My daughter was a loving teacher. She still looked at me with adoration as I fumbled to learn the job, and repeatedly got things wrong. She did not make me feel a failure every time I cried, or had to walk away for a bit to recompose myself. She taught me true grit and perseverance. For the first six weeks of my daughter’s life, I was in agony every time I fed her, and I spent maybe 10 hours a day feeding her. But we pushed through together, and I learned a new skill that I previously had not had.
For the first 32 years of my life, I’d been of the opinion that if I couldn’t win the game, I didn’t want to even try to play.
My daughter taught me that I could improve at something that, initially, I found so hard.
She taught me that patience is not a lake or a well that runs dry, but like a river that flows if you allow yourself to flow with it. She taught me that a bad moment can be followed by a beautiful, magical moment, and that life is too precious for long fights with her father, when we’ll only both say sorry eventually anyway.
I will return to work outside the home next year, and become one of the thousands of working parents in New Zealand, and I look forward to some aspects of that.
But I will do so with a clearer understanding about what’s important in life. I will have many job titles in my career, and work in different offices in different locations. But now, I will always be a parent: the one job you never switch off from.
Freya lives in Auckland with her partner and young daughter. She writes about her life experiences, particularly her early parenting experiences, on her website. She enjoys getting out for walks and outdoor adventures with her family.