On learning humility from my children…

I like to tell new parents, new mothers especially, about attachment theory. How mummy is the centre of her baby’s world. How mummy is the star at the centre of the universe as far as her children are concerned. This is why babies howl when we leave the room, why as soon as we pick up our infants and cuddle them all is right with their world again. Why our toddlers follow us everywhere, even to the loo. I firmly believe that children need responsive parents and that nurturing and prioritising our children’s attachment needs is the right thing to do. 

My children are no longer babies, however.  I like to think I’m still quite important to them, but to prevent me getting grandiose they like to tell me what they really think. Beanie, for example, informed me that she prefers Awesome Auntie to me. I did my best not to look too miffed, and replied that I love Awesome Auntie very much too. I recounted this exchange to my sister, who insightfully remarked that Beanie’s preference comes from the fact that “she’s never seen me grumpy and I say yes to everything”. So I did feel slightly mollified. 

Next up comes Monkey’s opinion. We had been patronising a local shoe shop in search of new wellies and they had a promotion where you could nominate a “super mum”. Monkey was taken with the posters: they involved superhero cape costumes and he is five, after all.  Fishing for compliments, I asked him if he’d nominate me as super mum. He said no, but he would nominate Beloved Husband for super daddy. Serves me right for fishing, I suppose! Then just to make me feel good about myself he told me he likes me because “you’re fatter and cuddlier than Daddy”. Ho hum.

Parents are important. Mothering is a Serious business. But my children are reminding me not to take myself too Seriously. Which sometimes a tough lesson.

Dolly Serious

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Mirror, mirror…

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the grumpiest of them all?

My children are like a mirror sometimes. They reflect my behaviour and attitudes back at me. Trouble is I don’t always like what I see.

For example, I know I need to get myself and the kids out of the house in the mornings. Otherwise we all get grumpy from cabin fever and lack of exercise. Why then, is it so hard to get my act in gear? To motivate myself?

I guess this is not a new problem. Somewhere, somehow I an sabotaging myself. No one else is forcing me to stay in the house. Once I’m outside I enjoy it. Why do I resist? I am stubborn and contrary in nature that’s why. Easy to see where Beanie girl gets it from!

There is an obvious element of goal conflict at work here. I want to play outside with my children, but I also want a lie in- I am obsessed with sleep. (And I want to clear up the breakfast dishes, and I want to stick in another load of laundry before we leave, etc.,etc.) Getting myself and the two small people up, dressed, fed and ready to face the day is no small task. So I resist it. I put it off. Until it becomes bigger and more difficult.

Oh, to be one of those (nauseating) people who jumps out of bed full of energy and enthusiasm every morning!

Or even better, full of serene, Zen acceptance if the way things are. It will take me an hour and a half (at least) to get us all up and ready to go. I could accept this and work with it. Trouble is, that means not just setting the alarm but actually getting out of bed when it goes off instead of snoozing it or ignoring or swearing it at (under my breath of course) which are my preferred options.