Firstly thanks to everyone who read last weeks blog post. I was aiming for 100 visitors by the end of the month but I seem to have already got there so that’s amazing! Ok, so I’ve hardly gone viral, but still, I smashed my targets so… virtual high five to you all!
This week (as always) has been full of moments of greatness and sh*tness combined…
Let’s start with the great mum brownie points shall we?
- Lots of fun, engaging play – On Monday I got down on the floor and did some good old playing with my 4 year old. I know right? My husband had taken me away to a hotel for a kid free weekend, so Monday morning saw a fresh enthusiasm for this type of activity. There was no, “Not now, Mama is busy.” I ignored the dirty washing left in hideous heaps and got down on that carpet amongst the cat hair and actually played with her. We played vets for ages and it was really good fun. I was ordered to stitch a cut in a stuffed koala’s bum as well as remove god knows how much earwax from numerous other animals eyes. Yes eyes… don’t ask. We then each did a puppet show. Hers was so funny and cute and mine, well in my opinion it was actually fit for a West End transfer, so I will be expecting that call any day now thank you.
- Home cooking – I cooked a banging shepherd’s pie on Monday eve. It took fucking ages. Actual cream in the mash and everything. The whole fam loved it; including the fussy 4 year old who even tried cauliflower for the first time ever. She didn’t like it, thank god! She farts like a trumpet at the best of times, but that’s beside the point.
- On Tuesday I took my 4 year old to the science museum with some friends. Us mums managed to chat whilst also engaging/playing with the kids, which is always an achievement right? Although we did get stumped at times when the kids asked us sciencey questions like “Mummy what do satellites do in space?” Us – “Eeeerm? Beam down Netflix?”
- Yesterday I sacrificed my weekly yoga class to take them to an after school birthday party in a hideous soft play the other side of town. I did not feel very Zen about it let me tell you, but it was utterly selfless and it made for absolutely great mum brownie points, not that they even feckin noticed.
However, this week I have also (of course) been a very sh*t mum…
This has been mostly due to the dreaded PMT. Ok, so the PMT has been mixed with post weekend blues due to drinking dangerous amounts of espresso Martini’s in the hotel bar on the weekend but we won’t go there. Let’s just say that these two things combined have left me feeling rather blue and snappy.
I just cannot seem to deal with situations that arise in the same calm, controlled manner when I’m on the blob. This fills me with self-loathing and guilt (so dramatic I know, please note stage directions ‘back of hand is on brow and troubled gaze is skyward’) and I worry about how this comes across to my family and what affect it has on them.
Example, last night after getting back from the party Dad had made them both a small pancake each. Even though they had both consumed their own body weight in Haribos you can’t not have a pancakes on bloody pancake day can you? So, just before tucking into said pancakes my 4 year old stood up on her chair fists clenched, looking angry and shouted in a very loud voice “WHERE IS MY DRINK?” and I just lost it. Instead of smiling calmly and saying “What’s the magic word?” Or some other vile, mumsy cliché I launched into an angry, slightly uncalled for rant about her being very rude and needing to learn her manners and that I was “FED UP OF BEING SPOKEN TO LIKE THAT!” She burst into tears of course and so I plonked her on the step for the usual four minutes and poured myself a glass of Merlot.
It is worth saying at this point that I use the step not as a punishment but as a place of reflection and time to calm down, and that is as much for me as it is for her. Needless to say when I went to talk to her she was very sorry and more to the point, so was I for shouting and so we both apologised and hugged it out. I calmly explained that she needed to remember to say ‘please’ and ask in a nice voice.
I separated the child from the behaviour, which is something I learnt as a teacher. During my training I learnt never to tell a child they are bad or naughty as no child is born bad or naughty. Their behaviour is a reaction to circumstance and environment. Of course they need to know the difference between right or wrong, that goes without saying so I told her, “Behaving like that is not very nice, but you are a nice girl aren’t you? And you can learn to change that behaviour can’t you? You can always ask nicely if you choose to.” I always make the behaviour bad not the child and this also makes it something they are in control of. It gives choice and ownership. Ok, so this may sound like hippy dippy psychobabble but it does work for us. I find it’s not as crushing or demoralising as labelling them by telling them they are bad or they are naughty.
I digress… So does PMT make me a sh*t mum? Sometimes yes, however I’m always pretty open and vocal when I’m experiencing blob rage. I just announce it, “I’m sorry Mummy is a bit grumpy. It’s because I’m on my period and my tummy hurts.” Sometimes they sympathise and come and give me a hug, which is very cute and kind of just what you need when you’re feeling like that.
The best PMT story however was from the other day when my 6 year old and I were playing shop and she was like, “Let’s pretend I’m the customer and I’m on my period” and then she started slamming the plastic fruit on the Melissa and Doug shop counter and generally being quite rude and aloof with the shopkeeper (me). The PMT obviously does not go unnoticed, but it is real life, and so maybe it doesn’t make me a shit mum after all? Maybe I’m just preparing my little girls for what is inevitably just a sh*tty part of a woman’s life…period.