It is safe to say that parenthood has taken its toll (mostly on my mental stability). It has changed me as a person, it has changed my looks but most of all, it has changed how I look at situations.
Before having kids I was judgmental towards those already fighting that battle, I thought dummies were for lazy parents trying to keep their kid quiet and when I saw children tantrum in public I assumed it was because they weren’t well disciplined, how wrong was I?
I am laying here in bed on a Sunday morning with a one year old taking everything out of my drawers, doing his best impression of a dinosaur at me and laughing hysterically about how much fun it is making a mess. I know I should get up and stop him but after being poked in the eye and kicked in the boob all night, I’m just going to hide out in my bed-den a little longer.
Some days I surprise myself, we do the school run on time, I then plan some arts and crafts with the two little ones and it doesn’t end up looking like a failed Pinterest project, I understand my five year old’s homework (school was a long time ago – don’t judge me), I cook a dinner with vegetables and manage a bath without the usual fight of not having enough room to lay down and be a mermaid (if the kids got out I’d have plenty of room for it).
Other days however, I do not feel as qualified to parent. It is a fight from the second the girls wake up, and the boy’s favourite toy is the toilet brush. I still laugh when American people say ‘duties’ – clearly I am not mature enough to raise children? I am the type of bad mum who takes a picture when the boy is trying to put our pet turtle in his mouth before rescuing it.
I’d say I gave up on the idea of being a ‘perfect mum‘ when my relationship fell apart. It was hard, really hard becoming a single mum (but a co-parent) and I realised I had to give myself a break and that no one is perfect, it’s a learning process. Together, we found a routine and discovered how to really cling on to the good days.
Every kid is different and needs a parent that suits them. Mine are mad and I definitely fit that criteria. I have a few tips for the mums who have given up caring about the judging eyes…
Any snacks, all of the snacks, to fill the little mouths of our children so whining cannot escape.
Give yourself space, even if it is for two minutes so you can have a decent poo whilst you scroll through Facebook (don’t pretend that you don’t do it), or to shove a chocolate bar down you, so you don’t have to share. They might protest but they are not going to die (although my three year probably feels as though she could die from lack of attention).
‘If you stop trying to touch your brothers willy you can have a sticker later’, ‘If you eat your dinner then you can have pudding’, ‘If you stop being a little shit you will be my favourite for the day’ – obviously the last one is just in my head.
Don’t wake them, horns pop out of their sweaty little heads and they start to turn red. New mums, if it’s just wee, don’t change the nappy through the night. I used to change my first baby constantly, even if it was a little wee, she would be very grumpy the next day.
I’m sure you’re doing a great job, some days you will feel up to your elbows in baby poo, you probably haven’t showered for a few days (a week) and I won’t go into shaving, or lack of it, but it won’t always be this way, the time will go so fast and before you know it they will be all grown up and you still won’t be shaving your legs.
Keep going, keeping learning along with your babies and ignore judgement from anyone outside of your family bubble. All that matters is how you find ways to cope through parenting. After all, we are kind of stuck with them now.
About Hayley Shirley
Image credit: Flickr, Imperfect life by Mark Turnaukas, 4th May 2011