The simple gesture that could help another parent feel not so alone

Photo: iStock
Photo: iStock 

When your kids get older it's easy to gloss over the really difficult parts of raising babies and toddlers.

And it's for that reason, I always smile at parents of young children because I know what it's like in the trenches and how lonely it can be. 

It's easy to forget the long days and even longer nights. The severe sleep deprivation and the constant need to be watching your kids is exhausting.

Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto
Photo: Getty Images/iStockphoto 

It's not like when your kids get older and you start to loosen the reigns and get some much-needed quiet time. When you have babies and toddlers, they need you to do nearly everything for them.

From feeding, dressing, bathing, toileting and helping them all of the time, the jobs are endless.

Often, you are the one managing everything on your own. And it can be so lonely.

Although babies and toddlers are amazing and it's a gift to be a part of helping a human being grow, parenting them can also be relentless and at times boring. And let's face it, the conversations can be a little dull or if you have a three-year-old you're most probably being yelled at for not cutting their toast the right way.

Daily life can be much like living in a suburban version of Groundhog Day, but much more hands on. Even a simple trip to the shops can be a nightmare, from the moment you strap them into their car seat.

But for some parents, despite knowing everything could turn to s--- in moments – cue tantrums, endless crying and toilet training mishaps - it might also be the only time they get to interact with adults outside of the home. Leaving the house, might be their much-needed escape for the day.

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And it's for that reason, I always to try look them in the eye and give a big, broad smile (particularly if their child is cracking it).

I'm lucky to be at the stage of my parenting journey to have three kids aged 10 and up. So, I can now go to the supermarket alone or bring a kid to help. And if they behave badly, bribery or threats to take away their device works wonders. I no longer have to lift them up under my arm and make a quick exit.

Although those toddler and baby years are far behind me, I vow not to gloss over the crappy times and extend some kindness to those parents still in the trenches. The days and nights are long during that time period and the loneliness can be really hard.

A simple smile from me, won't change anything, but I hope it helps make their day a little brighter.

We are all in this parenting caper together and it's important to look out for each other and help make another parent feel happier, when they need it most.