When I became pregnant with my first child I thought a lot about what kind of mum I was going to be. I had all sorts of idealistic ideas. I would be a calm, earthy type mum. Always there with adventures, advice and home baked goods.Think Felicity Kendall in The Good Life crossed with Delia Smith. The fact that I am an easily irritated,city girl who is absolutely rubbish at baking never crossed my mind. I would give birth and metamorphasise into Mrs Perfect.
So imagine my surprise when after my son was born I found myself still…well myself! It was then that I discovered the art of ‘good enough parenting’. These are the things that I have learned.
Most days I make a delicious home cooked meal for my family(well home cooked at least). Some days I open a tin of macaroni cheese or stick some potatoe waffles under the grill (hooray for the slummy dinner).
Most of the time my children are happily playing together (well okay sometimes they are ripping shreds out of each other but that’s another story) or engaged in a fun activity. Some of the time they are watching Scooby Doo or playing on the Nintendo.
Most of the time I am calm and patient with my children. I listen to them and set clear fair boundaries. Some of the time they have driven me bonkers all day with their shrill streaking, wrestling, drooling, and general baffoonery. On those occasions I have been known to (gasp!) shout and hide in the toilet.
What no one tells you is that when you give birth you are also fitted with a guilt chip.This means you will always feel a little bit guilty no matter how you parent. I am prone to perfectionism so have beaten myself up about my parenting no end. I do believe though that good enough parenting is, well, good enough.
It literally takes my breath away how much I love my children (and I’m not prone to gushy-ness). I would do anything I could within my power to give them a brilliant childhood. However, I have realised that me being happy and not completely knackered or overwhelmed, is important too. So although I am not necessarily channeling Felicity or Delia these days, my children are happy and so am I.