This is the third post in our Parenting series – if you missed the first and second, you can catch up here and here.

Today’s post is by our guest blogger; Toby.

Have you ever fallen asleep mid-sentence in the process of telling a made up on the spot story, through sheer exhaustion. Only to be woken by one larger than average two year old ‘body slamming’ you on your face? No? I have to tell you, it forced me to consider the direction of my life.

Not because of the pain of your lips being pressed suddenly against your teeth cutting them to ribbons and then the pain of your neck twisted 90 degrees flat against the floor.

Not because by the young ruffian and prime suspect is now howling with laughter at your predicament (shouts of agony and surprise).

Amazingly, it’s not even because the other perpetrator in this criminal aberration, without batting an eyelid at your sprawling carcass, now coolly demands the continuation of the story.

The real reason I have to consider where I am at in life is because, without even blinking, I continue the story. I just went on with the story! I give no thought to violent retribution or even storming out in a fit of pique. I do not rue the day I told my wife during marriage preparation that I would like to have children with her. After running through all the trials and tribulations that brought me to that strangely comfortable piece of carpet in their bedroom I know that I don’t regret having children. I don’t wish them away either – I just make sure the youngest ever WWF competitor to wear pyjamas is not injured by his latest top rope move and get on with it.

Later, while rinsing my mouth out, bloodied but unbowed it comes to me that nothing else, no other life experience could have done this to me. I know that unconditional love is given by me, to them in a heartbeat without a second thought.

Of course I wish the journey wouldn’t be punctuated by moments of acute pain, or being forced into accepting that the Geneva Convention’s ban on sleep deprivation can never apply to my family. I also know that the worst is yet to come, trying to comfort a child bullied at school while feeling their pain yourself, or struggling not to correct your own regrets through the lives of your children, letting them make mistakes for themselves.

After gently shaking my head in surprise I realise that while I can do this for my own children, I could never even begin to imagine how I could do it for the whole human race. Then I hear a cry, and trudge, exhausted, up the stairs to administer a gentle cuddle, soothing whisper, or a drink, and the thought passes away in the plumbless depths of the past…