Admit that ONE thing you feel awful about involving being a mom. Get it off your shoulders. Once you’ve written it down, you are NO LONGER allowed to feel bad. It’s over with, it’s in the past. Remember, you’re a good mom!
Well, my Bad Parenting Moment for today takes us waaaay back, to when Chas was a baby and I became pregnant with Sam. And then when Sam was a baby and I became pregnant (surprise!) with Max. When I'm pregnant, the sun does not shine. The birds do not sing. I am not a nice loving fun mommy at ALL. I remember so many times, yelling at my tiny sons for NO GOOD REASON, not wanting them to be near me, feeling too exhausted to function. I remember feeling nauseous one day and little Sam came up to me and put his little hands on my face and said, "I yuv you, mum", and I said with disgust, "EEEW! WASH YOUR HANDS!" and at that moment I knew that I was pregnant with Max, because a little sane corner of my brain said "You are not behaving like yourself." I spent the next nine months trying to act like a grownup and mostly failing. I wonder what the boys thought, in their tiny little brains? One minute, Mum was Mum, and the next minute she is standing outside the bathroom screaming at a two-year-old and a three-year-old "JUST BRUSH YOUR FUCKING TEETH!"
I am sure I traumatized my kids with my weird behavior. I remember sitting on the bed sobbing FOR NO REASON, and Sam putting his arms around me and rocking me, and singing Bob Marley's "No, woman no cryyyy" which made me cry more, of course. I remember Chas becoming much more grownup and responsible than he should have. I need looking after when I'm pregnant, and it's awful that the babies had to do so much of the looking after.
And then, the baby is born and I quickly become Myself again: Exhausted and overworked, but able to deal with life's day-to-day crises with Logic and Love and A Sense Of Humour. Suddenly, the sky is blue and look! A butterfly!
To remind yourself that you ARE a good mom, list SEVEN things you love about your kids, you love doing with your kids, or that your kids love about you. These are the things to remind yourself of EVERY DAY that you rock!
1) My kids are so inventive! There is always a game going on, with all kinds of rules and sub-plots, maps, costumes, made-up history and language... Maybe they get this from books? I sometimes detect a flavour of "Narnia" or "The Hobbit", and I just love to listen to them play. There's a constant chatter, and everyone has a say.
2) They love to cook and eat, and to be in the kitchen. Grating cheese, washing dishes, making smoothies, making a huge mess, cleaning up, setting the table "like a restaurant" with flowers, asking "would anyone like some water?" when they get up to get some for themselves, making brownies or cake out of a box, stirring sauce or fudge, or just sitting at the kitchen table chatting while life goes on around them. They will eat pretty much anything, which makes the whole mealtime thing pleasant. I remember explaining to Sean, back when Chas was just a baby, how important it was to me that we have a kitchen table and use it. We went out and bought a great table and six chairs at Court's, and it is so dinged up now, stained with paint and glue, scratched, and even a little wobbly but it is the absolute centre of our household.
3) They are BRAVE. Sometimes, I have to look the other way but they are usually the first kids to jump from the highest jetty, swim the deepest, climb the highest, ride the fastest, swing the furthest. They never tease other kids or try to make them do daring stuff (except sometimes Chas and Sam dare Max!) but they LOVE to do the daring stuff. I like their fearless natures, and I try to keep them informed: what to do if you are bleeding/someone is knocked out/a child is drowning. Teaching safety and first aid is my way of staying calm! Even quite a young child can learn basic safety and when to holler for a grownup.
4) They follow the rules. They listen. They obey. My kids know when to bend or break rules, and can become temporarily deaf (Sam in particular), but generally, if there is a crisis and orders are snapped out in quick succession they jump. They can be relied on to do what's necessary if we're packing for a weekend away, loading or docking a boat, running from a squall, donning life jackets, standing still for sunblock.... sometimes other kids drive me batty because they just can't follow simple instructions, and I feel sorry for them. My boys will do what they have to and be off whooping and hollering while other kids are being followed around with the sunblock or life jackets, whining. I think that obedient kids are happier AND safer.
5) Lately, the boys have been bargaining. They will approach me or their Dad with a unified front, and lay out all of the reasons why they should be allowed a later bedtime / a Nintendo DS / more computer time. They are so persuasive that they may even get their DS (they have, together, saved enough to buy a second hand one on Ebay including games), forcing me to go back on my solemn sworn anti-gameboy word. Interesting. I like the discussions.
6) They are loving, compassionate, touchy-feely boys. If I lie down and say "Uuuuuurgh, I'm pooped and my feet hurt", there will be a boy there with expert massage technique, kneading my aches away. They like to receive a massage too, and will ask for a back rub when they've been very active. They also notice when someone's not feeling good, and offer tea and sympathy and practical help.
7) They tell me that I'm the best Mum in the world. They think their Dad is the coolest. Usually they think that their family, though a little odd, is wonderful. They love each other. And when they don't, it's only for a few minutes. That's something special, and I know we'll go through phases where they are horrible or we are dreadful or teenage sullenness sets in; but it won't last. We will enjoy one another's company always.
Speaking of enjoying each other's company, we are heading out for our annual Summer Hols Treat, so I will be mostly off the air for the next week or two. I have a few posts scheduled, though, so stay tuned! Comment! Email! I will try to get online when I can, and catch up with everyone's latest. Hope your holidays are sunny!