In Celebration of Parents

I just want to share a few snippets of my morning yesterday.

5.15am awoke to the blood curdling screams of daughter # 2, I jump out of bed still clutching the doona and do a full paced sprint down the hall to her room. When I open the door she is standing up in the cot smiling, "Hello Mama". It seems she needed room service and the bell was broken, poor dear.

5.24am husband, baby and mummy are all happily awake and dying to start the day, hooray.

5.36am scratching and meowing coming from daughter #1's room. I open the door to find her sitting on the floor cleaning her whiskers and washing her fur. She announces that today she only wants to be referred to as "Rainbow Kitty" and will not respond to Audrey or any other name. Oh Goody, this is going to be a great day!

6.00am poodle starts having a convulsion on the lounge room rug. Daughter #2 is screaming and daughter #1 is fascinated and wants a blow by blow explanation of what's going on. As its 6am and I only have 5 neurons firing I fob her off and murmur something about explaining it when she's 18.

7.30am I look at the clock and I have exactly 20 minutes to feed the dogs, get dressed and brush everyone's teeth before getting out the door. I stand in the middle of the corridor and announce very loudly that it's time to go. Daughter # 2 looks at me and very proudly says "Why?", I try to ignore her but she says it again more loudly. I look at her in despair, I thought I had another 6 months before she started the why questions and I feel completely ripped off.

8.20am I have dropped the girls at kindy and have made it to the office with 10 minutes to spare before my first client. I walk past the mirror and stare in horror... makeup is done but hair is unbrushed. The front is passable but the back isn't. I devise a plan to remain forward facing to clients for the rest of the day.
You no doubt have had mornings like this. Once I got over the shock of it, I started to reflect on parenthood. We can get really bogged down on what we aren't doing well as parents but there are so many things we are doing well. Here are a few worth celebrating:

We want the best for our children

Most parents genuinely want the best for their children and do whatever they can to provide a good life for them. I see parents who have had very difficult upbringings and yet make a conscious decision to parent their own children differently and more positively than what they experienced.

Flexibility and "going with the flow"

Even if you don't begin parenthood as a flexible, "go with the flow", kind of person you develop those skills very quickly. Anyone who has tried to get a 2 year old to do something they don't want to knows you develop the ability to change tack quicker than any politician. You become adept at doing whatever it takes to get the job done. The interchange might look something like this:

You: Hey , can you put your shoes on now?
2yr old: No!
You (adopting 1st strategy): If you put your shoes on we can go to the park to see
2yr old: No!
You (adopting 2nd strategy): OK, we won't go out today then
2yr old: Screaming and the beginnings of a tantie
You (adopting 3rd strategy): Well, if you're a good and put your shoes on then you'll get a star and a special treat later
2yr old: Crying subsides after a while and starts moving towards shoes

Impressive really, parents under pressure have more effective negotiation skills than the United Nations!

Multi-tasking Wizards

I'm constantly amazed at how many things a parent can attend to simultaneously. If I had a role to fill I would definitely employ a parent. It would be like having a trained octopus on staff only better. Who else can answer the phone, put the kettle on, brush a toddler's hair and de-worm the dog all at once.

Endless capacity for love

Despite the ups and down of being a parent, our capacity for love is limitless. You manage to forgive your 3 yr old for knocking over two glasses of juice in quick succession onto your new lounge room rug. And you push to the back of your mind that you have been up 3 times during the night with a crying, hysterical child. Somehow, through all of this you still find them irresistible.

OK, I'm convinced we parents are saints! Next time you're having a bad day or doubting your skills as a parent, just reflect on this for a moment will you?

Posted on 24 June 2010 in - Library - Family and Parenting

Mataji Kennedy

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