Yet another blog about living in the moment (an honest one)

FullSizeRenderI’ve read loads of blogs which talk about the importance of living in the moment. They’re great little reminders but do we really take heed? As mums is it really possible to live completely in the moment?

I don’t know about you, but I spend so much time thinking about lunch, dinner, bed time, tomorrow, the weekend, school, college, holidays, Christmas, summer, winter and more.

I also find that when I’m totally focused on the future, it’s a sign that I’m running on empty. I found myself doing it this week, looking forward to the start of school so that I can get some ‘me time’ back. School doesn’t start for another 10 months and I don’t even know if we will send them to school and yet here I was focusing on how my life will look in almost a year. How much better it will be. I’ve done it for lots of my kids childhood, I’ve looked forward to the next stage: the crawling, walking, taking, toileting, because of how much better or easier it will make my life.

I was the same during pregnancy, couldn’t wait for the next trimester and when they would arrive. Believing that life with a baby would be easier than life pregnant (ha!) And therein lies the big lesson: It never get’s easier or better just like it doesn’t really get harder or worse. It is exactly what it is; some days are tough, others a dream. And that’s the way it will continue to be.

Living in the future is really – for me anyway – an escape.

And that’s OK. It’s OK to occasionally dream of a different life, it’s OK to want a phase to pass, it’s OK to not enjoy every minute with our kids. But it’s not OK – for me anyway – to spend my life in the future.

When I’m focused on the next, I’m missing the now. I’m passing up the chance to enjoy the present time with my girls in exchange for a happy thought about what might become. I’m wasting time, precious time.

So here it is, in order to become more present (as ever) I have a plan:

  1. I will use my phone less. When I’m living in the future I have a tendency to use my phone more, to start planning and diarising. I go from thoughtful to completely distracted and unavailable. This doesn’t help me. No more phone when I’m with the kids.
  2. I’m going to observe my thoughts and be more aware of when they are in 2018, then bring them right back to today.
  3. I’m going to watch my kids more. I don’t do a great deal of housework anyway but I do try and get things done and then get frustrated when I can’t do them because I have to “race with a dolly in a buggy”. From now on I will be willing to drop what I’m doing and play, and when I’m not playing I’ll watch them, talk to them, be with them. So no more tackling house work or other (often pointless) jobs. Oh my, the hubby will be pleased…
  4. I’m going to give less of a crap about what I will be doing next month or next year. It doesn’t really matter which Santa we will visit or which pantomime we will go to. I will see which lands in my lap and if nothing does I will put Elf on and grab some popcorn.
  5. I will remember that my kids don’t need to be entertained. They just want me there. Kids don’t mind what we do, they mind that our mind is on them and what they are doing right now. Children also don’t care about the future. The only futuristic questions my 3 year old asks me are “can we stay at Nanny’s later?” and “can I watch Sarah & Duck when I get out the bath?”
  6. Finally I will try better to appreciate the gifts that my children are. I will remind myself that though it is hard, it is amazing, a privilege. And that this time will soon be in the past, no longer the present and nowhere near the future. The future really is over-rated, it has nothing on what we have right now.

And there it is, my plan to stop living in the future and to start enjoying the present moment, which is all we ever have.

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Must dash, my house is a tip xx

 

Don’t judge me, I won’t judge you

Dont judge me2 I do it. You do it. We all do it.

As we listen and we watch… we judge.

Let’s stop.

There are no two mums the same. Even me and my sister who were raised by the same two parents and had children just a month apart take an entirely different approach to parenting. None of us know what’s best, we all do what we think is best for our child and for us. Some mums make decisions based on what’s right for their baby, and some make decisions based on what’s right for them. Some of us co-sleep while others put the baby in their own room at a few days old. Some mums breastfeed while others turn to the bottle (milk bottle). There are so many differences, in fact I even parent my second baby slightly differently to my first because I have changed so much in two years. I am not the same as I was two years ago, I am not the same as you.

We all have a different approach based on our upbringing, our personalities, our families, our personal preference, our experiences as people and as mums.

I read blogs that are written with humour, attacked by readers for appearing to be ungrateful parents. I read Twitter debates about Breastfeeding, peoples opinions being slated, a mum photographing another for doing something ‘wrong’.

It’s sad… and pretty pointless don’t you think?

Lets stop.

We all do what’s best for us, for our families and for our babies. We don’t know what another mum has gone through in her life, what she’s going through now. So how can we judge? We must simply accept that we are doing it differently.

I recently told someone of my decision not to breastfeed. She looked at me as though I had told her that I feed my kids chicken feet for breakfast. She probably did so without thinking, reacted without regard for how I might feel. And I realise I probably do the same thing too: react, judge, make another woman feel ‘less than’ when she’s doing what she feels is best. That’s why I’m writing this post. To remind us mums that what we think and feel, we show, and what we show, often hurts. We need to remember that our differences do not make any of us wrong, they make us unique. They gives us the opportunity to learn.

Let’s stop judging those who do things differently from us, let’s not silently criticise. Instead let’s accept each others decisions, learn from one another, let’s observe, let’s support.

So if you see me carrying a smelly baby in one hand and a crying toddler in the other, don’t judge me. If you see me making up my formula bottle, don’t judge me. If you see me in a stare, looking like I’m on (or wishing I was on) another planet, don’t judge me. Because when I see you doing something that’s different to me, when I see you having a bad day, I won’t judge you.

Deal?

 

What’s wrong with being wrong?

Delilah2As mums we all want to do a good job – of course. But there’s more to it than that; for many of us there’s also a fear of failing, of getting it wrong, of seriously screwing up our kids. And we probably will… My parents were amazing, perfect? No (sorry mum). They made mistakes which created behaviours and fears in me that I don’t particularly like. But they did the best they could, just like I am, just like you are.

I think we should embrace being wrong, talk freely about our mistakes, our fears, our true feelings. Let’s face it we’re all making mistakes, is it better to hide them away or share them? Hiding them won’t make you feel better, believe me I’ve tried. There’s a pretty good chance that other mums are making the exact same mistakes as you (or worse) and I feel much more connected to an honest mum, someone who trusts me with her ‘dark side’. Let’s not hide our mistakes, let’s own up and really connect. What’s wrong with being wrong? A cliché I know but getting it wrong is how we learn, how our children learn.

Here then are some of the mistakes I’ve made during my parenting (mainly with baby number one… poor thing):

  1. I was so afraid she might die without me in the room that I took her around the house with me: into the kitchen to make a cuppa, into the bathroom to have a wee… Everywhere. And guess what? She’s almost 3 and she hates being in a room on her own.
  2. At around 6 months I finally left her while I cleaned my teeth just once, and she fell off the bed
  3. I was much less afraid to leave baby number 2 but didn’t think not to leave the baby and the toddler alone… Toddler fed her a crisp at 2 weeks old and pulled her out of her bumbo and dropped her at 5 months.
  4. I once put baby 1 “safely” down in her car seat outside… right next to my sisters car exhaust while the car was running…
  5. I returned to work when baby 1 was three months old because I was “ready”. This is perfectly fine for some mums, there’s no judgement here. But I wasn’t really ready, I hadn’t yet adjusted to being a mum so no way was I ready to jiggle this and work. It didn’t go well.
  6. I was convinced that a ‘good mum’ was a fun mum therefore I played with baby 1 constantly and now I can’t go to the toilet without her asking when I’m coming back and what we will play
  7. I may have once or twice used the commonly used term: “Huh?” when I haven’t quite heard what someone has said and now the toddler says this same word after every single sentence… Sometimes before I’ve even finished the sentence.

I could go on… and on…

Some of my mistakes and wrong-doings were made out of fear (some just stupidity). And when I’m in fear of being wrong or causing my kids harm what am I teaching them? That I can’t be trusted to look after them, that they cannot be trusted to ‘survive’ or manage things by themselves, that being wrong is bad. Rubbish. I want to teach my girls courage, I want them to be (relatively) fearless, I want them to know that it doesn’t matter one bit if they make mistakes, get it wrong or in some way fail at anything.

Some of the things I’ve done wrong I can laugh at now (cried at the time) and others have had an impact on who my girls are becoming. Their behaviours and characters are being shaped by what I have done and said, what I continue to do… And you know what? No matter how wrong I get this, how badly I screw up at times it won’t make any difference to how much I love them. And I love them exactly as they are, odd habits and all. This means that no matter how wrong I get it, it can’t change how I feel about them. And that’s all they really need to know. My kids don’t need me to flawless, just to love them exactly as they are.

So I ask again, what’s wrong with being wrong? Huh? 😉