Those of you who have been here before will know that I currently have three children. The oldest is a full blown male teenager, the second is a almost-there female pre-teen and the third is charging at full speed into the terrible twos.
I say currently because although I have no intention of having a fourth child, I haven’t hit menopause yet and you can’t say what will happen tomorrow… or next week… or next month.
I’m currently a Stay at Home Mum, in order to support my children emotionally and physically. And that is good and fine and not a problem. When the baby goes to school full time, I may well return to my Teaching Career. But there are mums out there that are working all the hours that are sent their way; and they still put as much effort into being a mum as I do. And that is good, and fine, and not a problem. Every mum is different…
By the way, I am not denigrating Dad’s – they work as hard as Mums do and often with little or no thanks. Which is why Father’s Day (21st June) is an important holiday in the UK calender that should not be forgotten…
This time of year, can be a bit baffling for us UK Mums; especially if we have US Facebook Friends. The American summer holiday hits US Mums this month. Us UK Mums still have a month and a half of school runs to go.
The internet is full of articles about how to do crafty things with your kids or what to do to celebrate their “graduation” from whatever year they are currently in (something that confuses me – the only graduation we have in the UK with Gowns and Caps is when you finish a University course.) stuff like end of your parties with goody bags that every parent in the class has sent something in to go into it:
(if you click the picture, you’ll go to the blog that will explain the bag to you…)
I love the fact that these parents have done this and that they clearly enjoy joining in to end of year celebrations… and this is apparently one of the things that makes a Good Mum.
Along with Reading daily; organising the kids lives so that they don’t have time to think, let alone get up to any mischief; signing homework books etc…
Does that mean I am not a Good Mum?
My daughter’s school always has a non-uniform day, a party day and a toy day in the last week of term. I’m always the parent that dashes into the supermarket on the way to school to pick up a tray-bake or a couple bags of cookies or whatever for her to take in for the Party. When it comes to making a costume for the school play at Christmas, I’ll sort something out, but it won’t be particularly special.
If I do manage to organise myself so that I bake or make something handmade then my daughter is always happy – but she’s always happy that I grabbed shop bought stuff as well. I like crafting, but I can’t craft to order and I certainly won’t craft to a deadline; that removes the joy of it for me.
I think the thing that makes this time of year (and the run up to Christmas) irritating to me is that I keep getting the message that if I don’t bake and craft things for my kids at these times of year, I am not a Good Mum.
I let my kids organise their own homework planners (teaches responsibility), when they’re home, they can do what they like as long as it doesn’t cause too much noise or mess (I don’t have the room spare for that) and I’ve been letting them get their own snacks and drinks since the teenage male was tall enough to reach the cupboards. I attempt to read with my daughter, but as she is currently reading three of her own books in addition to the school ones, I get the feeling that she doesn’t really want me slowing her down.
I’ve even trained the older two to wash their own clothes at the end of the week… and the teenager is actually doing such a good job of the dishwasher daily that I might let him cook tea once a week (no, I’m not being lazy; he keeps begging me to let him)
I concentrate most of my time on the baby because she can’t do things for herself. I try my best to keep the house clean and the meals on time (although with our oven, you have to start cooking two hours before you’d normally start cooking or it won’t be done on time) and I write in an attempt to make a bit of money to supplement what my partner brings in and what benefits we can get.
And still, the internet and media are full of what a GOOD MUM should be. I don’t tick any of these boxes that are put there to measure yourself against.
There is no such thing as a definitive answer to what a Good Mum is. It all depends on the personal situation and abilities of the mum in question.
In my experience, the Best Mum is one who is there to cuddle the child when they are hurting (emotionally or physically) and who can understand when the child’s self confidence needs building up, or when they need a gentle reminded that there is always a bigger fish.
(No, that wasn’t just an excuse to put my favourite scene from The Phantom Menace in)
To be really and truly honest – the crafting and baking is fun, but it doesn’t matter. It’s the love that is the important thing, not the expression of it.
And yes, I am a Good Mum.