Monkey see, monkey do

Life really can be hard to figure out sometimes. I know my role and what I should be doing but it doesn’t always feel like that’s the path it should follow. Confused? Yeah me too! Haha! Parenting is downright confusing, hard and like the world’s biggest and never ending rollercoaster! But no one ever said it was going to be easy.

I recently read a blog that a mother had written to her first born and it triggered a fair bit of emotion in me (what’s new really?). She spoke about how her firstborn child was the one that made her a mother and she felt that she was tougher on that child because they were first in line. It hit me hard on so many levels.

I know the pain of expecting maybe a little too much from my first born because she is the eldest. Even as I write this I’m tearing up. In my head she is growing by the second but in my heart she will always be my baby. I feel torn because teaching her that in her role as the eldest sibling she forges the path for her younger sister, but in reality it doesn’t matter or at least it shouldn’t. Maybe I just want everything to be perfect for her when in reality, it shouldn’t make any difference. But you never think about it in the moment when everything is happening right in front of you.

Sometimes I worry I’m making her grow up quicker than she needs to and that she is still only little in the whole scheme of things. Maybe I’m in denial, knowing that while she needs me, a part of her doesn’t and I’m still trying to control that part and in return she retaliates. Usually with stubbornness, attitude and oh so much sass. Many would say she’s definitely my daughter. Not sure I see the resemblance, haha!

Maybe not having been the eldest myself growing up, my opinion and view of how to treat my own girls is somewhat flawed. I watched as my older brother got away with quite a lot (he would deny this of course) and it set the benchmark for what I could or rather was never allowed to do! I don’t know the answers, maybe I never will and that’s just how the journey is meant to go.

From watching both my daughters forge their paths in this tumultuous world, what I can say I have noticed about them both is their tenacity and strength to be themselves. Oh do I live and breathe it daily. It frustrates me and almost breaks me but deep down a little bit of pride sneaks up too. I can’t always control the way things happen (it’s one of my weaknesses that I struggle with, but that’s a whole other story) and I know I should just let them be but then the realities of having to parent kick in. But that’s all part of the fun, at least that’s what I keep telling myself anyway. If you see me rocking in the corner, come and save me, haha!

Always there

There’s nothing scarier than being a mum. Okay, maybe being taken by a shark or twisty rollercoasters might be up there, but you get what I mean. It terrifies me to think I’m responsible for two little humans. That it’s up to me to help shape their future, teach them things and help them become the best person they can be. But I (try to) take it all in my stride, most days anyway. But it is a big responsibility and I have moments where I suck at it. Yep, you read that right, there are times I consider myself a pretty crappy mum.

For example, I let my girls watch TV while they’re eating breakfast, which more often than not is a Nutella wrap. Yep, I’m that parent. There are many times you’ll find them playing games on their LeapPads. That probably makes me lazy or irresponsible, so be it. I also let them eat chips, chocolate, biscuits and other junk food. Yep, I’m a bad mum. Judge me if you want to because I don’t really care! Well, a small part of me probably does, but shhhh don’t tell anyone.

But you know what?! They’re still pretty good kids, from what I can tell anyway and I’m biased so probably not the best judge. I may call them terrors or turds or whatever suits at the time but they use their manners (about 80% of the time anyway), mostly do as they’re told and play nicely with other kids. I’ve said so many times before, there is no instruction manual when it comes to raising kids, so I’m winging it! I stuff it up all the time. I swear, I yell and I make the wrong decisions. ALL THE TIME! I’m definitely not up for Mother of the Year and I don’t want to be. I’m just doing my best. If that means my kids hate me at times, there’s not much I can do to change it. But that’s all part of the process right?!

I often wonder what life would be like without kids. Where would I be? What would I be doing, still writing? Obviously about different, more adult topics, haha! But I don’t want to change it. As hard as things can be, especially after the last couple of years, I don’t think I’d change too much. I think we’re doing okay and as I’ve been saying for years, they are still alive so I must be doing something right, well I can only hope anyway!

To my girls: I’m your mum, nothing will ever change that. I may think sometimes I want to change it, but that’s likely because you have driven me crazy. I love you even when you tell me you hate me. It hurts to hear you say it, but deep down I try to remember you’re only saying it out of feeling and frustration, well I hope so anyway or I’m way off! I will always be there for you, even when I’m angry or sad because you two are the most important people in my life and always will be! Don’t ever let anyone dampen your spirit or try to stop you from shining bright because the world would be a dull place without your individual and sometimes crazy personalities. Keep being you, ALWAYS!

Always asking questions

How do you know if you’re doing it right? This whole parenting thing?
Even life in general?
You don’t! You can only do your best and see what happens after that. It’s pretty much flying blind, winging it, put your beer goggles on and just go with the flow type of stuff. Maybe some structure along the way helps, but the rest of it involves guesswork, a whole lot of trying and hope. I’m always full of hope, whether I get the result I’m hoping for, that’s another story!

If you worry about whether you’re a good mum, the fact that you worry already means you are a good mum. I just wish I’d believed it enough when I really needed to. I’ve always had a lot of doubt about my skills as a mum, probably as a person too. It’s likely this won’t change in a hurry. That has a lot to do with my anxieties talking. But when I get a sweet smile, a kiss on the cheek or even little arms envelope me in a hug, my fears lessen. It’s almost like a magical button has been pushed and the world makes sense again.

My girls, although they drive me crazy, are my whole world and I do feel a bit lost when they aren’t around. They are growing up so fast and time is flying by, bringing with it even more attitude! The karma train hit me hard on that one, giving me two girls to contend with. I wasn’t really that bad, was I mum?! If the attitude is this crazy at the age of 5, I may need some serious backup by the time we hit 15! In all seriousness I know my girls are pretty good (at driving me crazy), but they are reasonably well behaved and I know I could have done far worse.

I think I’ve said it before but I still love this saying. “There is no such thing as a perfect parent”. There so isn’t! So all those people out there acting like they have it all together, just quit while you’re ahead, everyone knows you’re pretending! I often admit I still have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. That doesn’t make me a bad Mum, but I’m far from perfect. Like every other parent out there, I just want what’s best for my girls. I just don’t necessarily always know how to get it. Other than doing my best and that’s all anyone can ask for.

Kids are funny creatures. They know more and perceive more than we realise, especially if they can work it to their advantage. They don’t care about a lot of things, especially all the material stuff. But they care enough to just want you there, to have the person they treasure the most. It’s not always easy to be in the moment when they need you to be and it’s hard not to feel guilty afterwards. But remembering you are only human can go a long way to making you feel better, well hopefully it does. I don’t have all the answers but I keep trying to do my best (at failing, haha!).

Keeping it real (ish)

I am a mum.

It is a hard job.

Yes I said “job” and yes it is something I chose to do, much like other things in my life.

But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it can be one of the worst jobs to take on.

You can be pushed to frustration beyond belief followed by pure joy in the blink of an eye.

You will, at times, wish to return to pre-children life.

It’s a normal thought process and does not necessarily mean you don’t love your kids, but maybe you might not like them a little bit at times (haha!).

Like I’ve said so many times before I love being a mum, my girls are my world.

More often than not my decisions centre around how it will affect them and yep you guessed it I usually put myself last.

“Me time” is rare but even when it happens the girls aren’t far from my mind, it’s just the way we mums are!

But in the very short time I’ve been a mum I’ve learnt many lessons and I’m still learning……

•Two against one takes on a whole new meaning when it comes to kids.
Some days are better than others but I’m surviving with the two girls….well chocolate and the occasional glass of wine might make it better!

•Multi tasking
Sure I can read a book to my toddler, interact with the baby and hold a conversation with someone else all at the same time!
But I’m not so sure the conversation makes much sense…..”that’s not my pony, it’s….aren’t you cheeky….yep that happened last week”.

•Lists
Yes I’m a bit OCD but if it’s not on the list or in my calendar it probably won’t happen!

•I’m even more creative with words!
Yes I’m well known for being the wordsmith but I’m leaning more towards the use of bad words or trying not to use them! Fudge and sugar have become more popular these days…

•Sleep ins don’t exist anymore (well 7am feels like a sleep in) and don’t even think about staying up late because the kids don’t care if mumma decided to head to bed after 10pm!

•Enjoy the simple things (or reminisce about them)
A trip to the toilet in peace doesn’t exist anymore and having a quiet shower…..hahahaha!

•Karma really can bite
I must have been a cheeky toddler back in the day, I can sense a little bit of history repeating with Miss Izzie and I bet my parents are quietly laughing!

•Don’t make promises you can’t keep! Two-year-olds remember them….they don’t listen to you telling them to pick up their toys but they know if there’s a promise of chocolate or ice cream days after it was meant to happen.

•Cheeky smiles and big hugs are really worth the effort. Lucky they’re so cute….I guess I can’t put them back (just kidding!).

•Unconditional love is real, enough said!

Whether I’ve made you laugh, brought a tear to your eye or made you shake your head, remember that we’re all in this together and there is light at the end of what feels like a very long tunnel!

To all the mums, mums-to-be and those who step up to the role, but as always especially to my beautiful mum, you really are amazing!
From one tired, frazzled, proud mumma to you all, have a very Happy Mother’s Day!
Enjoy being spoilt, pampered and showered with love (and maybe presents) from all the children big and small out there!

The big bad world

Dear judgmental parents.

Yes, you.

Everyone.

And yes I can admit even I have my moments.

We can probably even count those that think they know everything about parenting and are yet to have children.

And there are plenty of those out there.

Just stop.

Stop judging.

Stop second guessing.

Stop acting like you know better.

There are really only two people who count when it comes to decisions about the child involved…the parents.

And they have enough on their plate without you adding your two cents worth.

Ok so maybe I’m on a pregnancy hormone fueled rant but I honestly think parenting is a tough enough gig at the best of times.

Throw in a bunch of criticism from an outsider (sometimes not so much an outsider) or a strange look from a passing spectator and you begin to question your ability at times.

We all have different ways of handling the fun of being a parent.

But ultimately the buck stops with you.

You decide what food or drink you give your child.

You choose what they wear (well on a good day).

How you want to discipline them.

The list goes on.

But funnily enough society as a whole decides whether you’re doing it all right or wrong.

If your child screams while you’re at the shops, you suddenly cop the brunt of death stares like you have just committed the worst crime in the world.

I’m not saying I enjoy the sound but a smile of sympathy goes a long way as opposed to a horrible look.

And you never know it might help calm the child down as well!

No one puts more pressure on themselves than that of a parent, especially new ones.

There is no rule book telling you how to do things.

So you’re pretty much winging your way through it and ultimately hoping to come out (alive) on the other side.

Let’s look forward to the fun times, the cheeky smiles and big achievements that kids have to offer rather than pick on all the stupid stuff that quite frankly doesn’t matter in the end.

Kids will be kids and let parents be parents, the best way they can.

End rant (haha, I’ve always wanted to say that!).

Hitting the high note

A scream reverberates through the house.

Nope no one has committed murder although you would think that’s what was happening.

Instead my little “Miss Independent” is once again showing off her fine voice box.

And I use the term “fine voice box” very loosely!

Sometimes it’s a scream/squeal of excitement, which is more often than not repeated, but then there’s the dreaded tantrum.

That moment where the back is arched, the head gets thrown back and is swiftly followed by fist banging on the floor.

But then again that’s just one version of it.

Sometimes it’s funny and other times it’s downright frustrating, especially if you’re having one of those days!

So it begs the question: what is the right way to react??
Do you raise your voice in warning? Do you make a loud noise on a flat surface?
Do you give a warning smack?

Or if all else fails, do you fall in a heap and laugh?

I wish I knew the answer but along with the many riddles of parenting, our little bundles of joy keep us guessing!

Everyone deals with each individual situation in their own way and rightly so because every child is different.

That doesn’t necessarily make you feel better but it’s bound to be reassuring to know (although it may not feel like it at the time) that a similar scenario is playing out in many other households near you.

So far (crossing my fingers it stays that way) our tantrums have been confined to the privacy of our home.

I don’t think I’m ready to deal with the dreaded shopping centre tantrum.

We’ve all seen it. You go about your shopping and suddenly you hear screaming or repeated words from a whiny child not getting their own way. You quickly scoot past (or avoid the situation altogether) and thank your lucky stars it’s not you.

If the mother looks frazzled, I tend to give a smile of sympathy in the hope that one day if it happens to me, someone else will give me that same “it’s okay, we’ve all been there” smile.

Even as I write, my ears are hit with yet another scream.
I respond with a raised tone of voice but know the warning won’t go far.
She’s discovering her voice and developing in so many different ways.
At least that’s what I tell myself today.

Yesterday was one of “those days”.
You know where nothing goes right, you become more and more worked up and can’t wait until your partner is home to share the burden.
Those are the days where I look forward to our little one’s bedtime.

But no matter how frustrating things get, you always know that a sweet little smile or laugh or a cuddle will just make you melt, well for the five seconds until the next scream reaches your ears anyway.