasperated mornings my husband closed the door behind him, when I had to break the day in to manageable chunks just to get through it.

Dads can be more hands-on I don’t feel so isolated now, as our parent-

ing is more evenly balanced. Dads seem to be more involved in older children’s lives. For a start, they appear able to relate to them better now they’re proper little people, rather than pre- cious, delicate babies who cling to mummy because she feeds them. As children grow up, they take more of an interest in parents’ hobbies and this gives dad a chance to take them out on the golf course or to the swimming pool or perhaps into his workshop. Dads love this sort of family bonding and so do children.

I actually have some time to myself

And because dads are enjoying the sports and hobbies that bigger kids can now do, mums have more time to themselves! When my two were very small I wanted to be with them all the time and they needed that. But, now, I am proud to see them growing up with confidence and independence. They have busy itineraries (far more so than me!). They do sports, art, drama, school trips, music and, more and more so now, things like quiet reading. Yes, quiet!

There are so many more things we can do as a family

As a family, we can now do a lot more too. We can all go to the cinema and see a film which is truly good fun for everyone, not just an invasion of colourful tinkling tunes and animated fluffy characters trying to assault your senses (oops!

made MAY / JUNE 2014

Joanna Mitcham is the author of The Glue between our Bones, available on Amazon.


Nowadays, things are more exciting and there are no tantrums

I mean tug at your heart strings). We can play board games and cards, stay out together a little later, go climbing or kayaking or camping – all with relative ease. We no longer require a separate trailer to haul about the pram, car seat, travel cot, bumbo seat, high chair, baby bath, toys, special blankets, carefully prepared food, breast pump, bottles, portable potty, change of clothes, blender.... In fact, on a whim we can call the kids, grab our jackets and head out for a walk. A real walk, where we actually get to stretch our legs and not just toddle to the end of the block in an excruciating doubled over stance, with a toddler attached to one finger on each hand.

So, I confess - love them growing up! I have

amazing memories of them when they were little bundles which I could just pick up and cuddle. But, nowadays, things are more exciting and there are no tantrums. My children are actually well mannered, helpful and funny people. I love being around them and I can’t wait to see what happens in the next few years. n

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