When my kids were babies I tried to be a vigilant mum while trying to avoid being rigid and uptight. My kids are now ages 3 and 7. When I look back on their earlier years, I realise just how many things about which I was the coolest, Zen mum in town. With that, I can look back on a few blunders where I was actually a little too relaxed. Nothing ever went terribly wrong, but I can still see where I should have been a little less Zen and a little more of a fierce mum. Here, my biggest mum scores and fails:
I realised that there’s no perfect way to feed my kids. I was adamant about exclusively breastfeeding my first child and then chose to formula feed my second. Each decision was right for me and that particular child. Turns out, there’s no perfect way to feed your kid.
I embraced the fact that kids develop at their own pace. My first child learned to use the toilet after I thought he would. My second child said goodbye to nappys earlier than her older brother had. I couldn’t have forced either to do it at any other time than they did.
I stuck to the idea that kids should only eat when they’re hungry. I never wanted the dinner table to be a battlefield so if my kids don’t want to eat they don’t have to. They do have to sit at the table regardless and they don’t get desert if they don’t eat dinner.
I discovered that kids will ultimately choose the right friends. My son has a few wild buddies and I dread how out of control the kids get when they are together. As my son gets older, he’s less and less interested in the wild behaviour that used to seem so exciting and fun. He’s making better choices and gets to feel the confidence that comes from making good decisions on his own.
I decided that it doesn’t really matter what my kids wear. I want to dress my 3-year-old daughter in perfect outfits, but sometimes she has other ideas. So I don’t fight it as long as she’s clothed. At the end of each day, every kid is messy with paint-stained clothing.
I embraced play time. A bunch of my friend’s little kids have tutors and their weeks are filled with extra classes that seem like too much to me. I don’t want to spend all my time driving my kids from place to place, nor do I want to push them to do extra classes they’re not interested in. Playing after school is just as helpful to kids as learning a new language by 4 or mastering the violin in preschool.
It took me too long to get rid of bad nannies. Finding a nanny is like dating. If you keep ending up with losers, chances are you have bad taste. Since I went through four bad nannies before I found a good one I have to believe it was my taste that was the problem. Instead of quickly letting a bad nanny go, I always tried to make them work out. They never did.
I didn’t speak up when my son’s teacher was a bad fit. My son had a terrible teacher and I knew from day one she wasn’t going to be a good fit. Instead of speaking up, I tried to play nice for fear of making her mad. My son’s year was made terrible by that teacher and he would have had a much better year in a different class. I’m never again going to be scared to speak up.
What were your mum scores and fails this past year?