In my last blog I wrote about the challenge of being honest and authentic about our parenting experience and the pressure that there can be to “perform” and be seen as “successful”. Here are a few of my parenting confessions that show the side of life that the Facebook pictures don’t!
CONFESSION 1: Sometimes I am way too concerned with being SEEN to do the right thing and be accepted. This can be a particularly tough one if you have a diverse mix of friends with different, but possibly quite strong views on parenting! One example of this is that I let my preschool children drink squash – all the time. I know that this is a no no in for many parents, but the only time my children want to drink water is when they are supposed to be going to sleep. I just want them to be hydrated and it not to be a huge battle. However, in order to make myself feel better in public I generally hide the colourful liquid in opaque cups and bottles so no one else can see!
CONFESSION 2: I find my phone way too compulsive – text, WhatsApp, but mainly endless nonsense on Facebook. Despite this I am terrible at replying to text messages as what really happens is I mainly get absorbed in the stuff other people post about their day. Why is it so compulsive even when I know there is unlikely to be anything earth shattering? I think it’s just an opportunity to escape Cebids, the carnage that covers the floor of my house and constantly tending to the needs of others. In the absence of being able to sit and read a good book or even pee on my own 5 minutes in cyberspace is a form of escapism. I don’t like it and I try very hard to manage it, but there it is. In the middle of the day it is sometimes nice to remember I am not the only adult in the whole of my tiny world.
CONFESSION 3: I feel the urge to shout at people who tell me to enjoy every minute because it all goes by too quick. Really? EVERY MINUTE???? Actually please could I have permission to really NOT ENJOY some minutes? I know this time is precious – that’s why I am actively limiting my work time despite financial pressure. That’s why every weekend the no 1 priority is fitting in family time. That’s why I try so, so hard to be patient when they scream at me and fight over my lap and so much more because I know this will be gone in a heartbeat. But really?? It’s very hard to enjoy the moment when they vomit everywhere including in my hair, when getting out of the house and into the car with shoes and coats on everyone feels utterly impossible or when I am so tired I don’t know what to do with myself and I just want to cry for no other reason that I’m REALLY, REALLY TIRED. This doesn’t mean I love my kids less or don’t appreciate the roof over my head, the NHS, free education, absence of persecution or any other pressing big picture issues. It’s just that in that moment it really wasn’t enjoyable
I’m aiming for savouring every one of the precious, exquisitely beautiful moments that occur throughout the day and accepting that the price is A LOT of mess and hard work surrounding those. I’m working on the fact that I really need to be happy with how I parent regardless of others’ views on what are, in fact, minor issues and that sometimes a few minutes escapism isn’t terrible, as long as it isn’t all day. I think for me that’s far more realistic!