Sunday, 1 February 2015

Lesson 44: The Parenting Resolutions We Can't Keep (F**k You SuperMum)

Following the birth of Boy Two in September, I spent the last few months of 2014 feeling frazzled. And short-tempered. In fact, I spent at least two-thirds of Autumn/Winter 2014 sat in my dressing-gown watching Kids' TV eating bourbons. 

I'm never one for New Year's Resolutions, but I woke up on January 1st this year and decided I would make a few changes to my parenting behaviours. Perhaps I was feeling virtuous due to the complete lack of hangover - though this was less out of choice and more out of an obligation not to intoxicate the breast milk with Prosecco. Whatever the inspiration, 2015 would not be a repeat of the bourbon-eating Nickelodeon marathons. With Spring around the corner and the end of maternity leave in sight, I would do SO much more with the kids. 

My parenting ambitions for 2015 were as follows:
The children would watch less TV. 
I would spend less than 20 hours a day on my iPhone. 
Biscuits would not be used as bribes. In fact, biscuits wouldn't really be needed at all because we would all be snacking on blueberries and humous.
There would be long walks. And wellies. There would be cake-baking. There would be finger painting and puzzle solving and fucking den building. 2015 would be the year of the SuperMum. 

How's that working out for you? I hear you wonder. Well, February is here so I can now officially provide a progress report on those ambitions for the month of January. Here's how I'm getting on...

The children do not watch less TV. Sometimes I fear we are watching even more (slight digression but what the fuck is the point of Bubble Guppies? Why do kids like that shit? Meh).

I still check my phone an unacceptable amount of times throughout the day...though I have started leaving it at home if we go out for the day.

Biscuits are still used as bribes. Daily (hourly). Toddler bribes have also been upgraded to doughnuts and CBeebies magazines. I know, I know. Awful parenting tactic. But it works and I'm bloody knackered so it's staying. 

There haven't been many long walks if truth be told. Okay there has only been one. But we wore wellies! And explored a forest. And the toddler brought back some sticks from the forest which he pretended were hunting harpoons so he's practically Bear Grylls now. 


Me and my Bear (and what long hair really looks like when it is windy)
There has been zero cake-baking because he can do that at the child-minder's and I don't want extra dishes. 

I haven't even bought any paints yet, and puzzles are too bloody annoying (half the Peppa Pig mega-puzzle is now up the hoover, plus Boy One follows his 'own' picture rather than the one on the box, which I simply cannot tolerate). 

So I've failed, right? The Year of the SuperMum fell flat in January?

Well yes, it did. But I am TOTALLY at peace with this and I'll tell you for why. 

SuperMum is an arse. She is entirely fabricated. A pretend patchwork of Cath Kidston dresses and superfood smoothies and 4x4 school-run vehicles and Mary Berry cookbooks. SuperMum can be found on the Joules website. SuperMum looks something like THIS:
God I love her (pic via Sunday Express)
I want to BE her. Her skinny jeans, her casual gilet and styled-to-look-messy hair. SHE HAS A FUCKING CHICKEN. 

SuperMum never gets cross. She spends hours taking her kids on adventures. Her house smells of fruitcake. She has two kids (one of each, obviously) and they never watch telly unless it is a snow day when they drink hot chocolate under a tartan blanket because she is so much fucking fun. 

Well the reality for most of us is something altogether different. 

I'd love to take my kids on 'an adventure' every day. And bake some gingerbread. And make Tracy Island out of washing up bottles. Truly I would. But on an average weekday the toddler charges around at 100mph shouting 'I AM BUZZ LIGHTYEAR' and I have to battle with four loads of washing because some nappies do not do their job and the baby has been sick and the home insurance renewal needs posting and stuff needs sterilising and I need a shower because three days' worth of Dry Shampoo has created an unsightly white build up....on these days I cannot be arsed to go on a sodding adventure or facilitate messy play in a house which already looks like Hurricane Rita has struck it. 

So I whisk the kids to the park (again) for a quick blast of fresh air and then I come home and put the telly on. And give the toddler a biscuit. And check Facebook for an hour. 

That's real life, people. So I don't feel guilty. In fact, that's the way I like it. 

I bloody hate chickens anyway.

The Unmumsy Mum












58 comments:

  1. Love it....brilliant!! This has made me chuckle 😊! x

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  2. Beautifully honest and true! Love it.

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  3. Thank you! So spot on! I spent last year on Maternity Leave and my husband constantly questioned my tactics, but we survived (just!) so I'm sticking to my tactics!

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  4. Great post! Made me laugh! I set resolutions this year and haven't stuck to a single one! Look forward to reading more of your posts :)

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  5. How freshing to hear the voice of a real mother. I often meet mums who tell me motherhood is a breeze and I know for a fact this is not the case being a mum of two.

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    1. These Mums probably don't work, have a cleaner and someone to do ironing. They think being busy means trying to juggle meeting up with a girlfriend at the gym or batch baking home cooked meals. They feel guilty if they don't do constructive activities with their children, but don't have to clean up before they make dinner because they have a designated room for such creative crafting. But I know who I'd rather be. I even tried the chicken thing as my daughter 'rescued them' and said she would look after them, but I was fed up cleaning all the chicken shit up from the grass after they vaulted over the coop.

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  6. This is bloody brilliant 😂 sooo well written and honest xx

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    1. So glad you shared this on FB Vic it's so true! Xx

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  7. Confession: I'm not a mum (yet... the first one is brewing). I am pretty scared shitless that my unstructured life is going to have to try and fit in to a supermum sized hole. I can barely feed myself breakfast thanks to no food in the house. Reading your blog today has made me laugh out loud and dispelled a lot of anxiety - so thank you! PS Bourbons should be a staple dietary requirement for all.

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  9. I hear ya sista - also Mum to 2 boys 'The Pesticles' aged 2&3. Life is nuts, trying to run a business as well. They are wild - almost feral, but we muddle through and that's enough for now.

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  10. Love it. We do lots of outdoors (it's easy being on the farm), but I never make rules...well maybe trying to find a way to get N off my tablet/YouTube...supposedly he's only allowed to play if he tidies up/gets dressed on his own when I ask. Not really working at the moment.

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  11. Love this!! Super parent puts so much pressure on us. I know super dad does for me and subsequently all I feel is a failure. In truth I know I'm doing my best. But I set too high expectations when ultimately everything is normal. Well done for finding peace with it!! I need to do this soon! Thanks for linking up with us on the #bigfatlinky

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  12. Love this and heartily agree with the sentiment! I am totally with you on the final comment - we are just off to the park on bikes (you know, when I've finished reading people's blog and commenting on them obvs!) and then I will feel like a virtuous parent for the rest of the day and let my children watch Lord of the Rings for the 5th time. Job done! :-) #thebigfatlinky.

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  13. I totes look like this including bucket of apples to feed to my rescue ponies ;) This gave me a right giggle, specially as this morning my son was crying so no discernable reason and I ended up shouting, 'Biscuit?! Biscuit?!' to try and calm him.

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  14. Hahah! You made me laugh too. I am far from super mum but I've actually found that having children has made me much better at planning, organising and managing my time. I used to be the world's biggest procrastinator, with no structure and not even owning a calendar. Oh yeah, I took pride in that last one! But I can't do that anymore because it just made me feel like everything was a constant mess and struggle so now I'm reading management books and self help books and trying to apply what I learn to running the family :D It has been a sharp learning curve but I still have so much to learn. I know a few of these super mums. I always try to figure out what their secrets are. There must be a secret! Will let you know when I figure it out.

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    1. I procrastinate and feel disorganised and messy since the kids. Have thought about books to sort out! What books have you read that you would recommend? Thanks!

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  15. Haha - we could do with a few more honest mum posts like this #bigfatlinky

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  16. Great post. I want to be that woman too except I am also scared of chickens. Also I love looking at my phone. And finally a quote from bubble guppies 'let's go outside, let's go outside, line-up, line-up, line-up, line-up, line-up and go outside' wtf?

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  17. Good for you. Great honest post. Can you have a word with my wife please ; )
    Thanks for linking up #bigfatlinky

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  18. Thank feck I'm not alone. I hate chickens too!

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  19. Ha Ha, just read this and it's Mother's Day. Bribed Bebe with chocolate milk today and have watched countless episodes of Ben and Holly including the one with the chicken. I hate chickens so we ate one for tea.

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  20. Oh, I hear ya sister! You are doing FINE. This from 2011. https://disobedientchild.wordpress.com/2011/05/10/the-good-enough-parenting-theory/
    Extends hand of fuck-this-shit-we're-actually-awesome friendship :)

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  21. Love this! Mine were brought up on biscuits, kids tv and i went 3 years without a haircut. Got through the toddler years okay. They still have all their own teeth and always preferred playing with friends than watching telly so no harm done!

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  22. Excellent, I would love to say it gets easier! but as my aunt told me, the problems are just different as they grow older... I have three boys 8, 10 and 12, answering back is part of everyday chat, shouting, they know EVERYTHING! Thanks for making us all feel normal... it makes a nice change oh and we have got chickens

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    1. Mine are nearly-10 and 11.5. Currently hiding in the office with the emergency Kit-Kat, while they're occupied.

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  23. Well done for your honesty. All mums should stop competing and pretending that motherhood is easy. A little sugar coating is probably necessary when talking to the childless otherwise people would stop breeding all together. That said, my wife is a super mum! They do exist. A super mum isn't what you think it is though. My wife finds motherhood incredibly difficult like everyone else but what makes her the amazing super mum she is is that for all the TV, biscuits, and bribes that get her through the day she never stops trying to do better. By all means, you need to accept what real motherhood looks like but don't give up trying to make it better and trying to make your kid's childhood what you want it to be - that is a super Mum!

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  24. You sound just like me! Ha ha! I'm 4wks from my due date and find it hard just to feed myself, (though biccies and icecream is never a problem!) I'm hoping to make my 2 stone weight gain in time anyway but it's been hard without a kitchen (as decided that was a good idea to get, after 8 yrs of damp, back in January and takeaways have been a necessity rather than choice). Everyone close says I'll cope though so hopefully you will too!

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  25. You give yourself too much of a hard time. This is how your kids see their day: "Woke up this morning and had my favourite breakfast while mum washed our clothes cos we can be super messy! Then we played the best game in the world while watching our favourite tv shows and eating our favourite snacks! Mum then took us to THE PARK!!! We love the park, it is the best place in the world! Then mummy took us home and I played all my favourite games again. Best day ever!!!"

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  26. This is brilliant. Genuinely lol. Good work.

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  27. bub bub bubble bubble guppies bubble bubble bubble bubble bubble guppies bubble guppies etc etc

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  28. Oh this is soooo funny - and so true. Now a grandmother I do remember - how could I forget - my days of young motherhood. My only regret is - we had not heard of Prosecco. Treasure the 'bourbon' days. They really DO go too fast.

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  29. This site was... how do you say it? Relevant!!
    Finally I have found something which helped me.
    Appreciate it!

    Also visit my blog post: No2 Maximus

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  30. Stumbled upon your blog a week ago and cannot stop reading. You have made me feel so much better. I have a 2.5 yr old and 5 month old and am finding it soooo tough. I constantly beat myself up about how much tv my toddler watches and always thinking i should be sticking yogurt pots on cereal boxes. According to parenting books young children should watch 30 mins of tv a day. Bollocks. When you are exhausted with a crying baby and a screaming toddler tv is literally a life saver (frozen in particular). Thankyou for making me realise we are all doing the same things xx

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  31. I actually love you! I have a nearly 3 year old and a 5 month old. I beat myself up everyday about how much TV we watch and how much I check my phone and how little I've been doing with them. I feel like I'm wasting my maternity leave. But reading this has made me feel so much better because that is me on some days. Would love to be Supermum but does she even exist? If she does then she probably has a baby who sleeps through and a really well behaved toddler. Love following your blog. It's so refreshing to hear your honesty about parenting x

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  32. You have to try and embrace the positives of the likes of Bubble Guppies, I felt like you about it too until I discovered that by singing line up,line up bubble guppies was way more effective at getting both my children to head in the same direction than using their names and asking them ;) Great blog BTW

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  33. You are my heroine! Hurrah for honesty, and biscuits and telly and iPhones.

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  34. I wish you had been around ten years ago. My kids one, of each btw, are older now, 9 and 7, but god how I struggled thinking I had to be this perfect model mother and wife. I love reading your blog it is perfect laughter therapy at the end of a long working day, on the way home to my mad house. ☺

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  35. Truthful and so right. Clucking brilliant! X

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  36. Pre child number one I had a number of resolutions, chief of which was 'I will never bribe my child'. By child number two, I have been known to say 'I will give you literally anything you want if you'll just please...' That's why I'm stopping at two. I'm not sure what I'd promise if I had three to contend with. Plus, child one is now both old enough and savvy enough to take advantage and ask for technology. You can buy a lot of bourbons for the price of an iPad. Then again, what price peace? I do however break out the hot chocolate and blankets every single Friday. The kids are now old enough to watch an entire film and the blankets make me warm enough that I can have a little snooze while they do. I've called it 'Family Film Friday' and it is highly recommended.

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  37. I think I love you! Thank you so much for making me feel better about being a Mum. xx

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  38. With supermum, you're only seeing the best bits, where she is looking her best, the kids are doing as their told and their making some fabulous model to play with - which I'm betting isn't everyday and any issues their having are not spoken about. No two children are the same and are all very different.
    It may feel like bribery but actually you are offering a reward and if they change the behaviour they are displaying to a more postive one and the one you want to see more of then positive reinforcement is the way to go - it just so happens that their motivated by a biscuit.
    Some days or most it totally depends - people may feel at their wits end but you are all doing a marvelous job in your own individual way.

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  39. Couldn't have said it better myself!! ;-)

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  40. LOVE this - refreshingly honest!

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  41. This is my life.

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  42. Bribes are positive parenting, feel PROUD of that! rewarding a child for the behaviour you want is perfect. the professional term is 'positive reinforcement' who cares what you give them, if it works you're doing a fab job! x

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  43. I actually have a supermum friend... i went round one morning and the toddler was stood on a step helping to make brown bread rolls and there was a neatly clingfilmed ball of pastry resting on the side for the lemon meringue pie she was baking later for hubby (his favourite). I look at her quite often and simply think "how...?!?!"

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  44. Couldnt disagree more, i have 2 children one four and the other 2. i work full time. i leave the house at 8am get home at half 5. we then go for a walk and the park. i do all my chores in the evening when they are in bed ie the washing, ironing and cleaning etc. i dont feel these tasks should be an excuse not to spend quality time with my children as they are only young once and i want to make sure they grow up with the best memories and not stuck in front of a tv all the time

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    1. I love this blog! I think if you've read any of the posts you will she does quite a bit with the kids and a lot of this is tongue-in-cheek, but doesn't think mums should feel guilty on the days they are stuck in front of the TV (some TV watching is not going to ruin their memories of childhood is it). Sounds like you really are Supermum though! Shauna.

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    2. Congratulations. Your children obviously go to bed at a reasonable hour and sleep right through the night. My 9 month old has no idea what a reasonable bed time looks like. So by the time she goes to bed I'm exhausted. My housework must be done during the day or it wouldn't get done at all. I'm not using those tasks as an excuse to not spend quality time with my daughter.

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    3. To above: The clue is " I work full time" I find my job as a hospital doctor a retreat/holiday break compare to a full on day with my 4 lovelies ( 4 under age of 6). We dont have TV and basically live outside when possible however I hide in the downstairs cloakroom sometimes to read newspapers..

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    4. Yep, that's because you work full time! I work part-time as a therapist on an acute psychiatric unit. Completely agree with the doctor above that my days at work are a breeze in comparison to being a stay at home mum.

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  45. Feel like a failure everyday and then I read one of these blogs and all of a sudden I don't feel so alone. My kids are loved and provided for and really that's all that matters. Thanks for your honesty xx

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  46. The Paella Lady8 July 2015 at 12:13

    I love you Unmumsy Mum!! Your blog should be required reading for all mums-to-be. Perfect Mum does not exist, although there are plenty of people on Facebook who would like you to think they are her. They're not! Bribing is fine. Telly is fine. As long as you love them, tell them you love them and cuddle them it's all fine. My three are all still alive in spite of far too much CBeebies, doughnuts and rubbish bed times. Keep it up!!

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  47. Sometimes we just need a break and the kids do too. I was on my way out to work the other day and I overheard my 4yr old say to daddy "PLEASE can we just stay at home today mum ALWAYS makes us go out!"

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  48. You are, quite simply, my hero!! :0)

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  49. This is fantastic!! Will definitely be buying your book and reading more of your blog.. it's so different to everything else we mum's hear about parenting, and it's a lot more accurate! I love you unmumsy mum.. thanks for making my parenting journey something to laugh about and not stress over!! :)

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