Thursday, 1 November 2012

Attack of the 'Shoulds and Oughts'

There are so many conflicting views out there about being a Mum. Sometimes I find myself attacked from all sides by the things I should be doing, or am not doing. I'm sure I'm not the only one who gets pulled down by it - unless you have incredibly thick skin, it's hard not to be.

All our babies and children are different. We can't expect everyone to fight the same battles, have the same outcomes or the same robotic, perfect children.

When Jonah, our third and final boy, was born 5 years ago some very good friends with 4 children gave us the most helpful advice so far in all our years of parenting. "Drop your standards".

Consequently, our standards have dropped. So low sometimes that I wonder if they will ever creep back up again!

I stopped trying to be supermum and hide seeds and other 'healthy' things in their weetabix.

I stopped making homemade fishfingers and bought them from Tescos instead.

I really do not care what they wear (most of the time) when they leave the house. This includes wearing holey t-shirts and mud strewn trousers to church meetings.

Sometimes, in a choice between more screen time and my sanity, the screen time wins hands down.

I shout at them. Sometimes they listen more when I shout.

I gave up trying to put sweets given to them at school in the sweetie jar to save for sweetie day and let them eat them on the way home from school instead.

My babies weren't breastfed for long. I gave them bottles and they have amazingly survived and aren't allergic to anything.

I choose my battles, even when I think others might not choose the same battles as me.

I try to discipline consistently, but often fail.

I don't have a clean and tidy house. In fact, you're usually lucky if you can make it through the front door.

I let them watch Scooby Do. Even Jonah. Even the episodes about demons and witches.

And, the amazing thing is that although our standards have dropped considerably, our boys seem to be mostly turning out ok. Maybe it didn't matter, after all, whether I made homemade fishfingers. Perhaps it wasn't the end of the world when I let Max play in the muddy garden in barefeet in the middle of winter because I couldn't face the shoe battle. Maybe my children are loved by me and by God, even when they look like they have been dragged through a hedge backwards (and sometimes, they really have been).

Instead of thinking about the 'shoulds and oughts', I need to think about the fact that my boys are happy, loved by us and by God, that He has great plans for them and has put them in our family for a reason. We are the ideal parents for our children. That's why God gave them to us. Let's have a break from the constant comparisons and know that we are doing our best, for our own children, in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in.

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