I have realised I don’t have to be everything to my kids in order for them to thrive. Actually, trying to be everything can do quite the opposite, I believe. In my many, many moments of weakness, I see how capable my children are.
I absolutely adore this picture of my amazing kids shining.
When I’m sick…
From a curled up position on the couch, the house still ticks away. Sure, not as efficiently or as well as I may like, but things still happen. My daughter makes cheese toast for dinner. My son brings me water and I love the proud look on his face. The other girls rush around making me comfortable with pillows. When I’m sick, it reaffirms to me the importance of not always being
a total crazy control freak in charge of absolutely everything in the home.
When I’m tired…
When I’m tired, I slow down from my fast forward normal. It’s a good thing for me sometimes. When I’m tired, I don’t be the hero but focus on the simple things like chillin’ with my kids and watching them smile. This post is a perfect example: I Feel Crappy Today.
When I’m premenstrual…
I get majorly feral when I’m pre-menstral. I know I’m being feral but it’s like I’m watching myself from above but can’t stop the crankiness (or eating all the carbs in the house). It happens 2-3 days every month. Every. Single. Month. I have decided to be honest with my kids about it. With my pre-teen girls, I explain to them that I’m getting my period (which is something we have talked about before). The younger kids don’t notice so much; I don’t go into details with them.
The key for me is to ensure the children know why I’m cranky (age relevant) and that it has nothing to do with them; that is, they are not the reason for my crankiness. I hope by being open about normal stuff, it will be just that: normal. I don’t want to spring a “big talk” on my kids or give them the token book without tricklings of information beforehand. I’d rather talk about things as they happen so over time, the education is there along with the real life connection. I say something like this, and I say it every single time I’m premenstrual and feel it’s affecting the family (believe me, I do try to ensure it doesn’t affect them but usually fail):
“Sorry I’m so cranky Beautifuls. I’m getting my period again. I’m totally fine and please know that I’m not annoyed at you, or cranky at you. I’m just not at my best.”
This usually opens up the opportunity for the children to ask questions which helps me gauge what information to give them. Some might assert that you should protect children from these sorts of negative issues but these issues are life, and whether I like it or not, they affect the family. For my pre-teen girls, the issues will far too soon, be their own. I can either feel guilty for being cranky before my period (because I’ve accepted that I surely will be) or use it as an opportunity to share with my kids, to help them understand what positive tools they can use when they feel down and educate them about normal stuff.
When I’m me…
I’m not great at routine. I mean, I’m okay with the broad outline of the day — breakfast, morning school jobs, afternoon jobs, washing hands after toilet, dinner — but fixed routine and organisation I don’t sustain well. I’m more of a creative dreamer and am liable to be caught up in the moment so dinner is late. That’s me. That’s me not trying to be the mum I’m not. Of course, there’s good and bad about my personality and how it plays out in my parenting, but I have noticed that my children are unique, and develop their own sense of how they like to do things anyway. Take my two eldest for instance: Number 1 is more like me and yet Number 2 is always super organised and has her own special routine, despite me being the type of person I am. I’ve discovered it’s more important for my kids to feel secure about who they are at home rather than me enforcing my own personality values on them. My imperfection hasn’t majorly damaged my kids (I don’t think!).
How it affects our relationship
Being fallible (and honest about it) has brought depth to the relationship I have with my children. People are often shocked at how deeply my kids share with me, especially as my girls get older as there’s an expectation they will lie to me. Below are re-occuring instances where I have seen a genuine openness and honesty between the children and I.
My daughter chatting to me about boys she thinks are nice.
- When my daughter didn’t feel the need to lie to me.
My daughter was honest about one of my negative traits in a respectful way.
Our entire family is honest when we are not having a good day or feel anxious about something. Green Brain (happy) and Red Brain (anxious) we affectionately name it.
I had a discussion with the Principal of our school about an issue my daughter raised with me. He was shocked that my daughter was so open with me, and actually rang later to tell me how wonderful it was. I feel privileged that my kids are willing to share with me. It was lovely to have the reinforcement that I’m not totally ruining my kids. HA!
I strive to be the best Mum I can be, and at the end of the day, the best I can be is not about being perfect all the time but creating a loving environment where my children have the opportunity to shine. And they do. Bless them!