Presence before Presents! That's how the phrase goes, right?

With my darling wife being otherwise occupied, being a full-time working parent and all, I am in a strangely ok place with this whole "Main Carer" business. That still feels weird to say, but now that I'm the parent who takes the kids to school/nursery 5 days, and is home for them afterwards 4 out of 5 days, it's probably safe to say that title that the nursery forms bestowed upon me with a mighty crown, fits!

Yeah ok, it's been 5 weeks in this (kind of) new role. This hands-on, forward position in team. (I'm going to stop now before I make it even more obvious just how little of sports I know, and I butcher even the metaphors relating to it!) But I am so deadly aware that even though I am here, it's very easy to not be totally here at the same time. Oh, the hours that could be spent scrolling brainlessly through social media, YouTube, or Netflix in the evenings to make me escape into unreality – it's frightening.  

This is the aspect of at-home parenting that needs no comedy, needs no filter or exaggeration. Learning on the job, how to be present and in the room, fully available for your kids; that’s the most beautiful lesson I learn every day. It’s not easy to wean myself off of my phone, but when the kids are home, it’s becoming essential that I do. 

It's not too long until Christmas. I shocked my 9 year old today by pointing out that there are fewer days to go than he had thought! So as much as I am thankful that I am here for the kids as they come out of school, to bear witness to the uniforms, the debris in the lunchbox, and let's not go too far into the after-school restraint collapse, I am growing more aware of the other adult responsibilities that lay before me in the coming month.

Finishing the Christmas decorations at home (yes, they started in November – I'm not sorry!), nativities, Christmas jumper days, Christmas cards for friends, neighbours, teachers etc. I can see it all before me now, and to say I’m not quaking in my slipper socks would be an injustice to the truth!  

So again, I take my hat off to single parents out there in December, especially with multiple children. I’m not going to say “I don’t know how you do it” because I know you have no other choice than to just do it, but the respect I have for you is growing rapidly by the (ever-shortening) day! 

You’ll be hearing what goes on as the month progresses – but pray for me, won’t you?