This post for all moms and dads. This is for all those who are fearless and have the audacity to be honest. With themselves. With their peers. With everyone around them. Us parents are terrible in the sense that we are constantly trying to outdo each other and be better than the person next to us. And yes, I am looking at you in particular, perfect Facebook mom, and your tireless efforts to convince us all that you and your kids are perfect. Flawless. Textbook. Meanwhile, there are days where you are losing it, one marble at a time, like the rest of us. I for one aren’t buying it. Relax with the competitiveness and the showing off.
Good parents have bad days.
No one is perfect. Instead of outdoing each other and making this into a competition, we should support and reach out to each other. We should be each others sounding boards. The only ones our parenting affects are our children. They will be the judge some day of whether we did a good job or not. (If they are still talking to us, that is) They will be the end result. Ten years of parenting and some strong friendships with fellow Mama Warriors, who don’t judge or criticize, have taught me that it is ok to have a bad day. And it’s ok to admit that sometimes the kids wear you out or annoy the shit out of you. It’s okay to have days where we reach our limits and where we go against everything in the parenting book of “How to be the perfect parent." Where perhaps we don’t give 100 percent because we just can’t.
I’ll tell you 10 little secrets. (Shhhhhhh)
1. On a bad day I may not have the energy or the time to whip up a healthy, organic, wholesome, free-range, nutritious, yada yada meal. I might have been up several times the night before. I might be tired. On a bad day I make Fishfingers for my kids. “Served with what?” I hear you ask. With Ketchup. Fishfingers and Ketchup. And they love it. They’ll get their veggies another day.
2. Speaking of veggies. I am not obsessed with trying to get vegetables into my kids. I believe the human body will crave what it needs, and will, therefore, take what it needs. We have a very balanced and healthy diet. Just not today. My kids will grow up to be strong and healthy having Fishfingers with Ketchup today and a wholesome vegetable lasagna tomorrow with all the healthy trimmings. I am not going to lose sleep if they haven’t eaten carrots for one day.
3. On a bad day, I leave the room when my children have a sh*t attack. Yes, on a bad day I don’t call it tantrum. I call it sh*t attack. I leave the room for fear that I might also end up on the floor kicking and screaming. It’s called ‘tactical retreat’.
4. On a bad day, I use sweets as bribes to get them to do what I need them to do. When I am tired or simply run out of patience, I use sweets to pretty much get them to do anything. Let’s go to school. Here is a sweet. Tidy up your toys. Here is a sweet... You get the concept.
5. On a bad day when I am running out of answers and patience, I say “Because I said so” and “That’s why.”
6. On a bad day, when my kids manage to press all my buttons, I shout at them. I shout at them because I am probably repeating myself for the 46th time, because they aren’t listening and I feel helpless. On a bad day this drives me demented and I don’t have the patience to apply my quiet soft reasoning voice, address the kids at their level like you are supposed to and speak to them like they show you on “Supernanny”. Instead I shout and usually that gets their attention. (I also call this motivational speaking for the selective hearing)
7. On a bad day, I also use sarcasm with my kids. I know they don’t get it but it makes me feel grown up and like I am in charge. If they ask me “Are those my tights?” I might reply “Well, they are hardly mine!”
8. I let my children watch television. That’s right. I see you, perfect Facebook mum, shaking your head and “ts ts ts”-ing me. There are some really cute cartoons and educational shows on TV, that offer the kids more than I can on a bad day. They give me a break or allow me to do some other work around the house and the kids have fun. You should check it out when you’re not too busy pretending to be perfect.
9. On a bad day, I spend too much time on my phone. Looking to find out what else is going on in the world outside of my own. While I do that I tune out while my kids bicker and fight. (It’s good for them to sort things out between themselves without my intervention for a change.)
10. On a bad day, I have been known to put my child into timeout and left them there longer than the recommended time because I got distracted and forgot about them. Oops.
11. On a bad day, I might feel isolated, defeated, tired, stressed, frustrated, vulnerable, emotionally and mentally naked and……….. sore.
I could probably write a small pamphlet about parenting debaucheries I’ve ‘committed’ in some parents’ eyes. I am sure we all could.
Fortunately, not every day is a bad day.
Fortunately, bad days are far and few between.
Fortunately, that one bad day won’t ruin our kids and turn them into weirdos in years to come.
Fortunately, they won’t be emotionally scarred from sitting in timeout a little longer than they should have. Not eating carrots every single day won’t turn them into unhealthy eaters.
Needless to say, I love my children with every fiber in my body. They are my pride and joy, my heart and soul. Despite not being perfect all the time and having off days if they were to write a performance review for me, I would do pretty well in that. Full marks, I reckon. They are my Baby Bears and I am their Mama Bear. But even the best mother and even the best father sometimes has a bad day.
So don’t judge. Please.
Read here all the things I said I would NEVER do for my kids.