I love parenting blogs. Obviously I do, I mean, they are what inspired me to start my own. I love reading about others’ perspectives on matters of family, and following their journeys as they grow. Reading articles and books about gentle parenting fills me with energy and the desire to be a better parent to my own children.
But they also make my head spin, and convince me that, no matter what I do, I am going to do my children serious, irreparable emotional damage. It seems that as soon as I get the hang of some parenting technique, someone/a website/a blog/a book is waiting in the wings to tell me that, actually, I’ve got it all wrong.
At this point I imagine myself as a cartoon illustration, sat in the dark at 2am, surrounded by open books and bathed in the glow of a laptop. I’m frantically leafing through pages, highlighting important points, recalling a million scenarios over the past week in which I probably broke my kid(s), imagining them telling a therapist about me in 20 years time, pulling my hair out and wondering why on earth I gave up smoking.
I used to think that the oft-used saying “every child, every parent, every family is different” was a cop-out used by parents who were Doin’ It Rong – but thankfully, I’ve grown up a LOT since then. I also had two children who showed me just how impatient, selfish and irritable I can be – and just how hard it is to raise small people.
So, in the spirit of honesty, following are my Rubbish Mum Confessions. I often get the feeling that people in my life feel as though I think I’m some kind of expert, some kind of perfect parent. This could not be further from the truth. Despite my best efforts, they will probably end up in therapy anyway.
1. I shout too much. It sucks, and I hate it, but that’s who I am. I do my best not to shout *at* the children, but sometimes I do. I always say sorry, and I always feel like shit after.
2. I am impatient. It usually doesn’t take long from the time I get up to start uttering such phrases as “for goodness’ sake”, “how many flippin’ times”, “Oh *insert name of child here*!! *loud sigh*” and “For crying out loud!!” It doesn’t take long for me to get riled up at bedtime/during the night, either. My 3yo has learnt to say “calm down, stressy mummy” when I get like that, which always works to snap me the hell out of it. Love him.
3. Our diet is far from perfect. Our meals are generally pretty balanced, and the kids eat a lot of fruit, but Monkey in particular is very partial to chips, chocolate and baked goods. I also get very shocked looks, usually, when my BLW baby gets to try a small piece of chocolate when I have some, but whatever. He loves it, and I would rather he and his brother didn’t grow up with a notion of ‘bad’ and ‘good’ food. It’s just food.
4. Although I love breastfeeding, and have no intentions of stopping, I sometimes wonder what it would be like to formula feed a baby*. I wonder what it would be like to not have to be around the baby all. the. time. I wonder what it would be like to be able to let my husband put both kids to bed every once in a while – none of which are possible because our boob-loving baby won’t take a bottle.
5. Sometimes, I really don’t like being a stay at home mum. I know how incredibly lucky I am that I am able to be at home with my kids, and I still wouldn’t go to work unless I had to, but sometimes I wish that when my husband asks me what I did today I could answer with something other than “Umm, I did some laundry. Played with the kids. Went into town and bought wet wipes. Went on facebook for a bit.”
6. I find playing with my 3yo to be pretty boring most of the time. Not all of the time – I could happily spend hours drawing, painting, cutting, sticking and glittering with him. However, he gets bored of that pretty quickly and would rather I play Mummy Duck and Baby Duck** with him. I like playing Mummy Duck and Baby Duck. Just not for hours at a time.
Wow, I really do sound crap, don’t I? It pains me to post this actually. It makes me sound as though I don’t adore my kids, as if I find them to be burdensome and irritating. Nothing could be further than the truth. I adore them, really and truly, and I feel totally blessed to be a mother. However, I think it is vitally important that parents, and parenting bloggers especially, are honest about their shortcomings and their true feelings about motherhood. None of us are perfect. All of us fuck up sometimes. Sometimes, we really would rather be at the pub than at home parenting our kids. It’s not healthy for us to try to show a perfect exterior. We are human, we are raw, we are real. Embrace it, and love your children wholeheartedly. At the end of the day, that’s what matters most.
Join my Rubbish Mum Club! What do you do that you know you “shouldn’t”? What don’t you do that you know you should?