Last week we went to watch Jason Manford. He was hilarious however one of his jokes really resonated with me. I suppose that’s why I find him so funny, the jokes are funny because they are true.
The joke was set up around the fact that everyone has two versions of our self. The version on the right being the one that is perfect, drives well, doesn’t swear, keeps fit and is the best parent in the world.
Then there’s the one on the left, the person we actually are. the road rage driver, the sweary Mc’sweary pants, the one who eats junk food on the way home from the gym. the parent that shouts, and loses patience with our children. The parent that gives them the electronic baby sitter just to get a cuppa, the one who wishes they could be that perfect parent 24 hours a day.
Unfortunately non of us are perfect, not one. If someone thinks they are or says they are they are lying.
What’s the point I’m trying to make?
Well its like this a few weeks ago a boy local to us was tragically knocked down on his way home from school the boy was only a few years older than my eldest two. The boy was taken to hospital but could not be saved.
When this happened a lot of parents I know and myself said we would vow to become better parents, not shout at their kids so much, teach them the dangers of the world but not scare them in the process, they would keep a closer eye on their children. a week or two passed and although the boy hasn’t been forgotten about the vows to be that perfect parent had.
Until last week!
Last week a girl Jake & Melody went to nursery with died suddenly. She was 6 years old. her life ahead of her. Her dad is an old school friend of mine and is still good friends with my cousin. The girl was 6. SIX years old. I can’t even begin to think how her mum and dad are feeling.
Also last week an old school friend of mine died of cancer. (She had battled it for years) She was obviously not a child in the sense of age but her mum is still her mum and in her eyes she was still her child! Her mum once said to me “you know what, she sometimes just rings me to go round so that she can sit on my knee for a cuddle!”
Again I just can’t imagine and pray, to whoever, I never have to go through the loss of a child.
But these tragedies always bring our right hand self to the front of our brains the one who wants to be perfect.
The past week or so, me and hubby have vowed to be a better parent, the one who doesn’t yell, the one who says yes, The perfect parent with kids who have brushed hair & teeth and a decent breakfast in their bellies before they go to school, all without shouting.
As I said before no one is perfect. This idea of a perfect parent is great in principle but life gets in the way. We often shout to protect our children, like when they are about to walk into the road, or climb up a wall that’s too high. Our own fears kick in and we shout. Sometimes we get upset as our children have broken a toy that cost a lot of money, our emotions kick in and we shout because of the money that has been lost now the toy is broken.
The trouble is once we have shouted we get mum or dad guilt that we’ve upset our kids, or guilt that some people would give anything to be able to have that school run stress with their child.
That said I do want to be a better parent, I want to stop shouting, swearing, and be present more. especially when we start our new home education journey. When we are together a lot more of the time we are bound to have disagreements but we all need to be in a better place in order to deal with them.
Here are 5 ways I think I can be the better parent (Remember I said better, not perfect. There is no such thing)
Me – Being tired is a big contributor to my “shouty” me. Sometimes lack of sleep can’t be avoided as a parent but I need to try to get a better nights sleep.
Kids – If the kids are tired they get whingy, I need to make sure they also get enough sleep.
Me – When I am trying to do something either on my phone or laptop I know I can lose patience, especially if what I’m trying to do doesn’t go well or needs a lot of concentration. I need to start doing these tasks when the kids are in bed, or are engrossed in their own tasks
Kids – Screen time needs to be limited, they often get into something and then don’t listen when they are asked to do something. or they get upset when I say it’s time to switch off.
Me – I already know that being outdoors is better for my wellbeing and therefore I am a much better person for getting outside. If I’ve had time in the outdoors I am less stressed and more present.
Kids – Kids often feel penned in when they haven’t been able to play outside. I need to make more of an effort to get out even if the weather is not great.
Instead of constantly shouting orders and instructions, I need to explain why things can be dangerous. Set up routines so the kids know what is expected, use other ways to discipline other than shouting.
Try to keep stress to a minimum, I know this can be hard, but it will help to stay calmer in heated situations.
But also try not to stress when you do have a moment of being that left-sided you. The you that just can’t help but shout. Make sure afterwards you explain what made you mad or sad. Explain that sometimes we all become that left sided person and that’s ok.
I hope those connected to the recent tragedies can one day find light, I just want them to know they are thought about each and every day.