This is a question I ask myself from time to time.
What I do know is, I’m definitely not the kind of mother I thought I’d be before I actually had children, and the way I parent has evolved and grown over the years, from child 1 to child 2 and even from year to year.
I was a mum for the first time at 23, and although I was already an aunt to 3, it was all new to me, and it was bloody hard work. I thought, (naively) that I had all the answers, I would, of course, breastfeed my child for at least a year, she wouldn’t ween until she was at least 6 months or later, and I recall a conversation with my Dad about how my little girl would never have sweets or sugar ( he found that incredibly funny). I told myself that I’d be one of those natural mothers, you know, like the ones you’re force-fed pictures of in parenting mags, but boy did I have a lot to learn.
I did try to keep to my word, but it was exhausting, trying to live up to ‘made up’ standards, and although my first daughter didn’t eat processed sugar at all until she was 3, my second daughter ( born when I was 33 ) had chocolate before she was 1, so I had learned to dance to the beat of my own drum and stop comparing myself to people I didn’t even know.
The one principle I have held true since becoming a mum, is this..
‘This beautiful child has been entrusted to me. It is my responsibility and privilege to walk her through life. I must hold her hand, have her back and wipe her tears, I will always do all I can to keep her safe, healthy, happy and secure, until the day when I must step back and allow her to take on that responsibility for herself. She does not belong to me and I do not own her, but I will always be her safe place, for the rest of my life.’
OK I ‘m aware that it sounds like some pre written prayer or something, but this is something I have believed since I was young, and I try everyday to hold on to that.
There have been lots of lessons for me throughout the last 15 years, all of which I chose to learn from, things were hard for us during the first few years, as they are for everyone, and I worried that I needed to be wealthy and to have all the best baby stuff, for people to think I was a good mum, when, as I’ve learned much more recently, that all my girls need is me ( and the husband I suppose ).
I do obviously have rules, the kids know what they are and the level of batshit I will go if they are not lived by. The rules I have aren’t strict life laws, they’re simple and there for a reason, and I have always explained to girls why they need to follow them.
- keep our home tidy – it’s small and I can’t concentrate at all if I’m surrounded by mess, a toy box or pile of tech must be put away before getting more out.
- do not be disrespectful or rude – I mean this one can be difficult, we are all different and can lose our shit easily, but we all try.
- Never Lie – This is the big NO NO, I tell the girls that no matter what, they will not make me angry if they tell me the truth, It’s hard sometimes, but I never lose it if they’re honest, as a mum, it’s so important to me to teach them that there is no bigger disrespect than lying.
- Stay safe – this is the most important, I’ve told them since they were very little, that if mum or dad isn’t with you, then it’s your responsibility to us to make good decisions to keep yourselves safe.
I totally get that we all have bad day’s, even the little one, so we all need a safe place filled with understanding and caring people to vent to from time to time ( or in our case P.M.T time, poor hubby), and that will always be home for them.
I’m, bloody proud of the parent I’ve become, I don’t want to be their buddy, to pretend that I’m a teenager and act all cool, so that they’ll like me all the time. I want to show them that I made it through the tricky years, I made mistakes and I had my fun & freedom of choice, but now I’m settled, secure and confident within the life I’ve chosen and ready to help guide them through theirs.
I still have those days when I’m scrolling through Insta ( my poison of choice ) and I get green with envy at all the beautifully manicured squares, I try to remind myself that it’s not as it seems, and as I swear my arse off about no one taking the shit up from the stairs as they walk past for the 50th time, I feel content that even though I’m not perfect I’m in the right place, with my favourite people and wouldn’t change it for all the Boden on the gram.
So to answer my own question, I’m a great mum!
And you are too!
we are all just doing our best, raising our little humans to be better than ourselves and hope that we’ve done a good job.