Hi and welcome back to my blog, assuming you have been here before. This post is a kind of light hearted featuring some of my perceptions about parenting three boys Vs the reality, specifically for me and my family.
PERCEPTION ONE: Organised Chaos
I assumed having multiple children would unleash my crazy organised inner self. I know I am not the kind of person to have everything exactly how it should be, but I thought I would at least get half way there. I assumed I would have systems for bath nights/bedtimes/ feeding time/ family time etc. I believed we would live amongst organised chaos.
REALITY ONE: All consuming chaos
The organised chaos thing never really took off and instead I have what I call all consuming chaos. It consumes not only just my house and my life but also my mind. Believe it or not, I am always thinking about what needs doing next. The problem is things keep getting added way faster than they are being ticked off. This is an area I am working on and slowly, slowly I am seeing improvements, but I mistakenly thought it was something that mysteriously got activated when you had more than one child.
PERCEPTION TWO: Confidence in myself, my choices and my abilities
I thought my Motherly instinct would kick In and I would know exactly what to do ALL the time. Pahaha it was a silly mistake to make. I love my boys and would never do anything to harm them therefore I would only ever make choices to ensure their safety and wellbeing.
I do what I think is best for me and my family and therefore I will be 100% confident in my decisions. WRONG
REALITY TWO: Constant doubt and fear
I wrote a blog post before called The Parent Trap:Guilt. It is all about no matter what you are doing or whatever decisions you make, you worry they are wrong. I doubt the way we live our lives is ensuring that they are growing up to be the best versions of themselves. I worry I give them too much freedom, then I worry I don’t give them enough. With the big World Wide Web, there is always a new blog, article, feature, book, comment to make me doubt myself. I am learning to stay strong to my convictions, but at the same time be open to advice.
PERCEPTION THREE: Clean children
I see pictures on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram of these adorable children and they always look so gorgeous and well dressed. I find these lovely clothes by these amazing stay at home mamas, who are working hard producing amazing handmade pieces (companies such as Tobias and the Bear and Dudes and Dolls to support their families). I look at the photos and think that is what my children will look like when they are wearing the clothes.
REALITY THREE: My children often look like they are part of some wild brood
My boys are lovely, happy go lucky, let’s jump in the mud, draw on our clothes, snotty, dribbly, is that chocolate or poop on their trousers kind of kids. Don’t get me wrong they look cute as a puppy in the clothes, but they are very rarely clean! To be fair to them I think they inherit it from me and their Nanny Julie. We can’t eat a meal without ending up wearing half of it, hahaha. I’ve given up on trying to have them looking clean and lovely all the time. As long as they are having fun the stains are pretty much nothing a quick spin in the washing machine can’t fix.
PERCEPTION FOUR: Eco Warrior Mama
I thought I would be or at least still kind of want to be the Mama that really teaches their child about how important the earth and her resources are. In my head we have a compost heap, grow our own veg, eat local, seasonal, organically grown food, walk as much as we can, follow Bob the Builders advice to ‘Reduce.Reuse.Recycle‘. We would use cloth nappies, cloth wipes and even mama cloth. We’d buy organic fair trade clothes (or second hand) use natural remedies to assist our bodies when healing rather than supporting big Pharma.
REALITY FOUR: We recycle, yay!
Time. Time is our biggest problem, well technically our second, in that we don’t have enough of it. The real problem is EXCUSES I have so many of them. I’m too tired, too busy, don’t know enough or I am not skilled enough. Also my ideas are often too grand. I need to start smaller. Rather than start with a whole vegetable garden, let’s grow some Kitchen window sill herbs, have some plants around the house and make some bird/small animal feeders for the garden. These are all things I want to do this year. The only thing we really do consistently is recycle and donate to charity!
* We did use washable cloth nappies for a while with both Zachary and Darwin, but due to my disorganisation and some issues with their poop we never continued with this long term.
PERCEPTION FIVE: I would be an Attachment/Gentle/Child led parent
I have always wanted to make sure that I encourage my children to be who they rather than who I want them to be. I want them to respect me not fear me and therefore have always felt drawn to concepts within the attachment/gentle/parent led theories. Breast feeding, baby wearing, co sleeping, praise over discipline, respectful parenting are a few things that I have always be drawn to.
REALITY FIVE: Reactionary Parenting
I have a good friend and whenever I see her she always says “You were born to be a Mother, it is so clear to see”. I often think, gosh the stuff I post on Instagram and Facebook must really make it look like I have got this Motherhood lark down. Well I really haven’t. I have breastfed my kids, I have used slings and wraps with all three moving from high street into specialist wraps with my younger two. I have used cloth nappies, made my own food but I have also used star charts, bribed my kids with chocolate, I’ve used phrases such as “because I said so”, “You are so clever” and even “stop being such a baby”. I have done a lot of reading into mindfulness and being aware of how my language can really impact on my children. You know what, sometimes, especially when you have multiple children. You just react. Sometimes I explode, I say things I regret. I shout, I expect to much from myself and my small humans, but I am learning to say sorry to admit I am wrong and I think sometimes that in itself teaches my children too.
PERCEPTION: I will be perfect all the time
Talk about setting yourself up to fail, hahaha. I thought I would be like all the Mums who I look up to and admire and respect. To me they often appear perfect. I thought I would get it right all the time. As I said before, because I only want was is best for my boys I would obviously only do things that help them grow. But you know what?
REALITY: I am only human
I get things wrong. I mess things up. I am also my worst critic and my harshest judge. I always see what I should have done, what I could have done better. Where I should have been investing my time. My friends and family see how hard Oliver works at school, how kind and thoughtful he is, how happy Zachary is, how much he loves to explore, how fearless Darwin is and how much we all love each other. I always feel like I can’t take credit for their strength of character and talents etc, but I am told that I/We help to shape and mould them and that my children learn through what they see. They know that me and Daddy are only human. We are passionate about things and it can make us mad, we are compassionate and try to show those around us we love them, we try and help others by donating/purchasing at charity shops, we are emotional, sometimes we cry, laugh, shout, sometimes we just want some time alone. I am realising that even though I fee that my reality falls so short from the perception I had of parenting. One thing that we are doing is being real and letting our children know that they too are only human, but that it is OK. That as long as we/they are trying to grow as a person, it is OK to have flaws and sometimes it is those flaws that make us special.
Thank you for reading