I am mum to two children, a boy and a girl both aged under seven. So I’ve been a parent for a good few years now. But throughout those years, parenting has never been what I expected and always been a challenge. To be fair, my perceptions of parenting were largely based on TV and films, where children are beautifully behaved and families sit down for homecooked meals that everybody eats with gusto.
The reality, in our house at least, is widely different. But do you know what – that’s OK. Recently I have started coming to terms with my parenting style (as unique as it is) and accepting that as a family, we’re doing alright.
I’m also finding that I’m seeing the positives of parenting more and more, which after 30+ years of a glass-half-empty mindset is quite unexpected.
You will be surprised
I didn’t get the huge rush of love that everyone tells you will happen after giving birth. In fact it was a good few weeks before I stopped feeling like a rabbit in the headlights about what was happening.
But the rush of love moments do come, and mostly at the times you are least expecting them. Like when your son (dressed as a shepherd) does a floss during his school Christmas performance or your daughter is super proud of the new updo she has created (complete with six Frozen hairclips). These moments would seem completely insignificant to your children or anyone else, but it’s those moments that you will remember for a long time.
You will learn
Being a parent brings with it a whole host of new knowledge. The difference between chicken pox and measles, how immunisations work and the exact decimal point a temperature becomes a fever are all prime examples. By the time your kids are 10 you’d be scoring maximum Mastermind points in your specialist subject of how ill your child needs to be to keep them at home.
You will grow
Before becoming a parent I thought I had myself figured out and naively expected that these traits would continue. In fact, I have grown alongside my children (and not just in the waistband area!)
I’ve always been chronically impatient but this has definitely softened since becoming a mum. Watching the same episode of Peppa Pig for the sixty millionth time or standing at the side of a freezing cold football pitch are all cases in point. Yes there are lots of other things that need doing (or would be more enjoyable) but they will have to wait.
You will also find how resilient you can be in tricky situations, and exactly where your boundaries lie. For me I can more than cope with being thrown up on or putting the kids first when you all have the same nasty bug. But the mere mention of headlice is enough to send me away screaming, let alone having to look for the little blighters.
You will gain new skills
Being a parent is actually very good training for being a master criminal. You become adept in getting blood out of sheets, hiding the evidence of vegetables in meals, or chocolate biscuit wrappers in the cupboard, sleeping in the smallest of spaces the tiniest edge of the bed and creeping around stealthily to not wake your precious angels once you have finally got them to sleep.
So aside from the fact that you are raising amazing children, being a parent helps you to become a more well-rounded version of yourself. This has really helped me to see that actually, I’m not doing a half-bad job; I’m not going to be winning any super-mum awards soon but we’re all doing OK.
*Photo by Benjamin Manley on Unsplash (wishing that I had lovely hair like this lady, but alas, it’s not me)