Through clenched teeth I am staring at the watermelon rind that has been left on the side of the couch. I can’t count the number of times I’ve said “When you’re done sweetheart, put it in the bin please. Just over there. If you need help let me know but please don’t leave bits of fruit out, it brings in the ants.”
Can I be mad? I mean he’s still learning. There is so much to learn, you can’t ask a baby to walk before they crawl. Getting angry will only scare him and the message will be lost altogether. Oh I’m not talking about my actual baby who has just mastered the art of crawling. I’m talking about my other baby. My man baby.
Being a mum has taught me that I really need to improve on my patience. Most of all with my partner. It is literally a virtue and I am jealous of all of those mums who seem to have it together all of the time, with their super helpful hubbies, so they’re just so cruisy, so Elsa-like, just letting all that shit go. How?
I recently completed a circle of security parenting course which talks about being “good enough” and not about being perfect. That there is no perfect. There are days when you just have to survive. And I often do feel like a competitor out of Survivor, particularly the unwashed hair part. I can’t tell you how refreshing it was to hear from a professional that the aim in parenting, other than being bigger, wiser, kinder, stronger, is not to stop yourself from getting angry or upset or frustrated. It’s not to label these emotions as bad or unhelpful in anyway when it comes to dealing with your child’s changing behaviours. Whether they are in infancy and the crying is frustrating you, or if you are currently in the toddlerville horror, dealing with temper tantrums. Ruptures in your own parenting will occur and it is important not to get bogged down by guilt or comparisons but move along and repair this.
Own the behaviour, label the emotion so that your child can understand how you can help them organise their feelings, so they can grow up to be emotionally aware, confident little rays of sunshine.
But in honesty some of this information was actually more helpful to my relationship with my baby daddy, than my actual baby.
Rather than seeing your child’s behaviour as being something they are intentionally doing to you, look at is as a way of them trying to communicate with you. It is not a blame game. And that is something that happens a lot with my partner.
Sometimes parenting isn’t just the silent competing between other mums, it can be competing with each other as parents. Once we did this course we were able to mostly change the way we communicate with each other and about each other when it comes to parenting. And I had to learn not to compare myself or our relationship to what I see around me and perceive to be perfect. I don’t have to have it together every minute of the day but I also don’t need to be channeling Mila Kunis’ wannabe Bad Mom. I can be a ‘good enough’ Mom, who likes those damn rinds in the bin but feeds the baby sugary cupcakes just for a bit of peace and quiet.
I became friends with some of those mums who seemed to have life perfected. Turns out, one of the those mums has a hubby who cooks her dinner every night, but he has his own flaws and she often whispers “Dad’s a dick,” into her baby’s ear. And that’s ok, because sometimes they are.