School holidays tend to encourage me to take a good old hard look at my parenting skills... usually as I am repeatedly banging my head against the wall or pleading with the retirement home over the back fence to take me early.
I am always far more critical of my parenting in the holidays than I would be if say... my kids are at school or snugly tucked up in their beds.
You see when they are sleeping or busy learning at school, I think I am a pretty awesome parent.
In fact I maintain I was probably one of the best parents in the world... once upon a time... before I had kids.
There seems to be somewhat of a distance between the parent I am, and the parent I always imagined I would be and whilst it would be the easier option to take, It wouldn't be fair to lump ALL the blame on the kids.
I was discussing this same subject with a friend the other day - you know the chat you have about the parent you thought you would be versus the parent you are? And naturally we arrived at the point where we discussed all the things I/we said we'd would NEVER do as a parent... but did anyway.
1. I will not be a shouter.Yeah, all went well with this one until child number one was about three and started chucking the wobbly of all wobblies. You know the type that go on for about ... oh two years give or take.
I can still remember the first time I shouted at him. I'm not sure who was shocked more, me or him or the old couple that lived next door?
2. My kids will not have plastic guns.As clear as if it were yesterday I can see my hubby and I sitting on a grass patch drinking beer and bourbons and watching a band play, when a young family sat down next to us.
Their kids had a mountain of show bags and the littlest squid of about four was busy pulling out an arsenal of guns from one of bags and proceeded to pretend to shoot his entire family.
At the time, I was horrified - I mean what kind of moron buys their kids an arsenal of plastic guns?
Needless to say I was forced to eat my words when with three kids under the belly I found myself lining up for limited edition Nerf Guns to add to the other 30 or so Nerf guns they already had at home and I realised that unless you are willing to chop your kid's fingers off, they will find some way to play cops and robbers or soldiers versus brain eating zombies... plastic guns or no plastic guns.
3. I will not let my kids eat junk food and food colouring and all that preservative crap.One look at the snack box in my pantry, the bribes stashed in my handbag and the jumbo pack of coloured icy poles in the freezer and you can correctly come to the conclusion that I did not exactly follow through with that one.
4. I will not ever spoil my kids.OK this IS one I do have some regrets over, because the truth is I have spoiled them... I have spoiled them absolutely rotten over the years.
I am a sucker for seeing the joy on my kids faces when they receive something they really want or go somewhere they have wanted to go to. But in hindsight, I think that it is good if they don't always get what they want... but that's a whole other blog post.
5. I will never compare my kids.How can you not?
I mean really, is there anyone that has never compared one of their kids to another?
Behaviour, ability, speech, intelligence, personality. It's only natural to compare one offspring to the next. I know every child does things in their own good time but as for who behaves better than the other.... hell yes, I compare.
6. I will not choose favourites.Clearly I made this call before I had three children and before I knew that it is highly unlikely that you will get all of your offspring behaving well at once.
So yes, I do play favourites and typically my favourite changes hourly depending on who is being the least turdish.
7. I will not be too strict.hahahaha obviously I came up with this one when I was like 15 or something and probably whilst I was sprung attempting to sneak out at night.
Now that I am a proper grown up and all that, I remember very clearly all the things I used to get up to as a teenager... and so yes I AM strict dammit and for a very good reason too.
I am shit scared of karma.
8. I will not use the kids as an excuse.In my pre-child days I had a friend who also happened to be a colleague. We used to have so much fun together, drinks after work, drinks during lunch at work yada yada - you get the idea.
Then one day, she went and had a baby and everything changed.
There was always an excuse for why she couldn't catch up, or why she had to cancel at the 11th hour. Baby has a temperature, baby has a runny bum, baby is sprouting teeth and no one is sleeping.
There was a whole lotta eye rolling going on from my end.
And then I went and had kids myself and found that I was so damn tired all the time and suddenly 'baby has a temperature, baby has a runny bum and baby is sprouting teeth and no one is sleeping' were the best excuses ever to get you out of having to leave the house.
9. I will not be overprotective.But then I held that precious vulnerable little life in my arms for the first time and I felt like I could and I would severely damage anything or anyone that caused any harm to my cub.
I hovered over the slippery dip in case he went too fast. I shouted at the hubby for throwing him in the air too high and I sat in my car outside the preschool to see if I could catch a glimpse of him in case he was sad or lonely or some little twat was being mean to my baby.
I don't think I will ever STOP being over protective.
10. I will not embarrass my children.I don't actually remember if my parents ever did anything that was unforgivably embarrassing, but I do recall the cringe factor when they kissed in front of us or danced and sang to an old fogeys song and I do remember rolling my eyes into the back of my head and vowing to the heavens "I will never be that embarrassing".
Clearly I had no idea just how fun embarrassing your kids can be until I went and had a handful of my own.
Hey, it's one of the perks of being a parent and every job has to have a perk right?