I know the golden rule of motherhood is maintaining the illusion that you have your sh*t together in front of your kids, but they don’t half keep me on my toes. Jasper, my eldest, is 5 now, and he is already asking me questions which I am totally unprepared for. The other day he asked, ‘What do I call this mummy?’ as he pointed to his willy. I decided to opt for honesty and said ‘That’s your penis Jasper’, and he now fondly calls it his ‘peanuts’. It terrifies me that the day will come when asks me to help him with his homework and I actually can’t – and it’s probably sooner than I think.
As much as we have to pretend we know everything as I teach my children about the world, its actually quite astonishing how much they have taught me. Here are a few of my favourite life lessons I have learnt from my kids.
The Art of Negotiation
I am so proud and amazed to see how children learn the art of negotiation from such a young age. Except when they use it on me obviously. Be it ice cream, a toy or the fairy dress for nursery, they can tap into all forms of emotion to pull on your heart strings and get what they want. They begin with the coy, smiling option. If that doesn’t work they flip into the Oscar-winning performance of crocodile-tears, and I have to have my wits about me – I’ve played easier games of chess. Yet I have to admire their confidence in being so assertive. Yes I am trying to put a positive spin on a tantrum here but bear with me.
As parents we already have an overwhelming pressure to be ‘Yes’ people, to help out at the school fair and sign up to every extra-curricular activity on the list, or even to do more at work so you don’t seem like you’ve gone rubbish at your job since you’ve had kids. Saying no can be so difficult, and on countless occasions I have overwhelmed myself with added pressure that I could have avoided. But now I have learnt to channel my inner two-year old and be assertive, to stand my ground and say no when people are trying to rope me into something I don’t want to do and it feels absolutely fantastic – no wonder my kids do it all the time. Try it – say no to taking on that extra presentation at work and spend the evening with your kids instead. Just maybe don’t roll around on the floor and have the corresponding tantrum with it.
Yes my kids can be stubborn and selfish just like every other child, but they can also be kinder and more compassionate than any adult I know. Last Friday I was so feeling proud of myself as I had not only remembered sports day I had even found a green t-shirt! So off we went to school in Jasper’s perfect sports gear. However when we arrived at school he got out of the car only to be greeted by all his friends in school uniform… I had committed one of the cardinal sins of being a mother and sent my child to school in the wrong clothes. I felt terrible and I could have cried as I kept apologising to Jasper, expecting him to hit the roof and scream at me in embarrassment. But all he said was ‘Don’t worry mummy, its okay.’ I just burst with pride at the fact he could be so understanding. Sure he’ll l probably lose this compassion when he’s a teenager but it certainly reminded me to be more understanding. Everyone is fighting their own battles.
Give Social Pressures the V
Last week we went to a family wedding, and as the music started in the evening my kids decided that they would be the entertainment. Dancing like they had rickets right in the middle of the dance floor, all the adults ‘mingled’ by the bar, trying to pluck up enough courage to go and dance. And I wanted to join them; they looked like they were having so much fun. Kids just don’t feel the social pressures that make you act like a normal human. They just do what they want literally whenever they want and I am so jealous. So I have vowed I will stop worrying what other people think – a lesson every mum needs to learn when it comes to parenting. Do what YOU want to do, regardless of what the lifestyle blogs tell you is ‘good parenting’. And it doesn’t just apply to motherhood. Want to dance like a loon at the wedding? Go for it. Want to take a nap on the floor at work? Okay maybe not too literally…
Brush Yourself Off and Carry On
So as I mentioned before it was Sports Day last week, and Jasper had to run the 80m in front of the entire school. He was determined to win, he had his game face on and his fastest light-up trainers. The race started and he was in a comfortable 3rd place gaining ground and set to win…… until he tried to look for me in the crowd and tripped over his own feet in the most colossal, head-over-heels fall. I died for him at that moment (although I did get it on camera and LOL at it now which probably makes me an awful mother), he was so embarrassed and I could see he was crushed. But instead of lying on the floor and crying, he immediately got up and finished the race and I absolutely burst with pride at his determination and bravery. It certainly served as a reminder to do the same in life; when things aren’t going well at work or I’m having a bad day I tell myself ‘Its okay’, brush myself off and carry on. Its easier said than done, but its important to try because its worth it in the end.
Smile and You Can Get Away with Murder
By far my favourite lesson I have learnt from my kids. If you actually stop and listen they are the funniest little things. Aryella loves to mimic me and spends a lot of her time shouting to Charlie and Jasper on the trampoline to ‘Be careful boys!’ and ‘Remember Charlie, no accidents ok?’
Their laughter is contagious and I never want it to stop – so I have vowed to make sure I laugh more. Not just a titter, but a big belly laugh like how my kids do when you hit their tickle spots.
A huge thank you to Katie @HurrahforGin for your cartoons, your honesty and your reassurance that i am normal and we are all doing okay.