Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Parenting Perfection.

I always wanted to be a perfect parent, I even got paid to tell other parents where they were going wrong for a living so surely it was going to be a doddle.

Things immediately didn't go to plan. After three weeks my breastfeeding plans were over, Tabitha was losing weight rapidly and her temperament made it clear she was starving.

Next there was my terror at attending the health clinics and partaking in Mummy chat in general.

Little Miss Know-It-All then ended up pacing the nursery all night with a screaming child having no idea what was wrong. I had spent two weeks giving half doses of Calpol because I'd read the syringe measurements wrong and wondered why nothing was helping her teething pains.

I'd really wanted to be the vision of parenting perfection but I'm not.

I have friends who have fought on breastfeeding for ages and who are obsessed with their childs salt and sugar intake, who only want their child to go to private or church schools, who would be horrified if someone said 'shit' in front of their child. I don't lose sleep over these issues, school is years away, food is food, plans change.

Seriously though... Are their children any happier than mine? Are their children guaranteed better futures? I doubt it, some of the stupidest most miserable people I've ever met have been vegan privately educated fools.

I'll openly admit I can be a bit of a rubbish mum, we sometimes eat crap and sometimes we say 'crap'. I'm not ever going to start enjoying mothers mornings and music groups or stop going clubbing if I find the energy!

I'm not going to beat myself up about organic food or occasional swearing in front of the kids and if going clubbing means we are encouraging 'dad' dancing, so be it.

Striving for parenting perfection is a bore, being uptight is dull.

Chill out and enjoy your kids I say. Life's too short.


  1. Yup. Agree with that. None of us are perfect, nor should we strive to be. I know a couple who decided that their kid wouldn't have sweets so gave her grapes and called those sweets. Of course, she goes to nursery and gets sweets from the other children when it's their birthdays. I decided I wasn't going to ban stuff for my kids. From what I know, kids that have stuff banned from them go mad for the banned stuff when they are old enough. I take the view that I need to teach them about moderation so I do say no to them sometimes when they want sweets and I think they've had too much.

  2. I couldn't agree more with this post! x

  3. Ha, ha, ha! Effing, brilliant, well said as always. Totally love you and your blog Mumra! xxx

  4. I agree with a lot of your points; I had kids in my 20's and a 'late baby'at almost 40,and with the youngest I have come across an awful lot of mums who,having had careers previously,seem to treat parenting as something to be project-managed. They can be terribly precious about things. I live in Brighton where a lot of people are health-conscious and into organic food and alternative lifestyles;I'm sure they'd be horrified to see what I occasionally serve for dinner..
    I think we all have our personal hot buttons;while swearing is a non-issue for some people,it's a no-no- for me and I hate to hear it from children's mouths but I wouldn't judge anyone else for it.And as for the mummy groups;-I did go although I wasn't a fan, because we were new to the area and my daughter would have had no friends otherwise, but if you have family or friends with children of the right age then you won't be losing out by not going..
    Having a happy,healthy 24 year old and 21 year old makes me worry a lot less about my 6 year-old...if they survived (the eldest is a new father and the middle one a chemistry graduate) then I can't have done it all wong!

  5. I agree, i will be mortified if my baby spouts swear words but at the same time i won't go crazy if someone has a rant in front of her and i admit its often me! The key i think is to teach relevance and respect.

    I dread mothers groups and know i need to do them as Tabitha needs to mix with other children but its so not my comfort zone.

    I hate seeing mums getting bashed for giving kids crisps or squash by the 'perfect' parent brigade. I don't lecture them about the damage being raised in a germ free environment is doing to their organically fed mollycoddled child.

  6. Hear hear! !! nicely put and great photo :)

  7. Thanks Jenny! We do have some crazy fun! x

  8. Oh well said Mumra and thanks for saying it! They need love and support and they'll muddle their way through life somehow! x

  9. I stopped striving for perfection the day kids arrived. I knew it was never going to be possible with three children overnight. There was not time for niceties, just getting on with as much as poss in as short a time as could be done.

  10. I love you Sarah! I couldn't have put it better myself! The bit about the privately educated vegan types made me laugh out loud. Keep blogging lady!xx

  11. Just the way you should be as a mum.

    A seemingly perfect mum is a neurotic mess who worries about everything and won't ever relax.

    Why would anyone wish to be that way?

  12. Amen to all of that.
    Sounds like we're from the same (slightly lapsed) school of motherhood :)

  13. I was going to be so many things until Sam actually arrived and I realised what life was going to entail. Like you I didn't breastfeed for as long as planned as he was starving, I seem to be apologetic when I tell people this. he has a dummy because he likes to suck and can't quite figure how to get his thumb in his mouth, I also seem to be apologetic for this. I need to not ne apologetic anymore and realise that I am not perfect but I'm doing ok and he's doing ok too.
    have a happy and healthy 2011. xx

  14. Our job as a parent is to equip our children to survive in the world, and to be happy. Is the world perfect? Always nice, does everyone go to private school and never say "crap", only eat organic food, never get ill, never have arguments and never drop their ts? Of course not. So we need to instill the right morals and values in our children, but give them realistic expectations and realistic ways of dealing with things.


  15. Lord knows, I'm about as far from a perfect parent as it gets without featuring on Shameless, but I don't completely agree.

    I think as a Mum you have an urge to do the best for your children, and you want to protect, teach and nourish your kids as best you can. For some parents that might well mean providing an organic diet; for others it might mean teaching sh1t-hot manners, while for others it might mean focusing on fun and relaxation.

    I know I get a lot of slightly patronising comments because I don't allow Flea to watch television. So what? It's my choice, I'm not insisting you make the same choice, I'm not saying your choice is wrong - I'm just following my instincts and doing what seems right for my family.

    Flea also attends a private school - again, given what I know of her personality and our situation, it seemed that she would be happier and more successful (personally, not academically) in a class of 12 kids rather than a church school class of 34 kids. Does that make her a fool or me?

    I think the experience of being judged for my parental choices (and as a single Mum, I'm automatically under more scrutiny than other Mums in most cases) has made me a bit more sensitive to other parents who think things are important that perhaps I don't think are important - I don't tend to worry overly about 'germs' for example.

    Different families, different approaches - I think we should be embracing difference rather than perpetuating the notion that there's a 'better' or 'worse' way to do it - whichever side of that 'divide' you happen to stand on.

  16. I think you sum it up well, as a parent I will no doubt change my mind on issues as they arise on my parenting journey. For example if it suited T and we could afford it I would go private schooling for sure. I'm just not giving it too much thought at the moment.

    I'm not anti any of these areas at all I just get upset by seeing parents bending themselves in half trying to achieve perfection. As a nursery manager I saw so many parents twisting themselves into allsorts of shapes to have the perfect family, often missing the point all together.

    I always laugh at the germ thing of new cutlery if they drop it from the table, when five minutes before the child was chewing a shoe!

  17. Ooh, yes, you're right - it's often really sad watching people get frustrated and upset because they imagine there's perfection to be had, and missing all the joy in the meantime. I want to jump up and down and shout when I see women berating themselves as 'useless' at being a Mum, as though there's some sort of certificate.

    Well, there might be a certificate. I don't know. I certainly didn't get it if there was one.

  18. I knocked my own up on photoshop seemed easier! ;-)

  19. I think I have control of my account again.
    Apologies, Thanks everyone for letting me know.