For a long time I have been thinking about how even though our experiences with parenting are very similar in a lot of aspects but in others the are very different. I personally love the diversity that each child brings to the family and how each child can change how we parent. This also allows for invaluable advise from friends and other parents that have gone through similar experiences.
The one thing that strikes me the most is how many comments I get about being a ‘supermum’. This is fact is far from the truth. Yes I may have 4 children but this doesn’t make me any better of a mother than someone with 1 child. The number of children you have is irrelevant in the type of mother you are. I can honestly say that overall I don’t find motherhood stressful. Yes it has its moments and yes at times I wish I had only 2, 1 or even none however those moments are fleeting (and usually happen when I am sick or finished a night shift and I get asked to wipe yet another arse…). Yet again this doesn’t make me better or worse. What I have noticed is how much your perception of your parenting or even children seems to shape our ideas on what is happening under our roof.
For me I have lots of friends that having their child wake up once or twice a night for 2years as a great. For them their child is doing amazingly and they feel well rested. Where as for me I would probably die. This also applies to all aspects that people find challenging such as meal times, bedtimes and toileting to name a few.
For me personally toilet training has been a non-issue for me because mess does not bother me (hence Scout once taking a dump on his train table). Yet for others toileting accidents can result in anxiety and higher levels of stress. This again is massive around meal times and eating. For some their child only eating toast is a non issue and they don’t even think about it and yet for others creates incredible stress because they are worried about the long term affects of picky eaters. Yet at the end of the day these two children may be very similar but their parents perceive one to be challenging and the other parents find them to be an easy child.
I think the biggest thing that we can take from understanding how much perception may play in our parenting is allowing ourselves to cut us some slack. Again I think it is highlighted by how the days we feel like we are killing parenting compared to the days we feel like we are failing. I think this can also offer insight into others and where we can share ideas on ways to manage our on anxieties and stresses around certain aspects we find concerning. Please don’t take this as if I am saying a child with a diagnosed condition as a perception. This I can assure you is not what I am saying. I am simply talking about the everyday delemias and decisions we face as parents on a daily basis.
I am simply saying that sometimes taking a step back; having a deep breath and looking at the bigger picture can change our perception almost in an instant. This is also something that we can learn from each other. I have a friend who is a calm and relaxed parent. It is often nice to ask her opinion on how to be like her in some aspects. I have another friend who is a little more cautious and I personally
know that is an aspect I need to work on. Hence I always call her for advice on aspects that I maybe should be so relaxed on e.g. when to go to the doctors.
The point is that every one of us has strengths and weaknesses and this should be embraced. No one is perfect and our children don’t expect us to be either. I always find myself going back to “it takes a village to raise a child” analogy a lot. I feel that this sums up that we need each other to raise our children to be the best they can be. It is amazing how much children learn through observation and as adults we are the same.
So take a deep breath the next time you perceive yourself to be doing a terrible job because I can almost guarantee that you are not.
Tanya is an Adelaide based blogger and a brutally honest mother of four. She is a self proclaimed lover of poo stories and enjoys finding humour in the small things. Tanya regularly shares her thoughts on her blog Four Little Creatures, Check it out HERE . To find, stalk and follow Tanya on Instagram, Click HERE