Over the last few weeks I’ve been talking a lot about imperfect parenting. About the fact that we don’t always get it right as parents, that we aren’t always perfect and how that’s ok. Normal even. As a parent you never feel a bigger sense of relief that when you realise that you aren’t the only one to have experienced something that you’ve found frustrating, stressful, exhausting or embarrassing when it comes to raising little ones.
Its been great to start a conversation on Twitter and Instagram over the last weeks, some really great discussions have come out of it, people have really got into it and shared some real and honest imperfect parenting moments of their own. So for all those parents out there experiencing an #ImperfectParent moment right now, this is for you. 10 of the best #ImperfectParent moments from some of my favourite bloggers.
I have many #ImperfectParent moments. Being a Mama of two inevitably means that one of them is left for a few moments whilst you sort the other out and we all know what toddlers and babies can get up to for that split second you take your eyes off them! Recently I had one of those days with them. Neither had napped properly and both were beyond tired. I was desperately counting the minutes down to 6pm and the trip up to the bath (and 8pm for that well deserved glass of wine). I went into the kitchen to sort out their bottles for bed and put Evie in her Baby Bjorn bouncer. Since we have used it I’ve only strapped her in on one side (bad Mama I know) as she didn’t really move too much. However, in those few minutes she developed a new found super bounce. I heard a faint bang and a whimper to which I vaguely looked in her direction to see her hanging upside down from the bouncer. Obviously I panicked, ran from the kitchen to save her, tripping over the toddlers fish fingers (which she was eating on the floor in front of Peppa Pig) ruining her dinner.The response from my toddler was ‘Mummy spill Amelie’s dinner, cheeky Mummy’ I was more concerned about my baby experiencing her first hand stand experience at such a young age! Both were fine and I laughed later over a glass of wine (but didn’t tell my husband)
#2 We’ve all turned up to the wrong thing on the wrong date
My life seems to live by the motto #ImperfectParent. Of late, my speciality on this front has been turning up to things on the wrong day, or when it’s not even running. This has included: turning up to school on INSET Day, turning up to my daughter’s ballet while it was still on break for the Easter holidays, and turning up to another after school club when it looked like the whole class has been notified because nobody else was there….just us. But hey! At least I haven’t turned up to school on a weekend yet. #ImperfectParent loud and proud….that’s me!
#3 It’s ok not to want to be a stay at home mum
There seems to be this misconception that being a perfect parent is a given, and that being with your children 24/7 makes you a better mum. When I chose to back to work full time after both children I faced a lot of judgement and had a bit of crisis of confidence. But I know that working is important to me and has shaped how I am as a mum. I’m happy now to admit I am not cut out to be a stay at home mum and having the ability to work shifts around my family means I am in a position where I give each part of my life (the mum, the wife, the employee and the friend) the best of me. #ImperfectParent is a fabulous idea as a way of showing all mums out there that in a way we are all winging it and just doing what we can to make the best of our lives. What is perfect to one mum doesn’t work for someone else.
I’m nowhere near as patient with my kids when we’re out and about as I am when I’m at home. I worry what onlookers are thinking when one of them is misbehaving so I get stressed about their behaviour much more easily. If I dealt with it calmly like I do at home, and stopped worrying about everybody else, it would be probably be over much quicker and we’d all be happier.
#5 We all need a secret treat
Mum Meets World
Us Mums work hard don’t we? Well sometimes it can all get a bit much! If you’re anything like me, I jump at the opportunity to secretly escape. I will grab a snack (usually chocolate) and tip toe upstairs and sit on my bed for a bit of alone time. However, a while ago I learnt a very important lesson; a moment’s peace is never a moment’s peace. There is the dreaded moment it abruptly ends. I hear giggling that can only be described as ‘mischievous’, and you know they are up to something. I tentatively go down the stairs, to find the children have emptied a packet of spaghetti all over the living room floor and are making snow (spaghetti) angels! You tell them off and order them to tidy it straight away. Then comes the realisation, that it’s all your fault. You shouldn’t have left them unattended, and was that five minutes really worth it? But you forget that, when your next opportunity comes to sneak off. You just can’t help yourself. Well, I can’t!
A few weekends ago I went to the hairdressers and left my little one with his dad for some quality father – son time. I came back to them sat watching TV and had a massive go at my husband about spending quality time with him, stimulating him, playing with him etc – and that sitting him in front of the TV was none of the above, even if it had only been 15 minutes! Monday came and by 10am I was ready for bedtime as he was SUPER fussy. So, I put CBeebies on and sat him in front of the TV for some peace and quiet for over an hour while I drank a cup of tea & scrolled through my phone…. Shhhhhh my husband will never find out!
Our eldest daughter has always suffered with seasonal asthma, and on one episode after we had been indoors for a week or so with a nasty viral cough, I remembered her glasses prescription was ready to collect. She seemed to be picking up, so we braved a short drive to Spec Savers which is just opposite the car park. As we left unscathed, I noticed a threading bar opposite and decided to optimise the trip by a quick eyebrow tidy. Tigs sat happily beside me at first but then started to cough. Her cough worsened and worsened so I stopped the lady at work on my brows and lifted her onto my lap. To cut a long story short, she had a small asthma attack – right there in the shopping centre shivering curled up in my arms. We managed to calm her down and the threading lady donated a bottle of water for her to sip, and then quickly finished my other eyebrow. In conclusion, when nursing poorly children, it’s probably not the best time to execute impromptu beauty treatments. #MumFail.
Shoes are the pain of my life. I love them but can never get them to fit and always end up being an Ugg boot and flip flop kind of gal, but this isn’t about me. Sorry. This is about how shoes are the pain of my life for my babies and yes by default me, again. Both are in shoes and have been for a long time now. I get their feet measured pretty regularly and I am told they have not grown and no new shoes are required. Good they cost a fortune. Yet without fail I get to a point where they don’t want to wear their shoes, or walk in them. Back to the store we go to be told they are a size, or two, too small! Oh my gosh their poor feet, crammed into the tiny space. How long have I been making them walk in discomfort? and it happens EVERY.TIME. Hello mum guilt, yes also again. Talk about feeling like an #ImperfectParent, sorry guys I certainly don’t mean to subject you to an over priced, leather finish, form of ancient Japanese feet binding. I am trying to pre-empt your growth but help a mama out, learn to talk a little more eh?
#9 At some point we all bribe our children
A Mothers Love
At the end of a long day nothing cheers me up like seeing my children’s little faces as I arrive to collect them from nursery. Just recently however, this shared excitement has become short lived, due to the fact that my youngest has decided to start throwing almighty wobblers when it comes to putting her into the car seat. As I wrestle with my two year old I find myself trying to bargain with her, in a bid to get her to sit in her seat I have promised her sweets, as quickly as the words fall out of my mouth I regret them and get that #ImperfectParent feeling, because I don’t like to use sweets as a tool and it looks as though the child is controlling the situation. We all want to educate our children on right from wrong, not bribe them into it with treats, but sometimes we just don’t have the time, energy or right place to go into the who, what, where and why with them on everything. And so it’s okay, we do our best by our children and it’s okay to pick our battles and give in to the easy option occasionally.
#10 Mummy guilt maddness
My Petit Canard
I love making my own food for my babies. Weaning is one of my favourite things during the baby years. There is something oddly satisfying about blending together lots of different foods to create those little pots of yummy goodness. But there are also times when I just can’t bothered and will instead reach for a pouch of Ella’s Kitchen or some other appropriately organic substitute. The little one couldn’t be less bothered, but the mummy guilt eats me alive and if I’m in public I’ll usually feel the need to make some justifiable excuse to a friend or family member who couldn’t care less. I know there is nothing wrong with feeding my baby food pouches, but I cant help but feel like an #ImperfectParent when I do. Ridiculous I know!
For International Day of Families I’ve been working with Bupa to understand what being an #ImperfectParent looks like, and with help from many of you we have hopefully created some content that talks honestly about what real, every day parenting looks like for most of us. So head over to the Bupa blog to check out what it means to be an #ImperfectParent today. If you’re like me, you may just find yourself secretly sighing with relief.
Disclosure; this is a collaborative post with Bupa. However all thoughts and opinions are my own, and those of the bloggers featured here in this round up post.