Well done to our weekly winner who was chosen for an honest account of parenthood – see her entry below.
*The most important thing about parenting is…..*
Well, aside from the obvious – caring for and making sure your children are
safe (which, from listening to the news this week, some people seem to
struggle with) – I think the most important thing about parenting is to do
it YOUR way. There isn’t a RIGHT way to be a parent. Everyone is different.
We should all give ourselves a break.
I can’t speak for everyone but I can talk about my own experiences as a
mother of a 2 year old and a 4 year old. I am currently a full time working
mum and have been since October 2012. Before that I was working much more
locally (now doing an hour commute each way) and only 3 days per week. I
have to say that the change from part time to full time has been a bit of a
shock to the system – although I think a lot of that is the long commute.
The last couple of weeks my husband has been away and things have been
extra tough. I started the two weeks determined that I was going to stay on
top of things but by the end of this week (the end of the second week of
him being away), most of those plans have gone out of the window. I pack
the kids bags 2 minutes before they leave the house (instead of doing it
the night before), the breakfast things get left where they ate it, I don’t
do the washing up after I’ve had my dinner, I don’t get up half an hour
before them – I just put the telly on in their room and give them some
toast to eat while I get in the shower – and I don’t bother with make-up to
save time. I could beat myself up about my lack of effort and planning but
quite frankly, life is hard enough without putting this extra pressure on
myself (I still do it though – this is a work in progress).
I think all mothers feel a certain amount of guilt. There is the guilt we
put on ourselves – for not doing everything perfectly, for not spending
enough “quality” time with our kids, for not always cooking them healthy
wholesome meals (whenever mine get served something that isn’t nuggets and
chips, they turn their noses up at it – unless they are fed it by someone
other than us). Do fathers wrack themselves with guilt like we women do?
Not according to my husband they don’t. And I guess a certain amount of
natural motherly (or female) guilt cannot be avoided. Its just in our
genes. But really, sometimes, we need to cut ourselves (and eachother) a
break. We do things the way we do them. Sometimes we are better at things
and sometimes we cut corners because we’re tired. I have to admit (please
don’t shoot me) that on a few nights over the last 2 weeks, I have thrown
the kids in bed without brushing their teeth (or hair) and on some
occassions my 2 year old daughter has been asleep with her bottle of milk
in her mouth before I’ve managed to undress her, so I’ve changed her nappy
but left her clothed. Is that perfect parenting? No. Probably not. Will it
harm her? No!
My 4 year old boy is obsessed with Star Wars at the moment and insists on
going to bed with his light saber (he calls it a light “saver”) and he
wears a jumper with a hood which he wears up even when he goes to sleep
(because its like the hooded capes that the jedi’s wear in Star Wars). The
hood being constantly up makes his hair so tangly its almost unmanageable.
Can I be bothered to deal with the fight/argument/stress that would be
involved in insisting he doesn’t go to bed with his hood up? No. I’ll save
that fight for another day.
In summary, life & parenting is hard work: whether you are a stay at home
mum, a working at home mum, or a working mum (full or part time). None of
these scenarios are perfect and none of us are perfect. Pick your battles.
Be kind to yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need
it. Sometimes good enough is good enough.