It’s tough isn’t it?! We spend all this time growing ourselves, learning to keep ourselves alive, cook, clean, make money, function in society and then we can and actually grow a new human life and have to teach them all the things we’ve only just finished learning ourselves and are not necessarily experts in (my cleaning often still leaves a lot to be desired as does my functionality in society!) Not only that but we are actually still learning too – no one teaches us how to be parents. Yes we can read books and our much wiser elders and know it all friends can offer advice from their experiences and we can spend hours pouring over Google searched web pages but at the end of the day the baby DID NOT read the manual and is just winging it so we as parents kind of have to do the same. At some point along the way, you might actually have a moment where you stop and think that actually you’ve got this and things are going pretty well, then there will be another poonami or supermarket meltdown and then all thoughts of success fly out the window and we feel like we’re back in reception beginning all over again. It’s not only that though it’s that you feel culpable – if anything goes awry you feel that it is totally and completely your fault…
I know at the moment it is all the rage to be a “Slummy Mummy” to celebrate your mistakes, glorify the rotten aspects of your day with the children and generally refer to them as “little shits” “twats” “horrors” or something else along those lines but that just isn’t for me. If that’s your bag then good for you and I have no problem with it if you’re happy but it’s just not the way I am. I don’t want to come across holier than thou or anything like that and believe me
my child is by no means an angel (just watch us at bedtime!) but I’m never going to sit and compare stories with other slummy mummies about who’s child is worse and refer to her as a little cow because quite frankly I don’t want to.
If, or I should say when, When Alyssa does something wrong then she is told it is wrong. I have a system that anyone who looks after Alyssa follows too and that is that if she does something wrong once, we hold her arm or hand, look her in the eyes and say no that’s not nice. If she does it a second time we repeat what we did before but we tell her that it was naughty (I don’t tell her she’s naughty) and then if she does it a third time she is picked up and placed on the
time out spot which is usually a chair and has to sit there for one minute and then get up and say sorry and have a kiss and cuddle. This developed from when she began hitting as obviously I couldn’t allow her to get away with hitting and she needed to be told and now this runs across anything. I’m not saying this is the right way and some people will probably be laughing at what I do whilst reading this but hey it’s whatever works for you and as with everything else, we’re doing things our way.
Of course this isn’t always feasible especially when you have guests and they like to play up and show off or when you’re out and for some reason they want to turn into demon spawn. However, something seems to change in me too and I become a completely different mama. I do stay calm and frantically whisper to her to calm down, sit down, be quiet or whatever instruction is required but I can feel myself going redder and redder and she’s barely even done anything and it feels like I am back at school
stood in front of a row of the most horrible bullies waiting to tear strips off me for something or other. Then the weirdest thing happens – me, who has done nothing wrong, who is trying to control the situation turns around and says “I’m sorry.” Obviously I don’t do this unless she is directly affecting someone but I do it. I turn around and I apologise for my daughter and what she is doing and how she is behaving.
The other day Alyssa threw something across the room and it didn’t get damaged and it didn’t do any damage it was merely that she shouldn’t have thrown it and my mum told her “No chucking Alyssa please. That’s not good!” (FYI We say no chucking because obviously you can throw a ball so wanted to differentiate the word for her) and then I turned round to my mum as I do and said “I’m sorry” and then she said something that has really stuck in my mind and actually caused me to write this post, “You don’t have to keep apologising for her. She’s just learning.”
Holy moly smack me round the face. I don’t know why this would suddenly hit me so hard but it did. Yes she acts out and does stuff that she shouldn’t necessarily do but she is just learning. Here is this feisty, independent little almost two year old who’s brain must be in over drive constantly with everything new she takes in on a daily basis and she is just trying to process it all and work it all out and if that was me I might throw a few things across the room too. We all want to raise strong independent kick-ass women and instill in them the best words of advice that we have but at this age they have so little power that the frustration must be enormous so in the words of my daughter “ARRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!” Wow that does let it all out doesn’t it?!
As she grows up and becomes more and more her own person there will be times when she does something bad and she will need to genuinely apologise and think about what she has done and I have no doubt that I will also feel guilty and feel the need to apologise too. However, whilst she is sitting herself down in the middle of an aisle of the supermarket where people have to go round her, or she is taking a biscuit that wasn’t necessarily hers because she fancies it or simply “chucking” a plastic pepper across a room, as long as she isn’t hurting anyone there is no need for me to apologise. There is no need for you to apologise for your little ones. They are growing. They are learning. You don’t want them to grow up thinking they need to apologise for everything because they don’t. There is a time and place to say sorry and this isn’t one of them.
I won’t ever be a slummy mummy triumphing in my parenting failures but I will also not be a sorry mummy either. I’m NOT sorry for my daughter because you know what… She ROCKS!