How do you feel about the word ‘mum’?
It really depends doesn’t it? When in the context of ‘I love you, Mum’ or ‘Mum, today at school I came first in the 50m sprint’ it is the best word in the world.
How different it sounds when it’s a whiny voice and you’re driving the car. ‘Muuuuuuuuum, she’s touching my leg’ or ‘Muuuuuuuuum, she’s breathing on me’ or ‘Muuuuuuuuum, are we there yet?’.
Or you might be in the throws of cooking a feast for kings in the kitchen, mid serve on to the plate and you hear ‘Muuuuuuuuuum, I’m hungry’
It can truly sound like nails scratching down a chalkboard can’t it?
I’m no guru, believe me… But today, let me tell you that kids will be kids. Let’s face it.
They’ll need time to learn empathy and patience. Time to learn not to interrupt an adult conversation with a piddly question or statement like it’s the most important sentence in the world.
But, to them, that question may be of huge importance. It may have completely captured their minds at that moment and whatever adult conversation you may have been having didn’t even make sense to them so why not interrupt?
As my kids have grown older, the eldest is 13 (girlie), middle child is 9 (another girlie) and the wee one is only 2 (boy), I have discovered this. Kids live and they learn.
What they are doing now, however annoying it may be, will not always be so. My eldest almost never interrupts me, my middle has stopped whinging (most of the time) and my little one, well, he is just starting all of these things. But the difference is my mindset. I know that these are only spaces of time. I know that in a few years he too will be learning what he lives.
The trick is staying sane and somewhat remaining yourself at this time.
To do this you’ll need these five things to help you stay YOU
1. A friend
Someone you can talk to. Not just about your children, but about other things that interest you. Preferably not the weather…
2. A trusted babysitter
If family isn’t in the vicinity or aren’t reliable for babysitting… branch out. Ask around your friends for someone who has a respectable teenager to come and sit while you have date night, or a night out with other couples.
3. A hobby
And sorry, a child is not a hobby. And neither is Sons of Anarchy or Breaking Bad. For those of you who are working, you may be time poor so maybe something as simple as writing in your diary will give you the downtime you need. Throwing on a load of washing isn’t downtime. It doesn’t have to be as elaborate as taking up oil painting… my hobby incidentally, though I haven’t painted since my darling son was born, instead I have been co-writing and self-publishing children’s books.
4. Communication with your partner
Make time for him/her, discuss parenting strategies and try and make rules together that are both fair and feasible. Really listen to them when you ask them how their day was. Politely ask for eye contact if they are head down in their phone or watching TV when you are telling them about your day. If you don’t have a partner – then you’re the boss! Make your parenting decisions based on good judgement and patience.
5.Time out for yourself
Get a mani/pedi, massage, coffee and the paper, even a walk around the block. All of these times consider as non-contact… time for you.
For every whinging mum, there are five other women who would beg borrow and steal to be called ‘Mum’.
After all, being your child’s mum … you are blessed to be the most important person in their lives. For now, while they are little, they are yours.
Ask them, they will tell you. The most important person to them is You.
Give time a chance, and these years will be gone. Let’s love our little ones madly, crazily and completely while we can.