I wasn’t born to be a mum. Every now and then, you come across someone who you feel like has all their shit together, and who seems to just have this parenting thing down. For some reason among my friends I am that person.
It’s come up on more than one occasion, and every time it baffles me. But here’s the thing; they don’t see the everyday stuff. They don’t see the bad days (well, not all of them anyway!) They don’t see me hiding in the loo just after breakfast scrolling through Instagram. I’d like to think I’m pretty open with just about everyone about the reality of parenting. But how many times have I really confessed that time I really raised my voice? Or the time that I cried in the street with Amelia because she refused to walk the last few steps to the house and I had an armful of shopping?
Hearing friends and other people talk about how they perceive me as a mum has got me thinking, though. There are things I know I could do better, and there are things I know I need to work on. But I guess there are also things that I do pretty well. We’re great at knowing our own faults, but how good are we at celebrating the things we are good at? Parenthood is crazy hard a lot of the time, and some days we deserve a pat on the back!
With that in mind, I’ve come up with a few reasons why I am good at this mumming lark. Things that do deserve a little pat on the back, not just for me but for all of us out there worrying we’re not good enough.
Take Time To Appreciate The Small Things
This is one that sometimes I am guilty of forgetting to do, but when I’m on form its such an important one. I’m not talking about the little things that we, as adults, often forget to appreciate, but taking the time to appreciate the tiny things that amaze our kids every single day. “Mum come and look at this!” for the 50th time of the day can literally have us rolling our eyes so hard they get lost up there forever! But imagine what it’s like seeing a ladybird up reeeeeeally close for the first ever time. The way its wings twitch and its tiny little legs move. Sharing those moments bonds you in such a strong way.
Listening Instead Of Talking
Amelia, like most kids, has so much to say! It can be easy for her voice to kind of turn into background white noise, with me nodding and chiming in “uh-huh” in all the right places. But she’s a wiley one, that kid! She caught me out today – apparently she asked if it was ok to wee on the carpet and I, of course, dutifully nodded “uh-huh”.
“Mum! I can’t really wee wee on the floor, listen to me!”
When I really listen, she has the ability to make me laugh, cry, be inquisitive, and all manner of other things! She’s a true comedian, but she also says the most adorable things. If I listen hard enough, sometimes I can hear myself echoed in her, and that gives me a reason to pause and reflect. Do I like the way I sound?
Deep Breaths, Count To Five
This one is firmly in our lives now. Both me and Amelia do it when we’re stressed, and I want to make sure Wills cottons on when he’s ready too. When anything starts to kick off, or one of us starts to get stressed I say;
“Deep breaths, count to 5. In the nose, out the mouth, in the nose, out the mouth…”
Until we’ve taken 5 deep breaths. Dealing with whatever the issue is usually a lot easier after 5 deep breaths.
Stop And Reflect
Every day I take a little bit of time to reflect on the day. What was great, what wasn’t so great. Would I have changed anything – about the kids behaviour, about my own? Sometimes it’s hard to admit when you’re wrong, but I’d say 80% of the time I can trace poor kid behaviour back to myself. Not listening properly, raising my voice, knee-jerk reactions.
I don’t beat myself up about it, I just agree with myself that I’m going to work on it ready for the next day.
I Wasn’t Born To Be A Mum
None of these things come naturally to me, and all of them have taken hard work and determination to keep trying. I’m naturally hot-headed, impatient, judgemental, and critical. But I’m also nurturing, curious, and a bit creative.
So I’ve created these ways that work for me, and work for the kids. Sometimes the things I create don’t work, or they suddenly stop working and I have to think really quickly of brand new ways to deal with things. That is what we do, as parents. And that is what makes all of us bloody amazing!
Give yourself a pat on the back, mama! You weren’t born to do this, but you’re killing it!