I’m losing my resolve – my imagined parenting style is out the window.
If you’d asked me before I had a baby the sort of parent I’d be, I’d have said ‘strict but fair‘ without hesitation. My children were going to be well-behaved. I was going to teach them right from wrong, how to respect boundaries and to do exactly as I say.
Six months in, and I’ve discovered it’s not that cut and dry…
Why I felt like I needed to decide my parenting style before having babies, I’ll never know. I guess we all have a pre-conceived idea about what life will look like as a mother. But I had no idea what it was going to be like. I simply based my opinions solely on how I liked other people’s children to behave.
I’m now very aware how ‘young, free, single and clueless’ that attitude is. It’s very easy to think of someone else’s little darlings as incredibly annoying when you’re not the one in charge of them.
When I had my judgey little ‘that won’t be me’ thoughts, I was missing a few key details. I wasn’t aware of the fact that the poor mother had probably been up all night. She’d probably already got that little toddler dressed and undressed three times before even leaving the house due to some sort of explosive bodily function. She would have most likely had to sing various nursery rhymes solidly on repeat for two hours, before a never-ending game of ‘chase me before I electrocute myself’ ensued. Finally managing to brush her teeth, splash her face and change her knickers, this mother would take her babies out, only for them to play up in front of me.
And she’s too exhausted to reprimand them – instead trying to simply appeal to their good nature. Because it’s much easier that way – not to mention beneficial for all parties involved.
But I didn’t see that bit.
I didn’t even know it existed. The mother loves her children despite all the hard work it takes to get them out of the house, and so she doesn’t mind if they get the better of her. She’s always willing to give them her best.
Of course, I’m not excusing intrinsic bad behaviour. Rudeness, violence and cruelty are not values that I tolerate. I’d like Moo to be kind in nature, even if she is a little wild. I’d like to think that I will naturally raise her that way.
But, I feel like I’m already on the back foot. Because this cute, adorable little bundle of squidginess has me wrapped tightly round her little finger. And I am genuinely terrified that when it’s crunch time, a brat will emerge. And it’ll be all my fault.
She’s just too cute to tell off.
I’d like to think I’ll find a parenting style that fits.
I hope that I’ll stick to my guns and raise her as a decent human being. Finding a parenting style somewhere between unconditional love and ‘stop decapitating next door’s cat’ isn’t going to be easy, but it’ll be worth it. So long as I find a balance, I can raise a happy, well-rounded little girl. I’d love for her to say her ‘pleases’ and ‘thank yous’ without losing the spark she so clearly has.
I’d like to be the strict mother I envisaged, I really would.
But one look at those chubby cheeks and I feel like I’d trip over myself to make her love me. As long as I have clean knickers on I suppose, I know we’ll be OK.