Perfection? Far from it.

I’ve always been really grateful that I’m from a family that isn’t predisposed to depression or other anxiety related conditions. Sure, some things get me down – the death of a friend, the loss of a friendship – and there are times that I mourn for things past, but I don’t dwell on things. I deal with them pragmatically and remind myself of what is important.

Becoming a parent changes you in a lot of ways that you never imagine. Sure, you lose some sleep and you notice dangers that you didn’t notice before, but no one warns you about how emotional you’ll become. I get all teary eyed when I read books now. I feel profoundly sad for the cow that was killed when it was hit by a car this morning. And I feel anxious about the job that I am doing bringing up my children.

I know I’m a great provider. My kids have boxes and boxes of toys. They have amazing clothes and I work really hard to supply them with a variety of healthy food. They are well socialised and they aren’t clingy. If those things made me a perfect mother, then I am one. But they don’t. There is more to it than that.

I pick them up from a day at my mother’s house and I see that they have been doing ‘cleaning’. She tells me that Hunter has figured out how to feed herself and that Israel can drink from an adult cup. I find myself wondering why I haven’t shown them how to do that. She notices them take an interest in doing up the domes on their jeans so she grabs another pair so that they can practice. How come I didn’t think to do that?

My sister’s son can say heaps of words. The twins say ‘ta’ and ‘hiya’. Is that because I’m not extending them enough? Is it because I’m trying to fit part time work into my full time parenting? Is it because I leave them to play alone for ages? Is it because I don’t read enough about parenting or because sometimes the thought of cleaning up after them again is just too much for me so I don’t let them go outside and explore?

Anyone that tells you that working mothers have a hard job because they have to juggle going to the office and picking up and dropping off and being a parent is wrong. Being a full time parent is the hard job. You don’t get any time out and your kids don’t go to day care and learn from professional teachers. You’re the parent AND the teacher.

My kids are clever but am I dumbing them down because I don’t know how to extend them?

It’s crazy. I’ve never experienced self doubt before. I have always known that no matter what happened, I’d land on my feet. But this isn’t about me. It’s about two people who rely on me 100% for their development. Now is the time when I should be nurturing them and shaping them into adults that have the world in their hands.

Luckily the pragmatic side of me knows that every single new mother in the world feels like this at some stage.

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6 thoughts on “Perfection? Far from it.

  1. The thing to remember is that your mum has done it before so when she does things with the twins that you hadn’t thought of it’s probably because she did them with you and your brother and sister.

    If fact, she’s done things three times before. You are finding your feet and just getting round to doing things for the first time.

    Ask your mum; did she feel the same thing from her mum, just as surely Hunter and Israel will from you?

  2. oh you BILLY! parenting IS a learning curve and so is growing up! all children do different things and are parented different. did you and i go to daycare to ‘be taught’ when we were babes? NO, our mum’s taught us….have we turned out ok? Yes! – well i have the odd issue, but i am sure that is from later in life!!! 😉 life is a continual learning curve – they aren’t going to be let loose on the world tomorrow, are they?
    parenting is not a competition and there is no right OR wrong way to do any part of it. you will do the best you can,(coz you ONLY do the best sarah).
    as mike says – your mum has done it before – and actually probably MORE than three times…soooo many grandchildren no and all the ‘auntying’ i’m sure she has done over the years.
    even after years and years(omg almost two decades) of looking after children, there are a multitude of things i still learn every time i spend time with my friends with children, about the child’s needs – and that includes you.
    just remember, we can’t control everything in our lives (alas) including the way our children develop…we can help and aid them, but depending on what they grasp onto will determine that.
    xx k
    ps – you also are in the ‘twins’ boat – it’s a whole different story on so many levels – and i’m not meaning dividing yourself in two….i will leave that for another rant 😉

  3. whoops – missed this bit

    Everytime i see you with your babes i am amazed and in awe at how you manage the two of them – you are fantastic!!

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