Monday, 16 May 2011

Parenting shmarenting...

To those who don't have children, I am sure the difference in parenting styles can be simply defined by those who breast-feed and those who don't.  Well I breast-fed all of my children and I can assure you it is not that simple!

Over the past few months, I have been forced to question a few of the ways I parent my children. I spoke with a lady, who was recommended to me to help with some strategies for Cate's nightmares, only to walk away feeling very inadequate with my own life. After establishing that all the the ideas she had, I was already doing (the nightmares left that night and haven't returned), the conversation was then redirected at me. Did I have enough vitamins in my diet, was I getting enough sleep, do I have enough time for each child, do I spend too much time with them individually? I could go on, but as you can see, I couldn't have picked the right answer even if I had the exam in advance!

I went through a number of emotions that week, and there were a few tears shed. I thought a lot about how my choices would impact on my children. Apparently because I have a different diet to them, (I am vegetarian), it can cause eating disorders in girls. And when do I spend time on me? You answer that question, when does any mother spend any time on them. I wake up and until they go to sleep, it is about them. Then when they go to bed, it is about my husband and I. There is no me anymore. I am a mum. Me = 4 kids.

After talking about it to exhaustion, I concluded that I am one person and could easily cry myself to sleep every night, thinking about the damage my decisions could make on their precious lives, but I do the best I can and if it wasn't great that day, I will try harder the next.

I have also noticed, more lately than ever before, that your differences in parenting can affect your children's relationships with other children. I am currently conflicted by an incident that happened at the park a couple of weeks ago. One of my girls was being tormented by someone else's child whose parent didn't consider their behaviour to be wrong. What can I do? I would have disciplined my child for behaving that way. I am aware that children should sometimes be left to settle disputes themselves, but my child was physically shaking and crying. How can I say that I am a better mother than this woman? I know she loves her child, and am sure she would be upset if her child were hurt, but where is one person right and another wrong?

Fortunately, at the end of every day, I go to bed with a wonderful man who believes in the same things that I do. We raise our children a mixture of the ways we were raised, bringing the best from each of our upbringings. He tells me when I make the wrong decisions in his absence, and, encourages me when I am feeling like I have made a mistake. But best of all, he believes I am the best mother in the world. Thankfully, because I am the one nurturing his children when he is not home!

Being a mum. Thankless yet rewarding, the hardest, most fulfilling job in the world.

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