Recently, I have written a fair few posts that are quite personal to me, and they have had such an amazing response. My post from last week about whether Autism has turned me into a lazy parent, has been seen by a lot more people than usual and I have had some really lovely responses. Thank you. However it has got me thinking a little bit. I question my parenting capabilities way more than I should, but surely it is ok to question yourself from time to time?
Let me explain.
I consider being a mum ‘my job’. Don’t get me wrong I chose to have children, I also chose to give up my career as a restaurant manager and swap roles with James to become a stay at home mum. A choice I have struggled to adapt to, but one I love too. There is a reason people say parenting is hard ‘work’. It is the most demanding but rewarding ‘job’ in the world!
This being my ‘job’ means that I am my own boss, and I have to manage my time each and every day to make sure all the tasks that need completing are complete, I need to make sure at the end of the day I have three clean, happy sleeping boys and a fridge stocked with wine.
But with every job, comes that dreaded time of year. The appraisal or performance review. As an employee and an employer it was a huge task that took weeks to get through, but was necessary. Everyone needs to know how they are doing and how they can improve. I needed to know whether I was considered successful in my role as a manager using a selection of criteria. Why should being a stay at home mum be any different?
Yes, I do my best by my children. I manage every day to the best of my abilities. But sometimes, my best isn’t enough. And that’s ok.
It isn’t me thinking I am not good enough but every now and again the boundaries adjust and I don’t always change my tactics quickly enough. Causing stress, upset and tantrums. Something we all want to avoid. As with the professional world, strategies and ways to grow need reflection, and analysing, to allow you to improve and continue having success. Just use the rise in social media as an example. Companies had to change their marketing strategies to keep themselves ahead of the game. Ten years ago, social media was a tiny part of a strategy, now it has to be at the forefront.
As our children grow, their needs and wants change. As new things come up (such as Hayden’s autism) we have to work on ways to improve how we do things. A system we used previously may now be completely ineffective.
All three of my children are still very young, but now Kinley is walking, us all living in one room for much of the day isn’t possible, Kinley wants to explore the house, he wants to be mobile and learn about the world around him, yet Ellis and Hayden both need (very different) interaction too. The way I parent needs to change with that. I still have to dress Hayden, so I automatically do it for Ellis, yet yesterday he managed to put on his own jumper and shoes. Something I should be allowing and probably pushing him to do on a daily basis.
The things I did 6 months ago to make my life easier are no longer needed. I have to adapt to their needs and questioning my abilities as they grow is not a bad thing.
Self judgement is not unhealthy. In my opinion it is an integral part of parenting.