Ok, I admit I’ve used a bit of a clickbaity title. GUILTAY! But I was vacuuming and suddenly had this post idea come to mind (most of my best thoughts happen while vacuuming or showering). Half of my hallway still has a week’s worth of accumulated dust in the cornices, but I had to stop and put pen to paper, or words to my screen as it were, before the thoughts left. I’ve had a bit of crazy time lately, feeling overwhelmed with the multitude of things I juggle. The kids, the house, our electrical business, my appointments, my blog and Instagram – all while trying to text people back, have a social life, and watch the new episodes of all my favorite shows. When someone asks how I am, I can’t help but find any other sufficient answer besides ‘busy!’. And I am. But that’s how I like my life. Full of tasks and challenges, because each time I accomplish one, I feel gratification. Now, why does this make me the perfect Mother?
I am the perfect Mother because I do what needs to be done, for my children and for myself, to still meet the job requirements of all the other hats I wear (wife, cleaner, cook, bookkeeper, marketing agent, writer…the list goes on). And I don’t mean I’m ticking off items on the mystical ‘How To Be The Best Mother’ checklist. I’m not following any protocol or perception here. I am simply doing what I deem necessary to get by, modeled around my own standards. This mentality is what makes me a perfect Mother. I have accepted this is how I’m meant to be a Mother. I have accepted I won’t meet everyone’s standards. But what I am doing is enough, even though it’s not out of a book. I am enough.
I let my kids watch TV, and I utilize ‘screen time’ to help me get some work done. If I don’t get the work done, our bills won’t get paid, and those kids currently watching Peppa Pig won’t get clothed & fed. See what I’m laying down here? I do try to be smart about it and I select shows or apps which will benefit my children and teach them something, while I busily bust through a bunch of emails. This just makes me feel a little better about relying on the TV to baby sit. Although, I make them look out the window on long car trips and refuse to hand over the iPad. Hypocrite? Maybe.
My children, especially my three year old daughter, are spoken to like adults – to a degree. Of course we have our childish conversations sprinkled with baby talk, and sometimes I encourage the use of cute mispronounced words because they’re just do fucking adorable (‘Belicious’ instead of ‘Delicious’ is my favorite…and for a time there she said ‘Cock’ instead of ‘Clock’. That was fun!). But for the most part, I choose to talk to them with honesty. I try to balance it between letting them enjoy the magic of Santa, Easter Bunny and fairies, while also gently showcasing the reality of the world that awaits them, and the faults it carries. I keep it simple, but I try my best to also keep it real.
My children know all about swear words. They know what they are, and yet they’ve never said them (ok, this one time I let them say one to get it out of their system) because through understanding what the ‘naughty words’ are, they’re aware those words are off limits. My three year old would hear me let slip a swear word and she’ll fire back with ‘Don’t say that word Mummy! But when I am a big girl, I can say that word.’ And yeh, she can! When she’s old enough, if she wants to use sentence enhancing swear words, curse away. I am so proud of her for understanding what is not okay now may be okay for later.
My three year old knows that sheep, cows and pigs end up on our plate. She knows we have to sometimes shoot foxes and even kangaroos. She understands a portion of the cycle of life. And sure, she is probably going to be the kid on the school farm excursion who tells all the other kids ‘My Dad chops the pigs up and puts them in the freezer’ but it’s a reality she has gently learnt from a young age, spending time with her Dad on farms.
The kids eat sugar. Regularly. It’s not a lot, but they certainly have little treats here and there. I knew from day one I wasn’t going to be one of those parents who manage to give their kid a sugar free life. And if you do that, well done! It was just going to be too hard for me to maintain. I love ice-cream, and lollies and birthday cake, and I love enjoying them with people I love. SO. MUCH. LOVE. Sometimes I use them as a bribe for good behavior. A huge NO-NO by most parenting experts, but it fucking works and is the easiest thing to do when I’ve had hardly any sleep, a million chores ahead of me and two kids who won’t leave the toy cars at the shops!
Some days, they survived purely on crackers because it was the ONLY thing they would eat.
Both my children were in their own room, in their own cots by 5 weeks old. They slept better and so did I. It worked. Everyone benefited.
I don’t do arts and crafts with them, because the mess freaks me out. I don’t want to be a craft nazi or a party-pooper, so I take them to their grandparents to smoosh all the playdough colours together or glue glitter to everything.
My three year old knows babies come out a vagina. Yep. She asked me one day, I just thought there’s no harm in her knowing.
There’s many things I do different to how a book or motherhood forum suggests, and until recently, I was ashamed and secretive of it, because I thought I would be perceived as a terrible mother for straying from the ‘norms’ of parenthood. I’ve tweaked things to suit my children, and me. They remain happy, healthy and free from permanent and detrimental damage, so I’m going to carry on!
The kicker, the most ULTIMATE thing that makes me a perfect Mother, is that I know my version of parenting is not the be all and end all. It’s what suits me. It’s what flows with me and my kids. I am aware it won’t gel with everyone, and some people are going to vehemently disagree with some of my parenting choices. And good for you! You do that, because you’re living your version of parenthood and I support you in that. You are doing what works for you. Just go about it without judgement. You’re welcome to disagree with my choices because I don’t view that as judging me. But if you were to think I’m doing wrong by my children or failing them, you’ve entered the judgy-mummy zone and it would be wise to take a step out. It serves no one.
Society will try and dictate the ‘ideal procedure for Motherhood’ but they’ll still throw in the ‘do what works for you’ line to try and ease the pressure. Well, I’m here to tell you, feed your child a reasonably healthy diet, make sure they’re dressed appropriately for the weather, give them good hygiene, try your best not to hurt them (physically and emotionally – although the odd bump with the washing basket is inevitable), praise them when they do well, and help them learn when they have done wrong, shower them in cuddles and tell them you love them. Those are the core principals of a successful Mother. Whatever you wish to throw on top of that, is your choice. And be unapologetic about it, because Mama, we know you’re just trying to do the best you fucking can.