Guilt, in a word. Whether to have them at all (in my case this was always a resounding YES), and then when you do have them, how best to go about raising them and sending them out into the world as well mannered, kind, enthusiastic and adventurous individuals.
I have 3 offspring – in 2 ‘batches’…I shall explain.
Doing it in batches
My eldest came into our lives in my late twenties – I was a very young mum by today’s standards I suppose, but to my mind, just about perfect timing and perfect child. She stayed this way for most of her childhood (bar the odd tantrum, legs flailing on the floor of Sainsbury’s was one memorable occasion), and has now turned out into the most amazing young adult I know. Well I am biased, but what do you expect.
My second ‘batch’ came in the form of twins – a total shock to the system, especially as an 8 year gap meant the nappy days were kind of long forgotten. Twins gives you a perspective and a level of organisation in your life that is good enough to add to any CV under ‘key skills’. The perspective in terms of, wow, how easy just one baby was, to organisation, in terms of trying to just get out of the door before the shops close / day turns once again to night. Being a new mum to twins in my mid 30’s also gave me a level of reasoning where anyone with triplets was considered to be super human.
Nature vs nurture
It has always fascinated me how kids are the product of both nature and nurture. We work hard at the nurture so we can make the best of their nature. How much of each produces the outcome of your efforts, remains the subject of much scientific research.
However, there is no manual, and there are many ways a modern parent can be derailed into feelings of guilt or inadequacy.
Social media is a great breeding ground for this one – how many times do we look at others’ profiles, posts and pictures and feel guilty that X has spent the weekend doing ground-breaking craft projects / scaling mountains / baking, baking and more baking with the kids, all fuelled by nutritious wholesome home-made dinners whilst dressed in Cath Kidston or Joules clothing.
Then, on top of all of that, supervising the execution of all homework on time, (plus extra work), and sending them to school on a Monday morning with clean, ironed uniform and a packed lunch Jamie Oliver would be proud of, whilst we have been festering under a mountain of chores, catching up on sleep and battling with a feeling of mass guilt about all of the above.
The ‘last minute’ costumes
I know I’m not alone in this one but when you send your child to school with a shop bought fancy dress outfit for World Book Day for the umpteenth time instead of lovingly crafting one by candlelight in the wee small hours, you do tend to feel a little bit shabby perhaps. The ‘Unmumsymum’ got there first however, and all we can do is cheer her on and smile knowingly.
But enough of this competitive parenting nonsense, what really matters most is having happy, well adjusted kids. and on that front I reckon I’m doing just fine.
Originally posted 2016-11-27 20:09:54.