Back in the day, you know, BC (Before Children), I had a pretty clear idea of what kind of Mum I was going to be one day. Or so I thought. Suffice to say that nearly six years into this motherhood malarkey and two kids later, the reality doesn’t quite match those ambitions of the past. To demonstrate just how naive and foolish I was, I’ve compiled my top five vision vs reality fails.
Before I had kids, I imagined I would be calm and composed at all times, always in control of the situation and the picture of patience and serenity. The truth is, I lose my shiz on a regular basis, shouting at the top of my voice for a hundred times “Becky, put your shoes on for Goodness sake!!! Put them on!!” or “Alex, no! No! No Alex! Alex stop!!! Noooo!” and things to this effect, while cursing and muttering profanities under my breath. The easy going, unshakeable Mum I thought I would be, I am not. Obviously, the little munchkins are to blame for testing and stretching my patience levels beyond the imaginable sometimes!
I pictured myself happily playing with my kiddies, doing Pinterest worthy crafty things – all educational and didactic, of course – playing with dollies and racing cars, dressing up as fairies and superheros and creating our own fantasy world. In reality, the thought of dressing up as a fairy, superhero or any kind of role / pretend play makes me want to drown myself in gin, and I admit that more often than not I find in-door activities with the littles mind numbingly boring. I shudder at the thought of messy play in my just about semi-tidy house, and as for crafty things – well, anyone who knows me will at this point already have spit out their drink with laughter, because you do not get more un-crafty than me. Damn you Pinterest!
Add to this the fact that I work full time and struggle to juggle work, chores and quality time with the kids at the best of times, I resort to “i-Parenting” via iPads and iPhones more than I ever thought I would. That said, we do try to venture out and about and play outside as much as we can, and this is the kind of activity I do do and enjoy. I guess motherhood is all about playing to your strengths and riding out your weaknesses, isn’t it?
Oh My Gosh, when I first started weaning Becky, I spent a fortune on organic and exotic produce, rustling up home cooked meals and feeding her everything from avocados and papaya to figs and pomegranate to giant couscous, hummus and prosciutto. My little cherub was going to become a mini gourmet, loving all foods, especially tasty, healthy ones. Picky eaters? Pah! What picky eaters!?
Fast forward a couple of years, and after initial enthusiasm for different cuisines, Becky started to eliminate whole food groups off her daily diet. We are now pretty much down to three main dishes that she eats: Buttered toast, (plain) pasta and tuna, and chips and fish fingers / alternating with chicken dippers. We have gone from a colourful plate of food to beige blandness. So far Alex is still eating more things than Becky, but I can already see a pattern emerging and it’s only a matter of time before Alex, too, will be drawn in by the power of beige. And I? I have come to the realisation that there is absolutely nothing I can force down my kids’ throats that they don’t want to eat, so in utter desperation that they at least eat something, I’ve let all gourmet ambitions go and have instead stockpiled bread, pasta, frozen chips and chicken dippers which I serve up to the kiddos on rotation. Needs must.
I really thought I would be the disciplinarian of the house, a no nonsense Mum who takes no crap from anyone. And don’t get me wrong, there are limits to how many of my buttons I let the little ones push; there are definitely certain boundaries that I do not allow them to cross. But overall, I’ve been a lot softer than I ever imagined I’d be – partially, because they are just so darn cute and often have me wrapped around their little fingers. Partially also, because I’ve learned to pick my battles and let certain things go – because otherwise we’d be in a constant cycle of tantrums, tears (mine and theirs!) and time on the naughty step, and life, frankly, is too short. And I think between us, John (who is a lot stricter than I ever thought he’d be) and I are doing a pretty good job of raising well adjusted and (relatively) well behaved little humans.
The one thing I never considered myself to be is a very maternal mother. Before I had them, I had never been particularly “into” kids, and I certainly never thought I would become one of those parent bores who spam their Instagram and Facebook feeds with constant pictures of their little darlings and their mini milestones. After all, I’m not “just” a mother, but also a professional woman with a good career and lots of other things to talk about! Only, here I am, clogging up my Facebook and Instagram feeds and showing off about my little duo ... Yawn! To be fair, they are just so dead cute and clever and obviously ever so advanced...Haha! See, I’m doing it again, I just can’t help it! What has become of me?! I’ve been totally spellbound by my babies like all the other mothers and fathers before me.
So, I’m not the mother I thought I’d be - but I’m ok with that. Because on the flipside, what I also could have never imagined in a million years is the total, all-consuming and unconditional love you feel for those little terrors (even if they absolutely drive you up the wall sometimes!). Always and forever.
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