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Wednesday, 9 October 2013

My mummy truths

Like Rachel (who wrote this post, which you should totally read) I am an imperfect, 'normal' mum. I have long since realised that comparing myself to others and trying to be the 'perfect' mother only brings feelings of inadequacy and failure. I have accepted that what is most important in motherhood is the love that I have for my children, that I do my best, and that I keep on trying again and again and again.

So here are my own mum confessions: 

I get frustrated at delay tactics, refusals to do simple tasks, refusals to eat or even try a perfectly good meal, and insistence on doing the exact opposite of what they ought. Sometimes I feel that I spend all day saying, "You need to do x or you're going to bed", and I am annoyed at myself for not knowing how to encourage cooperation more constructively.

Some days our TV is on for too long. Some days that's because instead of turning the TV off after a reasonable period, it gets left on while I fall asleep on the couch or have a shower or cook dinner or whatever it might be.

Sometimes I reprimand one of my children only to realise that they didn't do what I thought they had, or that they had good intentions even if it didn't work out, or that it didn't really matter anyway. Sometimes I take a few minutes to respond to their crying just to make sure I respond calmly...

But on the other hand - I took the time to make sure I would respond calmly. Big drop of awesome right there. (You should read that post too.)

Some days I am really 'with' my kids, and we have a lot of fun. The TV stays off and we read or play outside or bake or go to playgroup. Some days I am really aware of what my kids are trying to  tell me with behaviour that would usually bother me, and we fix things. Sometimes I know exactly what I can do or say that will help my kids understand why we need to do things like, getting dressed, going to the toilet before you have an accident, or not snatching that toy away from your sister. Some days we don't have those issues at all.

I guess my point is that we all need to do our best to be great parents for our kids.
Celebrate the things you do well.
Congratulate yourself when you are patient and are able to teach your children.
Be grateful when your kids have those cooperative days and you don't have to stress.

Do our best, but be kind to yourself when you feel you have fallen short.
Believe that every day is a new day, and this one doesn't have to be like the day before.
The same can be said about every moment.
Know that what matters most is to love your children immensely, and unconditionally.

Monday, 7 October 2013

(On the Receiving End of) Parental Love

As you might expect, I think a lot about the kind of mother I am and want to be, and in particular about how I can make sure that my children know that I love them. Lately I have also been thinking about how that might apply when my children are grown and going through similar experiences (or different ones) to what I am experiencing now. This in turn led me to think about, possibly understand a little better, and definitely appreciate more the things my mother does and how she is showing her love in doing them. It's been a lesson about life and motherhood, and what that means for me as both daughter and mother.

My lovely mummy begins two weeks of 'holidays' from work tomorrow. Why, I hear you asking? Primarily because Jonathan returns to work tomorrow and since I still can't do certain things (like drive!) she is going to help get me to appointments and generally just be around so I don't do things I shouldn't. :P

So, I think there is a slight chance that I have a tendency to be a little bit stubbornly independent and I'll admit that when mum first suggested the idea to me I didn't think that it was necessary - I would be totally fine with everything three weeks after my c-section, right? - and may have been holding back the desire to remind her that I'm a big girl now.  :P Having reached that point now I am very grateful that her help is available to me - that is amazing, but not my main point.

In hindsight, and as I was talking to mumsy today, it has occurred to me that behind words like, "As long as you promise you won't do anything you shouldn't before I get there" is my mum - who still loves me as much as she did when I was 9 and was diagnosed with epilepsy. Who still cares as much as she did when I was 14 (and 15 and 16) and may have liked school if not for the bullies at school. My mother who worries about my wellbeing just as much as when I was 17 and pretty well concussed myself when I passed out making breakfast one morning. My mum who still wants to be there when she can, because how can you switch off being a mum when your child reaches a certain age or gets married and/or moves out of home. Perhaps I am only just beginning to understand that in some instances, letting go is just as hard as holding on and being there.

So, dear mother, thank you. Thank you for every day and every moment that you've loved me since I was born. Thank you for finding it within yourself to spread yourself even further as a single mother of four children and still being there for me and all of us. Thank you for your continued offers of help now, and for always being there to celebrate the small and the great things, as well as to commiserate when things go amiss. I will always owe you too much to repay, and I suppose I will pay it forward instead.

Love always,