Celebrating Parents….

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    Emily, the writer of Keeping Time, one of the blogs I’ve recently come to follow, is having a link up party today to celebrate parents so I thought I’d join in…

    I found Emily by chance one day after she made a comment on my blog to enter a give away. I hadn’t seen her name pop up before, so in typical nosey-Kat style I clicked on her profile to see if she had a blog. (Am I the only one that sometimes does that to new people visiting me?).

    Well, I have to say that I absolutely adored Emily’s writing from the moment I set eyes on her blog! Emily has an amazing way with words.
    Seriously amazing!
    Her blog is an honest diary of her life and travels. I love the fact that she keeps it very real, and I especially find that I can relate to so much of Emily’s story due to the fact that our husbands both work away, we both have two daughters, and we both live a long long way from “home”… So if you haven’t visited her already you should.

    Anyway I’ve been thinking of penning some thoughts on parenting for a while, so this has given me the nudge to do it and link up to Emily’s celebration of parenting.
    Bear with me though… it’s raw, not very thought out, and I’m not likely to proof read it. I’m just telling you now so that you can hopefully gloss over the roughness of it 😉

    I also don’t know how much of a “celebration” it is…
    But it is my {current} story, experience, thoughts, and my “real” on being a parent…

    ***

    5 something am…
    “Dudd Monnin”…
    *Donk* … The sound of Abbie giving me my good morning “kiss”
    {aka “duck quickly & watch out for your nose because a hard head is coming at you fast” type kiss!}

    Errrrgghhhhh **Groan**…  slowly I start to come to from my deep slumber

    “Good Morning Abbie…”

    I SO want to bury my head under the pillow right now and go back to sleep!
    I wonder if I ignore her will she go away?

    But ohhhhh no, wait, here’s the other one…

    “Good Morning Mummy!!” Said with such a bright, cheery, very LOUD voice…

    *internal groan* – there goes the idea of more sleep then!…

    “Good morning Hannah… darling there’s no need to shout at me, it’s very early. Can you put your quiet voice on please?!”…
    “Ok Mum”…
    …. “Mum, can we have breakfast please?”
    “Hannah, can you just give me a minute to wake up please?”
    “But I’m SO hungry and I want breakfast”
    “I will get you breakfast in a minute, I just need a second to wake up first!”

    ** Closes eyes again briefly in the vain hope that this situation will all disappear and I will be transported back into the wonderful land of Nod**

    **sniff ** **sniff again** {but not too deeply}
    ** groan**
    “Abbie, have you got a dirty nappy?”
    big Abbie grin
    ** Bigger GROAN**

     “Ok girls, lets go change Abbie’s nappy…”

    Hannah: “Then we’ll get me breakfast – that sounds like a great idea… heheHEH…”

    “Hannah, again with the shouting!”
    (and then I think to myself – seriously, what the hell is funny to you about what you just said to warrant that laugh?!)
    **sigh**

    ***

    And that my friends is the start to my mornings, 9 times out of 10.
    A few times this week already it’s featured a 4 something am but mostly it’s in the mid 5ams.

    And no, it doesn’t seem to matter what I do and what I try, they are ready to start their day at that time or all hell breaks loose. (The sun does rise really early here I suppose but still).

    I am so NOT a morning person so I have to say that such an early start does not start my day off in a well and loving fashion! In fact usually within 10 minutes of being woken up by these gorgeous variable alarms I’m already having a case of 
    “The Dreaded Mothers Guilt”….

    “If I was a “good” mother I wouldn’t be wanting to shut them back in their bedroom and lock the door and go back to sleep right about now, I would be more than cheerful about getting up to get them breakfast!”…

    …. and then the second guessing shortly follows suit…

    (This is a general list of the type of things I mean)
    (and these questions are rhetorical just in case you miss that part…)

    “I should spend more time reading with my kids”
    “Well – I’m trying to do this alone for the most part & run a business… I’m sure I can be forgiven for not reading a few more stories…”

    “I should spend more time cooking a more nutritionally balanced menu for my kids”
    “Well – if they weren’t so darn fussy that would help. Maybe it’s good for them to learn that if they don’t like what I serve up then they can go hungry?! They eat ok don’t they?”

    “I should spend more time doing fun ‘educational’ activities with my kids – or even just spend more ‘hands on’ time with them”
    ” Well – it’s good for them to learn to ‘self-entertain’ and play together with each other – I shouldn’t need to hover right?”

    ” I should be more environmentally concious and start a garden with the kids”
    “Well… last time you tried that Kat you wasted $50 on plants that you killed within weeks”
    “But it will be good for the kids”
    “Meh to gardening”

    “I should bake and cook more from fresh and healthy ingredients. I’m not setting a very good example for them”
    “But I’m soooooo tired tonight… one more easy packet meal won’t kill us will it?”

    “I should turn that darn tv off and do something with the kids”
    “Eh, they’re quiet… lets just enjoy that for a minute or two more…”

    “We should go for a walk in the fresh air to the park – it will do us all good”
    “But I’m sooooo tired so lets just drive and check the mail – that will at least get us out of the house”

    “I should get off this darn computer/phone/sewing machine and go and spend time with the kids”
    “Hmmm how bout I just get the playdough out… they’ll be ok with a new activity for a little while longer”

    “I should be more patient with them, they are only kids”
    “But I’m soooo tired and I have my period and my head wants to explode with pain right now – ack they can learn I’m not always willing to be 100% at their beck & call…”

    “10.30pm – I should get off this computer/phone/sewing machine and go to bed so that I’ve energy to deal with the girls tomorrow”
    “But I’m soooo enjoying this peace and quiet and I’m not tired yet. Maybe in half an hour”

    And so it goes on….

    And don’t even get me started on the other list(s) about Marriage or Household stuff rolling around in that cluttered brain of mine!

    Sound familiar?
    I find myself constantly examining myself, my parenting, my motives etc… during the day inside my head.  I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this…
    But it’s exhausting!

    As a woman who has a slight case of “control-freakism” {yes of course that’s a word didn’t ya know! 😉 } it does really pain me that I don’t know the “best” course of action for each and every one of those things above.
    Or sometimes I suspect that I do but choose to ignore it anyway which leads to more guilt & second guessing. Like…

    What is the healthy balance in life?
    Which of these things are more likely to screw my kids up more than others in this list if I do/don’t do them either way?
    Do I even agree with the things that others say will screw my kids up and what they say won’t?!

    ***

    Then I quickly get to this point…

    Oh stop the Mummy car – this is all too much, my brain is fried and I’m t.i.r.e.d!

    booo hoooo hoooo ** insert ugly cry

    ***

    What an unhealthy, unhelpful cycle to get trapped in don’t you agree?
    Don’t get me wrong – there are times in life where it is important to examine these things, assess how we’re doing with our priorities and regroup.

    But.just not.every.single.day.all.day.long.
    (in my humble opinion anyway)

    Which is what I would do if I let those thoughts run wild!

    ***

    However, those things above are all the things than go on in my head which I don’t know the answer to and they bug me,
    But here’s what I do know and what I try and continually remind myself…
    The bits that I need to remember and celebrate more…

    I do all the main stuff my kids need.
    I love them, I hug them, I clean them, I feed them, I giggle with them, I play with them, I comfort them, I dress them, I love them some more…
    They are loved and well cared for.

    I love my girls almost above all else
    And they know that they’re loved.

    No, I will never be a perfect mother,
    {There is no perfect mother}
    but I do the best I can
    And that is all I can ever do.

    More often than not the important stuff is the really small stuff. The regular stuff. The routine stuff.
    The unseen stuff.
    And most importantly the love stuff.

    So despite all of that questioning above, I know that I am a good mother.

    At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how many stories I read my girls, or how much I bake with them, or whether I teach them to grow a garden or whether they can read before they go to school.
    Or in fact whether I choose to do school at home with them or send them to a formal school.

    While I do often feel torn a lot of the time because of all the time I invest blogging, sewing etc since it’s time away from the family, at the same time I would not be myself without all those things.
    I need those things too.
    They make me happy.
    And it is important that I am happy just as much for the sake of my girls as it is for me.

    It is not everybody else’s version of life, but it is our version.

    And as much as it pains me to admit this, I just can’t do everything.
    Nope, definitely not super woman.
    Therefore the stuff that I beat myself up for up the top has to give way in order to make other stuff which I place priority on to work.

    {And besides which, even if I did all that other stuff, I’m not so naive to believe that I wouldn’t just replace that list with a list of other things I’d beat myself up for doing/not doing either…}

    ***

    I’ve been thinking about it and I’m pretty sure that there is one word responsible for this culture of Mummy guilt that I, and I’m sure many others, find themselves in…

    the word “Comparison.”

    Comparison is rarely ever cool, but very easy to get too carried away with.

    The comparison bug {in relation to parenting} can be caught by media images, things we read that we are “supposed” to be doing, things we perceive we are “supposed” to be doing, things we see other parents doing/not doing, and things we see other children doing/not doing.

    A fair amount of it is inevitable, but still not necessarily always helpful and it’s usually an unhealthy focus!

    I still get caught in the comparison trap regularly and I suspect it will always be a battle for me, but I’m doing a lot better at it now days than ever.

    ***

    So anyway…

    Those are {some} of my {current} random thoughts about parenting.
    I’m not entirely sure that this was what Emily had in mind as a celebration, but
    I needed to keep this real, and for me that simply meant opening up about my story and thoughts to you today of where I’m at right now.
    No happy glossy  stories came to mind I’m afraid.
    So this is what you get instead…
    Maybe they might make someone else struggling with similar issues feel normal?
    I can only hope because we do need to support each other a build each other up as parents.

    This parenting gig is hard. 
    No question about it.
    But it is so worth it!

    So on that note, let me share my favourite song that I sometimes listen to, to help me move through that early morning/afternoon/evening/midnight slump that I often struggle with…
    (in other words at any time of day that the Mummy crap hits the fan and I start to have a meltdown…)

    Would love to hear your thoughts & experiences too & you can pop over and see what everyone else has to say on the matter…

    PS I recently wrote another piece on my thoughts as a parent (kind of) which explained where I was at a few months ago called “the other girl” which you can find here if you are interested…

    6 COMMENTS

    1. First, I’m so glad you decided to participate in my Celebrating Parents challenge! Thank you!

      Second, yes! Oh my goodness, yes! I related to so much of what you wrote in this post! And honestly, sometimes I think if we could stop that constant stream of questioning and self-doubt and allow ourselves to just *enjoy* our children once in awhile we’d all be happier.

      Parenthood is real, and it’s hard, and sometimes the good and the bad are all mixed up together (which is what I loved so much about your opening sequence; oh, those early morning kisses!) but I think there’s room in the middle of all those doubts and questions for you to honor the work you’re doing. Because I can tell, you’re in the trenches. You’re a good mom — and you deserve this celebration!

    2. Well, I have no kids, but I think I can see the choices my mum made for quite a few of them :oD The baking and the healthy eating I think tied in for her (oh, and she firmly subscribed to, if you don’t eat it for this meal it will reappear at the next meal and so on until it’s gone…) so she didn’t bother baking with me, it was healthier that way lol Well, we made the Christmas cake each year, I should have been thankful for that! (I only ever got a birthday cake once that I recall…) She taught me to read when I was 3, but then she was a frustrated teacher that couldn’t teach at the time, so I think that was her way of checking she could still do it ;o)

      I wouldn’t stress, your kids seem perfectly fine :o)

    3. HI Kat!
      This is my first time visiting your blog.
      Katy (above) send me over to your blog! I can certainly relate to what you wrote here…in fact, I wrote something (almost as) in response to that! How strange that we both wrote very similar posts! That’s actually why Katy told me I should come check you out. I’m glad she did.
      I would love it if you read the post I wrote (think I’ll be linking up too!)…I rarely (never) write about my personal life too much, so this is a first!
      Anyway, hope to “see” you araound!
      BTW…your blog’s adorable…I’m a new happy follower 🙂

    4. Parenting is the hardest and most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.

      I think we all feel there are days when we could do it better or differently. Most of us do the best we can and that’s all we can ask of ourselves. I got Miss P through to adulthood in one piece and with all her teeth . Im an awesome parent !(he he )

      As parents we need to stop second guessing ourselves. You’re doing fine. Your kids are happy , well adjusted individuals. I think parenting is as much a learning process for us as it is for our kids and it involves a lot of flying by the seat of your pants.

    5. Once again you have penned another great post that made me laugh, nod and empathise as I scrolled down. I appreciate this post so much I am going to put a link to it. Love your style Kat. Cheers, Fiona

    6. You are the best of mum’s and as you say, we all beat ourselves up. Wish there could be less of that and more giggling. At the end of the day it isn’t the home made cake they will remember but the laughter!

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