Monday, 22 February 2016

Decisions, Decisions

One of the hardest things about parenting is that, as the primary care givers, we are responsible for a lot of decisions day in day out.

Some of these decisions are big (shall we start potty training today?) and some are small (should I let him have one more biscuit?)

But there are always consequences. Again some big and some small.

But the thing about making the decisions (of course this is true if dads or even grandparents or childcare settings are the primary caregiver), is that you are the one/s responsible for those consequences.

When those consequences are good (he potty trains in three days), you feel the most immense sense of success, pride and achievement.

When those consequences are bad (he is up four hours past his bedtime because he's on a sugar high from that extra biscuit), it is crushing.

All the good things can temporarily be cancelled out by the terrible decision you made. Especially if that decision means your child is hurt or it deprives you of sleep.

But remember this:

Most, if not all, of the decisions we beat ourselves up about are not terrible decisions. They don't even have terrible consequences. A late bedtime is inconvenient. But it is not terrible.

Every day we make hundreds of decisions, subconsciously, which have positive outcomes and consequences for our children.

We get up in the night with them. We get up at the crack of dawn (sometimes before!) even though we're desperate to stay in bed. We feed them breakfast. We dress them. We help them brush their teeth. We cuddle them if they fall over. We tell them we love them. We read them a book.

We show them we love and care for them. Yes, it's crap to be woken up in the night, especially when you're blaming yourself for something you might/might not be doing. It feels awful to get angry and refuse your child a different dinner because they wont eat the meal you've prepared. It's rubbish to have your children's routine disrupted because of something you've chosen to do.

But, it is not your fault.

And, if anything, those decisions we make which have less-than-ideal consequences?

They're the ones we learn from.

Pink Pear Bear

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Be Proud to Be Proud!

I recently posted my 'Motherhood Challenge' photos online. For anyone who doesn't know what this is (have you been living under a rock?!) it is a 'challenge' that went viral where mothers were encouraged to post three or five (depending on who tagged you) photos of what motherhood means to them on Facebook and then nominate other mothers to do the same.

It lasted about three days and I thought I might escape it but, alas, I was tagged. In some ways I hoped I would escape it because I have a lot of friends on social media who don't have children. Some don't want them. Some have lost them. Some are desperately trying for them. Some are not ready yet. I appreciate that not everyone wants to see pictures of my children with a gushing post about motherhood.

But some days I don't feel 'gushing' about motherhood (I'm going to stop using the word 'gushing' because it's beginning to sound rude now). Some days I just 'get by'. Some days I'm tired. That's a lie; every day I'm tired. Some days I'm envious of those people on Facebook posting photos of themselves on a sun lounger in Barbados sipping cocktails, whilst my last holiday consisted mainly of rescuing Thomas the Tank Engine trains from the bottom of the swimming pool.

But when I was tagged, it made me really think about my role as Mummy and my job at Motherhood. And I realised that it's actually quite bloody wonderful. There are difficult days (as there are in every job) and some days my employees are rather unco-operative. But it's hugely rewarding. Watching my children grow makes me inordinately proud. And I realised that I should be proud to be proud.

I shouldn't need to refrain from posting photos of my children as part of a 'Motherhood Challenge'. I know it might upset some people who don't have children. But telling me I can't be openly proud of my children because there are people without children is like telling someone they can't write a status declaring their love for their partner because some people are single.

It's like telling someone not to tell everyone about the wonderful new job they've got because there are people on their Facebook who might hate their job. Or who might not have a job.

It's like telling someone not to post their wedding photos because Janet next door is desperate to get married but her boyfriend doesn't want to.

It's like telling someone not to post a picture of their dog because someone they know has just had to put theirs to sleep.

It's like banning every 'Happy Mother's Day' status because there are people who have lost their mothers.

I'm not being a heartless b*tch I promise. And as someone who has two very close friends who have lost their mums I am not one for posting 'Happy Mother's Day'. Partly because of this but also partly because I speak to my Mum on much more direct levels than social media.

It doesn't mean I think people should accept having their faces rubbed in stuff that upsets them. And if someone were to write a post which read "Just got a new job. Ha ha ha ha to all you poor sods who still hate their job. Or even worse, those of you that don't have a job and can't afford a fancy new car like me" then this would not be acceptably polite or compassionate.

But if someone posted "Just got a new job. So proud of myself and can't wait to start," then I would be happy for them no matter my employment status. Because they are clearly not gloating. They are celebrating and sharing their success.

A lot of the time, when you're yelling "get your shoes on" for the seventh time in ten minutes, or when you've had three hours broken sleep, you do not feel like you're being particularly successful at motherhood. But when you're told to reflect on it, it turns out it really is quite the achievement.

So as long as I know I'm not being a gloating, arrogant cow then I'll continue to share my successes and achievements with my friends via social media. And that includes my children.

I'll continue being proud to be proud.

I love them and I'm proud to say it!
Run Jump Scrap!

Friday, 12 February 2016

Now That You Are One

People used to tell me that the time would go too fast
That I'd blink, I'd miss it and it would be gone
I never used to understand exactly what they meant
But I understand it now that you are one.

Parents the world over will tell you of the truth
That though the years are short, the days are long
And sometimes it would seem those days would never ever end
But a year has ended now that you are one.

I spent so many moments quietly wishing for the time
You would roll and sit and crawl and walk along
And now you run away from me and try to climb the stairs
And it's all behind me now that you are one.

And when I'm looking back to when I wished for all these things
I cannot fathom where the time has gone
For now you're not a baby, you're a toddler, you're a child
And it's overwhelming now that you are one.

For, looking back this year, I can't remember every day
I don't recall the first time that you rolled
My memories are giggles, smiles and cuddles with us all
That's all that matters now that you are one.

I met you just a year ago but loved you way before
And now a year has come and been and gone
You make me smile and make me proud - every single day

Happy Birthday darling

Now that you are one

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Dear Second Child

Dear Second Child

I'm sorry that you've not got a proper nursery. No pictures, no special curtains with the teddy and bunny tie backs, no changing table (nothing wrong with a changing mat on the bed - it's actually much more versatile). The fact you have to share the room with the spare bed and, more often than not, the washing hanging on the airer.

We were a giddy newly pregnant couple when we decorated your older brother's nursery. We didn't have much else to occupy our time other than work and watching whatever we wanted on the TV every night. Weekends were, get this: free for us to do as we pleased! And it pleased us to buy co-ordinating curtains, change mat, cot bedding (which we never even used), lampshade, pictures and nappy holder.

Did we do it because we loved your brother more? Of course not. It's just that after we had him, we realised that he didn't know if his room was decorated with teddies or turnips and he totally missed the memo about the cute bunny tiebacks because he never even noticed them. Or if he did he was very nonchalant about the whole thing (they are, in Mummy's opinion, so cute!).

I'm sorry that you don't own a money box. I know your brother got three gifted to him when he was born (none from us I hasten to add), each with a bit of money in.

One was from your Great Grandparents. Your brother was their first great grandchild and they (Great Nana) was what is best described as 'beyond excited'.

Did they do it because they love him more than you? Of course not. It was the idea of great grandchildren they loved the most and the idea of investing in that future.

I'm sorry that you've already tasted cake, chocolate, ice cream, oven chips, chip-shop chips, custard creams and fish fingers whilst your brother had still only really eaten home cooked, organic meals at this age (just pre-one-year FYI).

Does this mean I care more about your brother's health than I do yours? Of course not. It means that I've realised a biscuit here and there wont hurt you and a tiny cup cake made by your brother, who desperately wants you to try his baking, will not rot the eight teeth that you have, as long as we brush them and don't feed you cake every day. Even with all that home cooking, your brother will still choose popcorn chicken and chips for dinner given the choice - maybe you'll go the other way and be requesting salad at three years of age (this is long shot I grant you. Especially judging by the way you devoured that cup cake).

I'm sorry that you've not had the time with Mummy and Daddy (or your grandparents) that your brother got. I'm sorry we haven't gone to Baby Yoga or Baby Sensory. And I'm sorry that sometimes it feels like you've had to fend for yourself a bit whilst I negotiate with your brother over how many episodes of Peter Rabbit he will watch before bath time. Or whilst I help him on and off the toilet. Or whilst I'm baking with him and you wake up early from your nap.

I promise I love you with as much heart, soul and devotion as I love your brother. I didn't know it was possible, but somehow my heart just expanded when you were born to fit all the love in.

It doesn't matter about the curtains and the nappy holder or the money box (your brother's spent all the money on crap from Toys R Us now anyway) or the chips or the lack of Baby Yoga. Because those things are not measures of love. The only measure of love you need is how tight I hug you before bed and how much my heart bursts with love when I watch you walking, 'talking' and (one of my favourites) sleeping.

And anyway, don't tell them I spoiled the surprise, but your Great Grandparents have got you a money box for your birthday ;)

Run Jump Scrap!
Pink Pear Bear