Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Being a Parent is Tough: But Today I'm Having Fun!

** SPECIAL NOTE: I wrote this post months ago, wanted to post it over the weekend and then the completely mind numbingly atrocious shootings in Connecticut happened and like a lot of us, I didn't feel like being online or posting (or tweeting) much.

Today feels right, and with much love to all who were affected I give you:

Being a Parent is Tough, But Today I'm having Fun!

That’s a bit annoying huh?

I know. There are many, many Parents who struggle daily and especially when it's your first and when they're young. And I'm trying to prepare myself for adolesence and teenagehood also, I know that'll be no walk in the park. It’s friggin hard don’t get me wrong.

But I do love it so.

I generally try and think as positively as I possibly can on most aspects of my life. Note I said try. I often fail, but I do try.

Today … TOO-DAAY … I am trying to remember all the truly awesome, laugh out loud, heartwarming and grin-until-your-cheeks-hurt aspects of motherhood that get me through all the shit times.

Just Look at Them

Babies are just cute man. They need to be, they’re also incredibly demanding and there’s a theory that nature intended it this way. Big eyes, button noses, soft skin and hair. Weirdly addictive body odour. All help you love them in the wee hours when they won’t let you get any sleep.

My boys are five and two. And toddlers and little kids, with their squeaky voiced opinions and ideas. Did you hear what he just said? That’s SO cute, SO funny.

I love my camera, and my camera often does the looking for me. I’ll sit away from Tallen and Nate shooting pics while they play, watching them through the zoom lens.

And if you’re not a camera fan, just choose your time to watch for a while. When they’re playing nice or sleeping, and just look at them for a bit. Aren’t they lovely? They’re yours, you made them!

Cuddle While You Can

mummy loves cuddles
Because apparently, when your kids get older the cuddles are harder to come by. About the same age you become Mum and Dad, rather than Mummy and Daddy. It’s not cool, or some such nonsense.

So while mine are still small, I grab them for a kiss and a cuddle often. Like, a trillion times a day (possible exaggeration). There is just nothing better.

Come Play with us Mum

We….ll, okay then. Maybe I’m just a big kid at heart, but I love it in my childrens worlds. With the realities of day to day life, I struggle to find the time to play with them but I tell myself I MUST. I even try and work it into my schedule! Work in the morning, then house work, bit more time on the computer and then playtime when eldest gets home from preschool after lunch. Not only do I love it if I manage to achieve it, it’s really important to our Mum and child relationships.

And why would I not want to choose play over Laundry or washing dishes? Playing with my boys, I can forget reality for a while and sail the seas in a tree log Pirate Ship in the garden, fighting sea dragons and other ‘baddies’ and finding treasure every day without fail.

Or I can make things out of Play Dough or papier mache. Build Lego towers. Race toy cars around a carpet track, lying on my tummy. Play Soccer and Catch. Watch Pixar movies.

Soon enough, when they’re older I’ll be deemed ‘uncool’ and they won’t include me in their games anymore.

So laundry and other stuff n’ stuff can wait another hour.

Learn to Love the Mess

Gotta love it, I find myself constantly battling against it otherwise.

If it’s getting me down, I stop and think for a sec. Is it mess or is it just kids stuff? Because your home is not just your home anymore. I forget my dreams of a ‘lovely home’ and accept that I now share my home with two kids. Who haven’t learnt to tidy up after themselves yet. YET!

And I can’t expect my kids to keep all of their belongings neatly tucked away in their bedrooms, any more than I would expect Hubby or myself to. Our stuff is all over the house, it’s what shows that we live there. So why must my kids only ‘live’ in their rooms?

And you know what? I do kinda love that my fridge looks like this;

parents fridge

And my Hat Stand looks like this;

kids coats
My coat's under there somewhere ...

And my ever so grown up kitchen cupboards look like this;

plastic cups kitchen cupboards

Gotta learn to love the mess.

Learn to Love the NOISE!!!

I used to have such a quiet home. Literally, on a Sunday afternoon while I was reading the papers you could hear a pin drop. I used to play CafĂ© Del Mar and ‘Sounds of the Sea’ to create some background ambiance. *snicker*

Oh. My. WORD. How things have changed.

If you’re kids are being unruly, that’s one thing. But when they’re just playing and having fun there’s shouting, squealing, laughing, screaming.

As Hubby said only just the other day, “sometimes you just have to join in or put your earplugs in”. Besides, there’s also time for …

Quiet Chat and Connection

talk to your kids
I almost missed the point when my eldest son, Tallen, changed from being a baby to being a little boy.

So used was I to my routine of ‘baby carer’ that I hadn’t noticed my baby had grown and he now needed more than that. He was understanding his emotions better, he’d started preschool, he had a whole little life going on in his head and outside of home that I needed to be more aware of.

Just playing wasn’t enough, I noticed Tallen was wanting to chat to me at bedtime and it was delaying his bedtime routine. But he really wanted to talk to me, about school, about his brother, about all aspects of his little life. And despite my wish for him to have a good nights sleep, I loved our quiet one on one chats and appreciated that he needed them. I learnt so much more about my little boy too and he says the funniest things at times, like all kids.

So I now encourage it whenever we have some time alone together. Sometimes I have to suggest a chilled pastime, like reading or even movie watching together just to calm Tallen down and bring out his chatty side, but once he knows he has your attention he’s off. I listen avidly, one of those cheek hurting grins on my face, to his stories and worries. He also has alone time with Daddy often so they can 'boy chat' (I know, but they love it).

And we’ve now started chats with Nate also, two. He’ll sit on mine or Daddys lap when Hubby gets home and tell us everything he’s done so far that day. Very earnestly, as if he’s reading a news report. Ah, love it.

Be Childish, Be Silly

Er ... about ten most days.
Again, I find this one easy! And I say that like I’m so proud. One of my favourite quotes goes, “we don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing” (George Bernard Shaw).

I definitely have an inner child in this very grown up me and my kids ache for ‘Silly Mummy’. She’s much more fun than ‘Cross Mummy’, ‘Routine Mummy’ or ‘Too Busy Mummy’.

So I get daft, go ce-razy with the kids sometimes. Do what they want me to, instead of what I think I should be doing. Break routines.

Play loud music and dance and dance until we’re out of breath. Watch their favourite TV shows and movies with them. Pick them up and spin them around until we’re all dizzy. Make random puddings and treats in the kitchen with their help (bowl and spoon licking definitely allowed). Bounce on beds. Take on funny characters. Race them up the garden on their bikes. Tickle and tickle and tickle until we’re all weak from laughing and lying in a heap on the floor.

Wild huh? I tell you, Being a parent IS tough, but today I’m having fun. I've decided.

Parents, let us forget our stresses for today. What makes you smile most about parenthood?