Someone recently asked me, now that I have one daughter finished Year 12 and off at university, if I acknowledge that a child's final year of secondary education is the most difficult year to parent through.
This question not only sent me back into lockdown in my mind - VCE 2020 style - but also sent me reeling down a wormhole in time to find myself sitting outside a prep classroom.
I was juggling a chirpy nearly two-year-old, a cranky tired Miss Four and we were waiting for our very grown-up Preppie to come out and share the latest letter of the alphabet with us. Exciting times.
The question about parenting through the different school years reminded me about how my girls became conscious of their appearance in Year One, had to deal with mean girls in Year Four and how their friends often reinvented themselves in Year Seven.
Individually, my children have faced distinctive trials personally, socially and physically each year which have provided me with fresh parenting challenges and learning.
Although my children's days have been filled with school attendance for fourteen years, in Primary there was lots of help with academic work at home but this became less extensive as the years progressed, with the addition of much more extra-curricular.
My parenting role has changed so much from when my girls were six to sixteen that the job is almost unrecognizable - not only do I not recognize myself but my teens definitely pretend not to recognize me!
Provision of a safe home well-stocked with food and clean laundry has become that, plus plenty of skin care, sanitary products, pain killers, clothes, electronic devices and an 'L' plate driver coach.
While I was so intentional about everything I said to, and around, my daughters when they were little, I'm tired now, and they are tall, and sometimes they seem so determined to ignore my unsolicited, constant, hard-earned, excellent advice from experience that it's no surprise we push each other's buttons and say all manner of things.
Parenting offspring through first year university, Year 11 and Year 9 is feeling fairly good in 2021, I think, although if parenting wasn't the most important occupation on planet earth I'd probably throw in the towel at least once a day.