I completely dropped my parenting bundle one morning as we scrambled to get ready for school photo day. If school photo day isn’t a reason for a mum to hate parenting, I don’t know what is.
So, of course, on this particular morning it was all about the hair. I was apparently the worst mother in the world because I don’t watch YouTube videos to learn funky styles.
What can I say? Hair has never been my thing.
I present to you Exhibit A, a flashback to when I had a semi-perm put in my hair (and skied in jeans because SO COOL).
Were perms ever a good idea?
As for my daughter, we do a simple ponytail every day with the occasional plait put to good use when nits are doing the rounds.
However, on class photo day, when mums with mad skills create elaborate designs, my daughter gets a bun. And a pretty basic one at that.
The yank and pull of parenting
That morning I was lamenting the humidity, it had been raining for almost a week and the frizz level was out of this world.
As I yanked and pulled my child’s hair and screamed and moaned, she made quite a cutting comment about my lack of prowess in the hair department.
Needless to say, we’re in the THICK of the tween girl stage right now.
Hormones are starting to race, independence is being tried on for size and the amount of attitude being chucked about could sink a ship.
But a wispy bun was created, threats of hair cutting ensued and I let out a frustrated noise that scared one of my other kids. Not pretty folks.
Related: How we foster independence in our school-age kids
We made it to school on a wing and a prayer and after drop off I sat in the car and said out loud to nobody in particular, “@#$%&* annoying kids.”
No sugar-coating it
And look, some days that’s just the way it is. Parenting is a complete pain in the butt. No sugar-coating it.
Yes, yes #grateful police, I am grateful and so privileged to have three wonderful, healthy children. But some days I downright hate parenting.
It’s relentless, especially when you’re a career insomniac. I’m so tired my tired is tired. However, we muddle through doing the best we can, and if that means less-than-perfect hair styles then so be it.
My strengths don’t lie in doing everything to please my children.
Best my children learn that we all have our strengths and there will always be someone ahead, behind and beside them in life.
My strengths don’t lie in doing everything to please my children.
Kids have to learn the hard way that you can’t always get what you want. Just keep swimming fellow parents, and don’t feel bad if you hate parenting sometimes. It’s both a blessing and a curse, and that’s the truth.
It doesn’t make you a shitty parent if you’re not all butterflies and violins, sometimes you’re mozzies and recorders and that’s okay too.
Is today a good one or a bad one for you?
Note: If you are really struggling and find you hate parenting more than you love it, please give Beyond Blue a call on 1300 22 4636 or Lifeline 13 11 14.
Stop the presses: I’m a mum home alone.
I’m not even kidding, for the past 24 hours not one person has asked me for anything.
Actually, that’s not quite accurate, yesterday afternoon my massage therapist asked if the pressure was okay. Not even kidding about the massage therapist either!
Do you feel as though you’ve reached the twilight zone? What planet am I on? How is this mum home alone?
It’s rather simple, my beloved husband has taken our children away to see their grandies and left me behind.
I’m happy to report that it wasn’t even my idea. The husband offered to give me some home alone time to get work done and have the house to myself.
Let’s just let that sink in…
I have my house to myself.
Here’s a photo of me in 2008: just months before this shot was taken was the last time I experienced being home by myself.
Photographic evidence of me in 2008 before wrinkles and three kids.
How cute was my baby girl?
Sure I’ve been away without my family, like my amazing trip to Las Vegas. But I’ve never had more than 24 hours in my own home all by myself. And it’s complete bliss.
A little odd, but incredible.
Last night before I went to bed I almost went down the hall to do my nightly fan adjust/temperature check. I have an abiding obsession with temperature.
It was all very eerie. Just the cat and I in a ridiculously quiet house.
This morning I didn’t have to cut apples, make porridge, cook toast three different ways or even do the dishes. I repeat, NO DISHES.
Sure I still have shitloads of work to do, but that’s all I’m doing, oh and playing Words with Friends like a maniac.
It’s quite liberating being home alone, I can see why Macaulay Culkin loved it so much.
When was the last time you were home alone?
Every day I fake body confidence for my kids, especially in public. I’ll be standing on my paddle board smiling away at the kids, but inside I’m cringing.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate my body, it did a good job carrying and birthing three children in three-and-a-half years.
But I certainly don’t feel proud of my body. To be honest I’m not sure I ever did.
Sadly, not even when I looked like a Bond girl in my bikini during my honeymoon was I confessing love to my toned and fit body. It’s just not how I roll. Rightly or wrongly.
However, it’s my mission to never let my children know that it makes me cringe when they grab my thighs and stomach and affectionately call me their ‘chubby mummy’.
I fake body confidence in the hope that one day they won’t have to.
When we go swimming and I get out of the pool I don’t quickly rush to get a towel to cover myself up. Sure I might suck in my gut a bit as I see my reflection in the glass pool fence, but I let them see all of me.
Same goes for when I have to do a nude run through the house to get some item of clothing out of the washing basket.
On these occasions I waddle past them in my knickers, sometimes bra on, sometimes not. I don’t make fun of myself or hide anything.
Just recently, despite feeling very self-conscious during our beach camping trip, I waddled to and from the beach without a towel to hide my bumps and lumps.
As svelte women in thong bikinis walked alongside me into the ocean I tried not to hesitate. Instead I smiled at my children beckoning me into the water.
I never say horrible things about my body in front of my children.
Don’t get me wrong, I do tell them I need to get fitter and eat healthier food but I never talk about dieting or whether I like or don’t like my body.
I will not utter the world ‘fat’ except in regards to cooking and I won’t discuss putting on or losing weight in front of my kids.
Me looking body-confident, even though I’m not.
I’m getting better in regards to body love and I do feel that as I age I’m starting to accept my body a little bit more.
Or maybe I just don’t worry about the small stuff like I used to. That’s one of the best things about getting older. Less shits to give about a whole lot of things!
And maybe my fake body confidence for my kids will one day actually make me wholly embrace my body as it is.
It’s my aim to show my children that all bodies are beautiful no matter what.
The last thing I want for them is to place any importance on someone’s body shape or size.
Sure, it’s not easy with all the headlines about weight and highly stylised images we are bombarded with in trashy magazines and television.
But if I can teach them to have body confidence no matter what, then I will be a happy mumma.
Do you fake body confidence in front of your kids?
It’s so nice to take a ‘mum break’ from your everyday life isn’t it? Sometimes you don’t know you are suffocating until it’s too late.
It’s so hard trying to find the balance in life, but often getting away from those that you can’t bear to be parted from is exactly what you need. A mum break from the kids is revitalising.
I’ve just made the kids’ lunchboxes and for the first time EVER I wasn’t moaning because I couldn’t find the right lid for the container I keep my daughter’s green beans in.
I was almost smiling as I rifled through the Tupperware drawer! Who the heck am I?
Today I’ve spent some time playing bingo and doing puzzles. also had time to sit down and listen as my youngest talked about the most important things in the world to him.
What’s making me feel so chipper about mothering? For the first time since becoming a mum, I have had a break. A five-day, honest-to-goodness break.
My heart and my soul is full.
I had no idea how much I was worn down by my everyday life until I had time off from it.
Five blissful days away, where I was just Em. Not Mum. Not anyone but me.
I can’t quite explain the impact of that short mum break, but it’s as though there is no weight upon my shoulders right now. As I sit here typing I have a spring in my fingers. I feel grateful.
As the plane took off heading back home, I actually shed a secret tear. Sadness at leaving, but tears of gratitude too.
The children enveloped us with cuddles as soon as we arrived. They reminded me of why I valued my existence so much. The kids are my purpose, I live to give them the happiest life I can.
So as I write this it’s been 36 hours since we’ve been home and I have not got cranky once. I have got down on one knee and listened to my baby as he spoke about things that mattered to him.
Not being needed is blissful. It makes you want to feel needed.
I’ve listened as my daughter spoke about how she is sad because her best friend doesn’t like her as much as she likes her. My heart ached having to tell her that sometimes certain people feel feelings more than others and that’s okay.
Then I gave my son a big hug for no reason. Just because.
My heart and shoulders are light, they are carefree. Gosh, I needed to get away. Do you know what I mean?
Have you ever been away from your children? What would be your ideal mum break?
The big bad bosses of the world always have an opinion on how we should be raising our children. There are so many ‘should never’ articles out there aimed at mums. My favourites are always the ones telling me all the things I will “regret saying to my kids”.
I say things to my kids that I apparently shouldn’t all the time. I’ve even been known to chuck a few ‘Oh for sucks fake’ in there when I’m really cranky, which my children will tell you is all the time.
This article in particular has always annoyed the suck out me. It’s called “10 Things You Should Never Say to Your Kids”. That word “never” is an instant red rag to a bull, isn’t it? But have a squizz at the things that we are never meant to say to our kids.
A list of things you apparently should NEVER say to your kids
1. Let me help.
2. Great job.
3. Be careful
4. You’re okay.
5. Practise makes perfect.
6. Hurry up.
7. I’m on a diet.
8. We can’t afford that.
9. No dessert until you finish your dinner.
10. Don’t talk to strangers.
Sure I get there’s no need to talk about diets with your kids, in fact I ban the word from my house, much to the mirth of many.
I also ban the word fat, unless it’s talked about in the context of the lamb chops that I cook my kids: “stop eating all the fat and try the meat, please”. True story, one of my kids ADORES animal blubber, it’s horrific, I know.
But what on earth is wrong with saying ‘great job’ to a child who has worked hard to finally get three sentences written for their weekly homework? I say piss off experts!
But back to how we’re screwing up our kids. Contrary to the patronising and judgey “never” amount of times I should say the above things to my kids, here are some examples of when it’s actually the exact right thing to say.
Sometimes use of never phrases
Let me help pack your bag for your grandparents. Pardon? How long is a month? Oh, not that long.
Great job on cutting your brother’s hair, saves me having to take him to the hairdresser where I’ll pay $15 for a cheap lollipop.
Be careful with that glass of wine, I’d hate you to drop it.
You’re okay, just a little to the left and maybe you could put more pressure into it, my back is killing me right now.
Practice makes perfect sense if you have hours and hours up your sleeve, but I say just wing it, how hard can it be to play a violin?
Hurry up and get to bed. Mummy has a very important feature to write that will pay for the orthodontics you will need because you suck your finger because I took your dummy away too early because back then I actually cared what other people thought can you believe it?
I’m on a diet of love thanks to you beautiful cherubs.
We can’t afford that because mummy has three overseas trips planned in the next six months.
No dessert until you finish your dinner because I hated cooking dinner, so it’s only fair that you should hate eating it!
Don’t talk to strangers, especially those offering pets, toys or lollies because you know grown-ups would NEVER give you any of those things willingly.
In all seriousness, I do agree that we have to be careful what we say to our kids, but I reckon that it’s ridiculous to worry so much that we second guess everything word that escapes our mouths. Fact is, “never” is a very long time.
I say how about a warm glass of shut the hell up experts. Spend a year in the trenches with me and then you’ll have earned the right to tell me what I should and shouldn’t say to my kids!
Do you have a list of ‘never’ things?