I had no idea what to expect when I first become a mum. If I am honest, I was scared of becoming a mum.
I bought every magazine and parenting book I could, I would sit reading them for hours, memorising every little detail, so I could be the perfect parent.
I still buy these books and magazines to this day, mostly now to laugh at the ridiculous ideas they set up for new mums.
I failed at the first hurdle, I tried to breastfeed my babies, and it just was not for me.
I did not use the recommended organic reusable nappies that are much more economical and better for the world, not to mention much kinder to my babies skin.
I used disposable nappies with all of my babies. I also skipped the cotton wool for wipes from birth, I did as I was told with my first 2 babies, by the time I had my 3rd, and the wipes came out from the start.
I did co sleep with my first baby, I did rock her to sleep snuggled in my arms every night. She did become a terrible sleeper, to the extent we actually featured on This Morning TV with child psychologist Oliver James as she refused to sleep anywhere other than with me, at the age of 7.
I failed big time on the sleep issue
By the time the following 5 babies arrived all were put to sleep from 6 weeks old wide awake and were never rocked to sleep.
You defiantly learn by your mistakes.
That is the very beauty of parenting, it is a learning curve.
We are not automatically transformed into perfect parents the moment we give birth, we are still the same person, except now we have this huge responsibility, and this also brings added fear and stresses.
Trying to always get it right, we have already set ourselves up for failure, as there is no such thing as a perfect parent.
I had no idea what I was meant to do half of the time when I had my first child and twelve years later with six children, some days I feel that exact same way. I think I make things up as I go along most of the time.
There are certain rules we all follow, we don’t give honey to a baby under a year and we don’t give nuts either, we know what a high temperature is and we know how to sooth our baby when it cries.
We can spot when our child is ill, hungry or sleepy.
We feed, love, nurture and want to provide our children with all the things they need.
Yet we still often feel like we fail them
We are taught that our baby will sleep at least 12 hours a day and will drink at least 21oz of milk in 24 hours, so what happens when it doesn’t?
We panic, we reach for those text books or the favourite of mine Google and we end up even more confused.
It is like looking up a split toe nail, Google will only tell you that your toe is about to fall off.
I think we need to stop reading and learn to trust our instincts, that what we are doing is right.
With so many conflicting advices is it any wonder we live in fear of getting it wrong.
Little Tommy was walking at 11 months and your 15 month old son is only just crawling, oh no you suddenly feel a failure, you are a bad parent as your child is behind everyone else’s.
If we stopped comparing our child to other’s we could concentrate more on how wonderful being a parent actually is.
We set our own standards so high, that we could never reach them, and nobody could.
There are so many out there wanting to throw their own advice at you, we end up in a constant state of confusion and even begin questioning our capabilities.
We think we are going to screw up our children’s lives because we have made a mistake, I have made many.
I have shouted and even threatened to smack bums at times
I have cried and I have admitted I can’t take any more and wanted to run away.
I have given my kids chocolate spread sandwiches for lunch and pizza for tea instead of their 5 fruit and vegetables a day.
I have used baby jars instead of cooking from scratch.
I have kept the children off school because I overslept and never heard the alarm.
I have used the bottom of their tops to quickly wipe their snotty noses. I have bribed my kids and I have given in and given them what they wanted, just to get that peace and quiet.
I have promised we would go somewhere or do something, then broken that promise.
Not A Perfect Parent But Good Enough
I hold my hands up; I have failed at parenting so many times.
Yet each new day gives that chance to try yet again to get it right, the children’s lives are not going to be screwed up because of my mistakes, instead they understand that people get things wrong, that they make the wrong choices and sometimes things just can’t be helped.
They also understand that we apologise when we have done wrong. We admit to our mistakes and most of all that we learn from them.
I cannot teach my children everything they need to know, for the simple fact I don’t know everything. I even had problems telling my eldest the other day what year World War 2 started in.
My kids do not get everything they want, they get what they need, treats can be earned and expensive items are saved for special occasions.
Our house is too small, we don’t have a sports car, we have endless bills and they sometimes even wear odd socks when I am in a mad rush to leave the house.
I am not a perfect parent, but I am perfect enough.