Anyone will tell you that parenthood equals a lifetime of guilt. As soon as the little darling comes along you start worrying, questioning and feeling bad about practically everything. But I have come to realise that it’s ok to mess up. Showing your kids that everyone makes mistakes, and as long as you say sorry and try to make amends, the world keeps turning, is a pretty good life lesson. So instead of guilt, let’s all try to be a little bit more laid back about things. Next time you feel guilty for not firing on all cylinders or when your Mum of the Year crown starts to slip just remember you are doing your best – and you can’t be a high achiever all the time. Cut yourself some slack (and a piece of cake) and be safe in the knowledge that tomorrow is another day! If your kids are loved and cared for then what’s the point worrying about…
Giving them fish fingers and chips for tea – you’ve been out all day and the last thing you can face is cooking a ‘proper’ meal. You open the freezer and all that confronts you is a couple of old fish fingers and some oven chips. Does it matter that for once their tea has the nutritional equivalent of cardboard? Will they succumb to scurvy and rickets because they have a meal that doesn’t feature any greens? No! Let’s just salute Captain Birds Eye for making our lives a little bit easier now and again.
Letting them watch TV all afternoon – your head’s killing you, you have a massive pile of ironing to do and you can’t face playing another game of pirates. The babysitter in the corner should be seen as a saviour for those moments when we just can’t continue being the best of the best. Even Superwoman needs a rest and if the Tweenies, Postman Pat and Sooty can give you some rest byte who am I to criticise?
Losing your temper – at the end of the day you are human and can only take so much bad behaviour. If an adult threw a tantrum, took an hour to do what you asked or forgot their manners, you would be rightly angry so why can’t we get cross with our kids? I don’t see any problem with getting angry now and again, as long as when the dust has settled, we apologise and explain why we lost it. Life isn’t a Disney film and children who know how to handle and resolve conflict are going to be pretty well armed to cope in later life.
Not believing that their ill – kids are experts at knowing what buttons to press to get a reaction. Their handle on psychology would put a professor to shame. It can be hard to keep one step ahead so when they are complaining of feeling sick on Sunday night or having a headache an hour before a dentist appointment, you have to assess the situation and trust your mummy(or daddy) instinct. OK, it might be wrong but the school/nursery can always call you if they really should be tucked up in bed.
Eating their Easter eggs – this year I thought I had put a limit on the amount the Easter bunny was allowed to bring to our house but we still ended up with more chocolate than Willy Wonka. I therefore saw it as a my public duty to munch through a few eggs whilst the kids were in bed. If they’d been left to their own devices their teeth would have been rotting and their waistlines expanding. As it is they have still got a pile of chocolate but I got some too!
Bringing bedtime forward – my kids are too young to tell the time properly and it makes life so much easier! After a long day, when I’m climbing the walls, it’s much easier to persuade them that it’s bedtime when they can’t contradict me (I just have to make sure the TV is off so the Cbeebies bedtime song doesn’t give me away). Should I feel guilty for making sure my little darlings are getting a good night’s rest and I am getting some much needed peace? Never!
Missing play dates/parties – My children have better social lives than I do – not a weekend goes by when they aren’t invited to a party (or three) and since my daughter started school the playdates have been coming thick and fast. To start with I accepted them all, but over time, I have learned to be more selective. It’s good for my children to realise they can’t go to everything and that turning down an invite doesn’t mean they are turning their back on a friend. There are four of us in our family and although we juggle as much as we can to accommodate the little ones’ social lives sometimes it’s ok to say no!