Bringing up kids is wonderful & often so rewarding in so many ways...but it is also much tougher than I thought it would be. This is never more evident in the summer holidays! There is always so much to think about and do all the time, and it seems whatever age the kids are there are new challenges to be faced, boundaries to be put in place, skills to be taught and so on. It's just about manageable when they are well, but when they are ill it's really, really difficult! Often I feel pushed to (& beyond!) my limits, and I have to dig very deep into resilience reserves.
But has it always been this hard or is it getting more difficult? It strikes me that the way we now bring up children, with just one or two parents in a house with the kids is not how evolution intended. For the vast majority of our evolutionary history, there was no means of getting anywhere other than by foot or horseback, so we used to live in close communities with relatives all around. It wasn't just the parents that looked after the children, it was also the aunts, uncles, grandparents, the cousins and so on, who were all just on the doorstep (literally!) that helped too. This meant that the responsibility was shared across many people. Not only taking the strain off the parents, meaning they are less tired, less grumpy (!) but totally advantageous for the children too who would have had a much stronger sense of stability and access to a much wider ranger of knowledge of skills and experience from being brought up by more people.
Do you know anyone that lives within spitting distance of any family members? It just doesn't happen any more. Now we can get on a train or plane and go anywhere, and partly because the grass is always greener (!), and partly due to employment opportunities, most people end up miles, if not hundreds or thousands of away from their family members. My parents are 300 miles away, as is one of my brothers and his family, and my other brother and are relatively near in London, but that is still 2 hours away! This is not because we don't get on, we are extremely close, it's just that life has just taken us to different places to settle down and bring up children.
Imagine how much easier your life would be if your siblings and your parents were all so close by that your children could walk to their houses within seconds and help out with childcare whenever you wanted!