Today CBeebies did most of the parenting. Tonight will be white wine and self-loathing served in front of some inane rubbish on the TV – Made in Chelsea should do the trick. It’s okay to be a crap parent sometimes. Tomorrow will be a better day.
This is not how parenting is supposed to go. Super-Nanny would have condemned me for finally giving into the tantrum and for buying The Octonauts magazine. I condemn myself for my inconsistency. If I was going to give in and buy the magazine anyway, I should have saved myself the stress and capitulated at the beginning of the day.
The woman in the garden centre asked me whether my sobbing, hyper-ventilating, child had hurt himself. My son had tears streaming down his face. He looked as though the world’s injustices had been heaped upon his shoulders. “No”, I assured her, “he is having a tantrum because I won’t buy him a new Spider-Man”. Her look of concern suggested she was contemplating calling social services. I don’t know whether she did. I scooped up Cygnet, my son, and left.
Being a parent has taught me that there was no point reading all of those parenting books.
Before I became a parent, I thought I’d try baby-led weaning, but no baby-led weaning book tells you what to do if your baby is just too stupid, or in Cygnet’s case just not bothered about eating. If I had let Cygnet lead weaning, he would have starved.
Before I became a parent, I had notions that Cygnet would only eat home cooked food. It was a noble aim, but what mother actually has time to cook? When I look back at that first year I wonder how I found the energy to get dressed and clean my teeth. I just about found the microwave.
Before I became a parent, I was obsessed with what kind of parenting ‘style’ I wanted to have. The reality is that I use all parenting styles, all of the time and all of them inconsistently.
We practice attachment parenting when Cygnet attaches himself to my ankles when I try to go to the toilet. I am a crap parent.
We practice firm parenting when I tell him that I will take The Octonauts magazine back to the shop if he does not “sit down now and eat [his] pineapple”. I am a crap parent.
We practice independent and autonomous parenting when I need a break and Cbeebies takes over while I sit and drink a cup of tea on my balcony and try to control my breathing. I am a crap parent.
Any parent who is a tidy-housed, switched-on ideas machine all of the time has to be lying. Or on drugs. We all need time to re-group occasionally. I don’t know about you but I really need by glass of wine in the evenings.
Tomorrow will be a better day. Tomorrow, I won’t be such a crap parent. We will go pumpkin picking at the farm and we will make cookies (from a pack where all you have to do is add butter – let’s not get too carried away).
It’s okay to be a crap parent sometimes.
P.S. If you liked this post, you’ll appreciate: We’re all a bit mad, especially after having a baby; This is the rush hour of our lives and Guilty Mum, there’s no need to feel guilty.