Most parents will understand where I’m coming from when I say that parenting can go from a heart melting, AWWWW moment, to a head screaming, hair pulling UUURRRGGGHHH moment. You can often wonder how the moments switched, or even merged and how you even got there!
I have often read that you’re not parenting right unless you’ve turned into a screaming, raving, lunatic. (Don’t judge, we’ve all been there!!!! Well done you if you haven’t yet, but give it time, we’re only human!!!!!) If this is the case, why did I pressure myself to be a perfect, Mary Poppins type, parent, if it’s normal to have the UUURRRGGGHHH moments? From finding out I was pregnant with my first, I had a magazine subscription for Mother and Baby magazine to make sure I was going to be a ‘perfect parent’. I used to religiously watch ‘Super Nanny’ and strictly follow her rules on time out, bedtime routines, chores and reward charts. Yes, they did work most of the time but I kind of feel, now my children are growing up that I missed out on those extra cuddles they wanted when putting them to bed, and maybe some special AWWWW moments, because ‘Super Nanny’ said I should kiss them goodnight and leave them to fall asleep on their own. Apparently, gives them independence and promotes a good sleep routine. So I was lead to believe…… Well, my oldest, now has to sleep with the light on as she is terrified of the dark and it still takes her ages to fall asleep. Not really the independence I thought ‘perfect parenting’ would bring. She often climbs in to bed with me now, after having a nightmare, I let her these days and I cherish it, knowing she is coming to me when she is scared and I am a comfort to her. Well the former scenario of taking them back to their own bed didn’t work did it?
It wasn’t just ‘Super Nanny’ it was other people telling me, “You’ll make a rod for your own back doing that” I was so intent on being perfect at being a Mum, and not having the UUURRRGGGHHH moments, I listened instead of finding my own way. Now, I just want to go back and do it all again, MY WAY!!!! NOOOOOO I don’t mean have anymore babies, just if someone is willing to lend me their time machine, so I can just go back and have more cuddles and tell the old me, to tell those judgey perfect parents where to go! You know you’d never get the time machine back, right?
Yes, I know those judgey people are just trying to stick their ‘ore’ in, (oops) I mean help. I’m sure I may have ‘tried to help’ other parents myself at one point or another, but I just wish I knew what I know now. Don’t we all? Now, if someone asks my opinion or how I would do something, I tell them but I don’t, by any means, expect them to do it my way. Why should they? They know their own situation better than I do, but if my way helps inspire them to find their own way then I’ve been a good friend. I do still ask the opinions of others on certain situations as this does help to steer me in the right direction, but it doesn’t stop me exploring other options too.
You see, by not doing it my own way in the past, made me lose the person I was, made me doubt my own decisions and even prevented my own children’s personality from shining through. I thought I was being the ‘perfect parent’ or trying to be perfect, raising perfect children. What I actually was doing was setting myself up for a fall. Realising now, no one can be perfect 100% of the time and with an expectation of perfect to live up to, I felt a failure when I got it wrong. I don’t want anyone else to feel like that! I was so hung up on being perfect, I missed special AWWWW moments because it was followed by a UUURRRGGGHHH moment that need to be put into time out or laid back down to sleep. Now I know, no one is perfect and our children are not perfect. It is so wrong to expect it.
Take Facebook, most of us share our best experiences, the good bits. Seeing everyone in, whats seems like, their perfect lives, when I’m smack bang in a UUURRRGGGHHH moment can often leave a bitter taste in my mouth, fueling the need to make my own life perfect, so I can show everyone how perfect my life is, I can do perfect too! I have since realised that everyone has these UUURRRGGGHHH moments and their lives are not perfect. The moments they chose to share with us all are their AWWWW moments and then every year Facebook reminds us of those moments so we can AWWWW all over again. I know enjoy seeing everyone’s AWWW moments instead of feeling like it’s a personal kick when I’m down.
I don’t mean never to discipline (I hate this word!) my children or teach them right from wrong, I don’t want to raise delinquents, but every child deserves to be the person they are supposed to be. We need to pick our battles and not lose those special moments or drive away their character. We, as adults, all have bad days and good days, we can cause those UUURRRGGGHHH moments ourselves, hormones and lack of sleep, amongst other things fuel them!!! So, as my girls get older, why should it be any different for them? I do pity John, living in a house of hormones. No wonder he works away.
You see that however horrible those UUURRRGGGHHH moments are, and how ever many of those moments you get in one day, it’s those AWWWW moments that make up for them. The first cuddle after hours of the worst pain ever and the longest 9 months of waiting to meet them. The first smile after 4 weeks of no sleep and tending to a screaming, feeding and pooping monster. The first chuckle, the cooing and finding their voice, the list goes on. Now my two are 9 and 6, they still give me those AWWWW moments everyday and these are what I hold onto and not the UUURRRGGGHHH moment that usually follows 30 seconds later, as I turn into that screaming, raving lunatic, I remember and I’m proud to say ‘We’re not perfect, we do crazy, we are normal’.
You all understand what I’ve rambled on about don’t you? Lets stop beating ourselves up and enjoy every moment!