Here are some words of wisdom which I have come across since becoming a parent. The ones where, when you first hear them you want to roll your eyes, snigger sarcastically or go ‘yeah right’. Until you think about it…
You may think about it in one of those moments where you have been awoken in the middle of the night and you glance at your alarm clock and think in 53 minutes you are going to go off and wake me up again, is there any point!! It may be while your mind wanders, as you are waiting for the kettle to boil, knowing full well that the drink you are about to make will not be drunk at the temperature you like. So here they are:
1. Listen to your children
If you want your children when they are older to tell you the big things, you have to listen to the little things now. Because right now, the little things to you are the big things to them and if it’s big to them it should be big to you too.
2. Santa doesn’t buy big presents
When it comes to Santa and his different budgets, kids do not understand. How can Santa afford to buy one child an iPad and then buy their friend a book or a t-shirt? Santa should buy kids things of equal value and the big presents come from parents or guardians.
3. Remember your manners
When teaching kids to use manners make sure those who ask for things from them also use manners.
My son learnt a song at school:
‘Please and thank you, please and thank you,
We must say, we must say,
When we ask for something, when we ask for something,
It really annoys me when a few of my relatives insist on picking up every time my kids miss saying please or thank you, (which is not really that often), but they will continually ask or take something from them without a please or a thank you to be heard.
4. Dads are parents too
When they look after their child, they are not babysitting, they are parenting. When a mum looks after the child it is not called babysitting, it should not be called babysitting when the dad does it. Dads can do things better than mums sometimes, well my children’s dad can. I cannot plait my daughters’ hair so it looks decent at all. Her dad can do her hair perfectly, yet people always assume it was me. I correct them.
5. Laundry piles don’t matter
If you have lots of piles of clean washing in your house it is not an issue. It means you put your kids in clean clothes. I can sort dirty washing into loads, I can put washing on, I can empty the washing machine and put it on the clothes horse to dry. But putting it away is sometimes just one step too far. If people who come into your house complain then are they really your friend?
6. A pile of toys means someone is playing
You have toys all over your house. That means the kids are actually allowed to play! Do I get fed up of stepping on Lego? Yes I do. Does my son have fun playing with Lego? Does his face light up? Can he not wait two minutes to show me what he has built? Yes is the answer to all those questions. Does my daughter get all her teddies and tea set out and leave them everywhere? Does she do different voices for each of her teddies when they are talking to each other? Do they have more room on the sofa than I do? Yes is the answer to all those questions as well. My house is my kids’ house too. It is our family home. If you are invited into it and decide to comment on the fact there are toys out than you do not feel you have to come back. You have your DVDs on a rack in your house, they are out. You have your technology out. Do not complain or comment or criticise the fact that I actually let them play with their toys and have them out.
7. You might think they’re terrors, but they’re MY terrors
When people make comments about my kids, I secretly think, well I spend all day with them and love them, the two hours I spent with you I have felt on edge and like I am at the world’s worst job interview. I have actually turned round to someone once when they said ‘Kids eh? Aren’t yours terrors?’ My response was ‘Well, I actually prefer spending all my time with them, more than I do spending half an hour with some adults’. I meant it. It is okay to like spending time with your kids. It is also okay to say your kids wind you up sometimes. It means you are human, even if you haven’t had enough sleep to feel like you are.
Please do not read this and think that I am being judgemental about the way you parent, these are words of advice that I have heard over the years and wished I had known at the beginning of my parenting journey. There is one more thing I want to leave you with though.
You are doing amazingly well, you created and are raising kids who are the future, you are doing it the way that works for you and the way that works for them. No-one can replace you or them, so give yourself a break and just remember if you are worried you are not doing a good enough job, the fact that you are worrying means you are.
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