Thursday 1 July 2010

Not SuperMich but a Good Enough Parent

This week I have had a couple of chats with friends about parenting and how tough it can be. So I said I would put up this post that I wrote for Guest Post Day back in May this year. This same post appeared on and then all I thought about was you blog originally. The brief we had decided was to write 'a day in the life of...' but I went a bit off cue, this was obviously what I needed to be thinking about at that time and again now for it to come to mind when I was having these conversations. So here we go.......

Hello, Yesterday I was SuperMich, the mum who can do anything, cope with anything and enjoy it! I would love to be SuperMich every day but alas it does not seem to happen like that for me. SuperMich only appears once in a while and I have to enjoy her whilst she is here.

Have you ever found you have more than one personality? Can you be a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde? I certainly can. Talking to my Mummy friends it appears that many of us suffer from this – Split Mummy Personality Syndrome.

There can be so much pressure to be the perfect parent and actually what is the perfect parent?

Well for me yesterday it was about being a mum to three, who had enough time to listen (yes really listen) to every word my kiddies said. I then chatted back and made good educational conversation, as well as singing lots of pointless songs and playing games, both directed by me (puzzles and drawing) and some directed by the girls (the joys of make-believe play – doctors and baby dolls). The girls then helped me to prepare dinner, sweep the floor and hoover. Yes when SuperMich I can even make housework an enjoyable game for the little ones. JJ then came home and joined us and because I was fully engaged with the kids they all played lovely together in the garden, bouncing on the trampoline to their heart’s delight. The kids ate good healthy food all day, Hubbie and I ate well too and there was just a feeling of harmony and happiness in our house.

I tend to find that the more I engage with my kids the better the day goes. When I wake up and make a choice to have a great day and SuperMich appears, I come down and can deal with the spilt milk, the wee on the carpet and the protests that the 2-year-old twins do not want to get dressed even though we are only a short while off the bell ringing at school. I am able to negotiate like I belong at the White House and can coherse co-operation like a top sales director. These SuperMich days are satisfying but if I am honest they are also very tiring and could I keep up this level of enthusiasm and interest 7 days a week? very doubt able.

So most of the time – who am I?

Well, I am just plain old weary Mich, a good enough parent (don’t you just love that phrase? I heard it years ago and it has always filled me with hope and verified that I am OK). I go to work 2.5 days a week, I try to be a good wife, I aim to be a good mother but yes the kids watch TV and often they are left to entertain themselves but that is the beauty of three kids, they have playmates without me having to constantly join in! yay

My house generally looks clean and tidy but not so much that the kids can not have fun, I have definitely grown more relaxed since having children and learnt the lesson that no one ever wishes they did more cleaning or worked more hours when on their deathbed. So I really do try to do fun stuff with the kids, we go to the park, the zoo, on picnics, enjoy play doh, do some make-believe (which yes I find totally boring but I love to watch them get on with it without me), bake cakes and make mess painting. The lesson I still need to learn and I am trying (honestly) is how to just relax and be; enjoying my kids that way, without always doing something.

A while back Sandy at Baby Baby did a good post on the very subject of good enough parenting. I said to her at the time I wanted to post on the same subject but it has taken me this long to get my thoughts down. Some of the reason for this is because I am a good enough parent. I care enough about my kids happiness and well-being not to blog for too long, because boy could I get really drawn into this addictive little world if I allowed myself to.

This subject of ‘perfect’ and ‘good enough’ parenting is really close to my heart so I googled under ‘perfect parenting’ and came across a survey which had been undertaken by Netmums with 1000 British kids. It made for interesting reading, stating that 77% of the kids felt the best Mums gave loads of cuddles. Tick, I do OK on that one! Amongst the other things that kids wanted from their ‘perfect parents’ was help with their homework, to be supported at school events, to play with their Dad’s, and to grow up to be just like their parents. The message was that we do not need to be perfect parents we need to be happy parents who try our best to be good role models.

Happy parents = Happy children. So for today that is what I will be – Happy Mich not SuperMich!
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