Mum-guilt is a right one isn’t it? You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. I’m no stranger to it. In fact I’m pretty sure the default setting on my mum-guilt switch is permentantly set to constant. The lovely blogger and vlogger Jules Furness talked about this recently and suggested that if a decision is made in love then there’s no room for guilt. I love that. And its an approach that I’m definitely adopting for 2017 to kick mum-guilt in the… shins. We’re all doing the best job we can. That is enough. We are enough.
Having said that, a bit of self reflection and the tweaking of parenting strategies can be a good thing. As I rocked my under-the-weather baby boy to sleep yesterday I realised that I do some pretty ridiculous things as a mama. I’m claiming exhaustion here people. But these faux pas need to be addressed nonetheless. So here are 5 ways that I’m going to try and become a… less ridiculous mother in 2017.
To be more conscious of what I call my younger daughter. Don’t panic, there isn’t a list of mean names I throw at her when she’s misbehaving. Though I fear she may grow to prefer that if I don’t nip this one in the bud. Here’s the thing. I’ve called her Boo since she was tiny. There’s nothing wrong with that, right? Perfectly acceptable. But then I get carried away and lengthen it…To Booby. Just let that sink in. I call my child Booby. On no level is that anywhere near a cool thing to do. And I don’t even do it as a joke. It just rolls off the tongue. I mean, what self respecting woman call’s her kid Booby?? She’s very gracious and just asks me to stop calling her booby in front of her friends when they come over to play (hangs my head in shame). It needs to stop. It will stop…
And while we’re talking about my words…
Motherhood Resolution #2:
Stop talking to my six month old baby boy in a weird Indian accent. Truly – I don’t know why I do it. It’s not a conscious thing – I caught myself this afternoon when Theo was watching me with raised eyebrows. It just comes out when we’re at home, just the two of us. Maybe I get bored of hearing my own regular voice. He doesn’t offer that much in the way of conversation at the moment. But with an English mother and a Welsh father, the boy will already inevitably struggle with an identity complex each Spring as Six Nations rolls around, he doesn’t need to grow up wondering he has some mysterious Indian heritage mixed in there as well.
Motherhood resolution #3:
To stop kissing my 10 year old daughter at the school gates. Oh my life, what is wrong with me?? These ‘tweaks’ didn’t scream Worlds Most Embarrassing Mother as I pondered them in my head. So, not only do I refer to one child as a woman’s personal body part, confuse another with a fake (and categorically awful) foreign accent, but I actually commit the cardinal sin of all pre-nagers. I can’t even claim ignorance. She’s asked me to stop kissing her at school about 623,000 times. I don’t even do it on purpose. It’s reflex. And as soon as my lips touch her forehead I realise what I’ve done again but it’s too late. If I didn’t cotton on then, the stormy look in her eyes as she glares up at me afterwards, would certainly inform me that I’ve blundered. Again.
Motherhood Resolution #4:
To stop prodding the baby when he’s sleeping. I know we’ve all done it, go on admit it. We lie there, watching their tiny little bodies until we see their chest rise and fall, reassuring us that they’re still breathing. I did it with both of my girls in those exhaustingly hazy newborn days. Only Theo isn’t newborn. He’s six months old next week and I still search for that breath. And if in doubt, I prod him, inevitably waking him up. Mr C doesn’t appreciate me doing this at 2am. I have no issues with admitting that I’m overprotective with my baby boy. I challenge you to find a parent that’s been through special care with their little one who isn’t a little over cautious. But I can’t hide behind that. I need to put on my big girl panties, trust that my son is in safe hands, remember he’s doing well and accept that there’s no need to wobble his tummy or tickle his chin in the middle of the night.
Motherhood Resolution #5:
To be the bringer of adventure. Theo’s too young to give two hoots what we do at the moment as long as he’s attached to me and get’s his fix of milk. But both my girls are more often than not happier to chill out, when they’re not at school, and enjoy a slow pace at home. It’s a battle (that I mostly end up waving a white flag on) getting my younger daughter out of her PJs at any given time. And I confess, as a tired mama running on very broken sleep, it often suits me down to the ground. But that doesn’t make memories. It doesn’t give them childhood experiences that they’ll cherish. It doesn’t push them out of their comfort zones and help them realise that there is so much out there in this wonderfully crazy world we live in. Don’t get me wrong. We’ll be regularly embracing the slow lane this year. Burn-out is not on the agenda. But I’m determined to sprinkle 2017 with adventure; to discover new places and try new things. The girls want to as well, they just don’t know it yet…!
Here’s to a year of knowing we’re doing the best we can, but maybe being a little less ridiculous along the way.
Mrs C x
Disclaimer: I am in no way suggesting that there is anything wrong with having an Indian heritage. It would be something to be proud of if you did. It’s just we don’t. And it would just be a bit awkward if my son grew up and told teachers at school that he’s half Indian…