Just as teenagers awkwardly navigate through their pubescent lives so too will adults fumble through a time called parenthood. These so called adults going through parenthood will undoubtedly cross unpleasant times, have to frequently learn the same lessons time and time again and they will undeniably shed many tears from the injustice and confusion of this alien life that didn’t come with a satelittle navigation system. It’s a tough journey on some rough terrain but some of us have to do it.
Parenting five times over certainly hasn’t made me an expert, in fact, it’s probably made me go backward more often than I have ever come forward. I can honestly say I’m still not even close to being an awesome parent and I don’t say this so my friends can tell me that I am. I’m here to blog not play that “I’m-just-saying-it-so-you-will-say-that-I-am” game. Having five kids doesn’t make me smarter, wiser or braver than any other fallen soldier, ahem, I mean parent. Some people would actually call me crazy and/or stupid for having so many kids – well, the ‘Don’t you have a TV?’ type of people definitely do. Often.
It makes no difference whether you have one child or eighteen children there are always hazards and obstacles involved in parenting and there is no technician to call to help with the troubleshooting. The fruit of our loins are not cardboard cut-outs designed to be easily pliable and shaped around our dreams and ideals. They are actually real life mini humans with thoughts and feeling and wants of their own. Plenty of wants. Making mistakes as a parent is usually not life or death, well at least these aren’t the types of mistakes I am referring to. To me, mistakes are just lessons yet to be learnt and I personally seem to have a lot of lessons I’m learning over and over again. It’s like being back in highschool but I’m actually taking every subject there is on offer and I’ve failed them all twice before I finally, on my third attempt, get a D and pass. I am just scraping by with this parenting gig too. D minus all the way. The key here is that I’ll never give in. No matter how hard the wall my head is hitting feels I will continue to try to be better.
Let it be known that when we discuss ‘mistakes’ here we are not judging so let us not get all defensive or hurt and keep those knickers from knotting. Mistakes can be fun. I made three definite ones but they turned out to be pretty awesome kids 😉 Haha I’m kidding. Or am I.
8 MISTAKES YOU SHOULDN’T MAKE AS A PARENT …
‘Shouldn’t’ because this is me giving YOU the heads up! So buckle down, pay attention and be a good student! Oh and don’t take any of my advice too seriously!
- SELF-DOUBT. It is a well known fact in the parental kingdom that kids can smell fear and doubt a mile off. It’s as potent as a packet of double coated Tim Tams being opened in the laundry linen cupboard by the real life ‘parent’. Give fear (or a Tim Tam) a mile they’ll still smell it, hear it and feel it. When you tell them “NO” make sure there isn’t any trace of a quiver in your tone and ensure that you are firm and 100% certain because when you tell them “No.. I said no.. Not right now… Maybe later… Oh ok…. Whatever then! Have it!” You’re actually telling them you’re a push over, a sucker and that you are the parent they need to go to whenever they want something because you’re guaranteed to be an easy crack. For the record, I’m the push-over parent. I don’t want to be but I don’t know how to take all the “umms-and-ahhs-ok-fucken-have-it’s” back. It’s gone too far. Don’t be me.
- CONSISTENCY. This is kind of like mistake 1^^ except we are making the assured NO consistent. If you fail at being consistent even if it’s just one time you are doomed for all parternity…. See what I did there? Parent? Eternity? No? Oh, well, nevermind. If you consistently suck at being Mum (or Dad) and consistently let them, the child, win you really are screwing yourself over. You have just turned yourself into the inexperienced undergraduate law student whose way out of their jurisdiction and the child has now been supremely promoted to senior associate. You are going to be objected, overruled and begging for a plea bargain the rest of the way through parenthood. Inconsistency is an epic mistake! Be consistent no matter how hungover you are. If there’s consistently been no icy poles for breakfast then it’s never ever any icy poles for breakfast. And for the record, it was only once and now he asks for one every fucking morning.
- CLEANING. Ok so basic hygiene is fairly important and we all know that a tidy house feels good but if you invest all your energy into a tidy house and perfect looking kids you will be left a quivering ball of pyschotic mess curled up in the foetal position on the twice mopped floor that is now covered in wet grass and sucked’n’soggy naked Tim Tams. If you plan, as a parent, to have a spotless display type home and TV advertisement children you might as well pack up your uterus right now, hang up your French Maid outfit and drive yourself to the nearest pyschiatric unit. Especially on school holidays. It’s not plausible. It’s not fun for child nor parent and it’s not worth the frustrations. It’s also not worth the crazy cleaning spree you do before a childs birthday party. Seriously you are going to have five hundred dirty little feet, five thousand sticky stubby fingers and a bunch of five year olds who don’t give one fuck. You’re doing it to impress the other mummies – I get it, I’ve been there too – but all it does is make those mummies go home and feel insecure about their parenting and cleanliness. Hang up the facades they’re detrimental to all of our wellbeings.
- DREAMS. Before becoming a parent you will have had dreams of the type of parent you were going to be and the kind of child you were going to deliver. Please, honey bunny sugar plum pudding pie, lay those dreams to rest. Right. Now. I’m not trying to blow up your dreams with a motherfucking truth laden stick of dynamite but I am going to say that high expectations may lead to big disappointment. And big disappointments lead to many other things that aren’t nice. Adapt your dreams instead. Take an attitude of seizing every parenting day as it comes. Take each moment as a unique moment in your parenting life and roll with it. Stop, drop and roll. It’s a survival technicque. Use it.
- ORGANIC-PALEO-LOW-GI-GLUTEN-DAIRY-SUGAR-YEAST-AND-TASTE-FREE HOMEMADE FOOD. **Allergy kids not included – der obviously** Nutritious food is paramount to a child’s health and development. It’s not rocket science we all know that. But if you are going to lay claim that you will never, ever give your child a plastic-wrapped piece of what some of us may call ‘food’ then you are setting yourself and your child up for failure. You don’t want to put this pressure on yourself because there may be a day when you’re stuck at the hospital with your sick child who is now screaming for food and your only option is a white bread, butter and vegemite sandwich from the canteen. Give it to her. She’s fucken hungry. But don’t, I repeat, DO NOT give yourself a hard time over it. 100% healthy food only intentions are well meaning but totally glorified and sometimes unrealistic, well for us average parents anyway. Look, I know there are some hybrid parents out there who have and are pulling this 100% free range meat, organic fruit and vege only diets off and kudos to you guys…
Ahem Curtis Stone Ahem…. But it’s not going to happen that way for a lot of us. Eventually there will be a day that you’re child is invited to a birthday party. Don’t let him/her be the only kid there that isn’t allowed to eat any of the party food because it isn’t healthy. Don’t be that parent. Don’t be that jackass.
- GIVING UP YOUR LIFE. Mummy guilt is a real thing so it is understandable that so many parents give themselves up in order to be parents. Don’t let your children grow up to believe that you only have one identity – as their arse wiper! You are a human with needs, wants and desires of your own. Not fulfilling them will leave you a little empty, slightly confused and probably just a smidge resentful. Honour yourself as a woman (man or dog) and take up a hobby or give yourself the space and a place to go to be you – authentically grown up adult version you. You will be a better parent and they will resepct you more. Lol ok just kidding. You’ll still be an average parent and your kids will still disrespect you. Big girl knickers up and enjoy that ‘you’ time while you can!
- PEDESTALS. These fuckers are dangerous. Seriously. Worshipping the ground your children walk on is very different to loving them unconditionally. When you worship them you see them as a glorified version of who they truly are and you expect others to see what you see. Rolling out the red carpet for your children instills an entitled belief system that is going to set them up for failure. Essentially you are lifting them up and placing them on a golden revolving pedestal like they are an object to be admire and adored. Let me warn you there are no rails on those motherfuckers and those objects you call your children will quite possibly fall once they grow up and meet the real world. Be a champ and don’t do that to them. Love them. Nurture them. Ground them. Yes. Yes. Yes! But don’t kiss the air you make them walk on. Not even Jesus walked on air. Remember that.
- COMPETITIVE PARENTING. Argh. I hate this. This is what those child worshippers do. I believe children should be allowed to be children, after all it is what they authentically are. It’s like cats. We let them purring pussies be who they are. We don’t dress them up as dolphins and throw them in the ocean just because we ordered an olympic swimmer. Parents shouldn’t be allowed to live their dreams through their children. Sure, teach your kid to swim and to be water safe by what’s the point in making them a bronze medallion swimmer by the age of 3. By all means teach them how to play and be a part of a team sport or a solo game like tennis but why enrol them in strenuous daily sessions, going on for hours at a time just to make them elite athletes by kindygarten. Let them play outside. Let them relax inside. We are breeding a bunch of over achievers instead of fun loving children who should be naturally developing thoughts and feelings and experiences of a child. Over-achievers are arseholes and people generally don’t like them so while they might have many trophies on their mantles they may not have much substance in their souls. So many parents push their kids into being things they didn’t get a chance to be and take control of their ‘talents’ instead of letting them find their joy in what they want to do. Like a little girl who wants to get all rough and tumble while playing football but is made to pull her hair back tight, put on a tutu and dance all because her mother wanted to be a dancing star. It’s selfish and it’s unfair. Give them encouragement and give them an extra little push where needed – especially to all those lazy little sods – but don’t force them to be the 2.0 version of what you wanted to be. That’s just being an a-hole.
Parenting is a full-time position complete with exorbitant amounts of uncertainty, no pay and a few headaches here and there. It’s a job based around other peoples needs and feelings while your own are generally left on the back burner. It’s a tough gig yet somewhere in there it’s an absolute joy and a pleasure. It’s a nightmare rolled in hot chocolate and coated in 100’s and 1000’s (or cacao and chia seeds for the health conscious). Parenting kicks your arse and hugs your heart all at the same time. I’ve been doing it for over 18 years now and I still suck but one thing is for certain and totally not sucky – I love all my little offspring and there’s nobody in this world that could love them more than me. Which is lucky coz that, and the fact they’re all pretty cute, keeps them alive each and every day 😉
Kudos to all adults doing parenthood. We got this.