I am not the parent I planned to be (and that’s OK)

Routine “a fixed way of doing things”

Before my daughter was born I was a Supernanny obsessive.  I loved her clear and precise routines, I loved her no nonsense care and her uncompromising standards.

As a teacher I liked the discipline and the way that she does not have to shout to gain control.

I had idealised views about life as a parent, but not in the way that many do.  I knew I wouldn’t get much sleep, I knew that things would be harder than I could imagine, I knew that I would cry, but I knew it would all be worth it. I also felt, that my experience as a teacher, and my understanding of routine, systems and disciplines, would make it easy to maintain order in my life and that I would easily nip any “bad” behaviour in the bud.

There was something I didn’t count on.

My love for my daughter.

Maternal instinct is strong, and for me it has completely taken over.

I am not the parent I planned to be.

THANK GOODNESS FOR THAT!

I tried to have a routine, I really did. I set alarms and wrote it all down. I did everything it took to get baby to sleep at the designated time and I fed her by the clock.

We lasted less than 48 hours.

There was one simple thing that caused my failure. My daughter.

Apparently no one notified my 3 month old of the things she should have been doing at this time. Nobody told her that she needed to sleep for 2 hours before feeding for 20 minutes and she certainly hadn’t listened when she was informed that she wasn’t supposed to need a nappy change until 11am.

My 3 month instead chose to stare at my face and gurgle up at me. She chose to feed for hours on end and smile as she stared into my eyes. She chose to be a baby. To follow her own natural cycle in life and not a system created by a woman she had never met in a book that she could not yet read.

Some might say it was my responsibility to teach her. That as her mother I should have helped her learn that when she is put in her cot she must sleep. That I should have taken her off the breast after 20 minutes so that she learnt to fit to my timescale. As her mother I chose to teach her something else. I chose to teach her that I love her, and that I will protect her and support her no matter what.

The mummy me laughs ay my pre parent self. I thought I knew what was coming- I didn’t have a clue. I was totally ready for the lack of sleep and the dirty nappies but I was unprepared for the love. The love changed everything.

I don’t pretend to be an expert on attachment (although I have had attachment training in my professional life), but I do know this: You can not love a child too much.

I will never leave my daughter to cry. If I respond to her cries it will not spoilher, it will not teach her that her tears can manipulate me. It will teach her this: I am her mother and if she is sad I will help her to be happy again.

As she gets older this may require discussion, and I am sure my gentle and positive parenting plans will be challenged many a time. But I will always, without question, put her first.

I am not the parent I planned to be. I am better than that.

My thoughts on the quote “It is both a blessing and a curse to feel everything so very deeply.”

I saw that quote on Facebook.

I have since learnt that it is a poem by David Jones, (read about it here and the way in which these wise words have spread)

And it hit me- that’s my problem. Every single thing I feel is felt to the maximum.

And it really is true. A blessing and a curse.

When I am truly happy then I am full. Overflowing and face aching. When asked to think of a happy occasion, I think of my wedding day. I think of how my face hurt from smiling, I remember my husbands vows and feeling as if there was noone else in the world as he looked into my eyes. I remember feeling love. Love more than I had ever experienced. And feeling safe, knowing that whatever life throws at me, with my husband by my side I will survive.

Every second of that day was felt deeply. And what a blessing that is.
In contrast, when I feel sad, I feel empty, sadness consumes me and I am unable to focus on anything other than the sadness I feel. The negativity overtakes me. It forbids me from seeing the light, and stops me from hearing advice and kind words.

When I find myself in a black hole, it is deep. A true curse.

These are the emotions I am blessed to feel deeply.
Love
Pride

And the emotions that I am cursed to feel to the full.
Guilt
Worry
Paranoia
Jealously
Insignificance

I am saddened by the length of the lists.

EDIT JUNE 2014.
This post was huge amounts of traffic. I assume that this is people looking for information about the quote and not about me. I find this slightly embarrassing as this is not one of my strongest posts! If this applies to you and you have read this far, can I please urge you to have a read of some of my better posts?! In my opinion the 2 best are
To my daughter before you were created.
Mythbusting, Why I told the Facebook world about my Post Natal Depression.

The stacking cup on the stair.

image

Mess.
I’ve always had a talent for creating it, (luckily for me I married a man who seems to have a talent for cleaning it up) but having a daughter has brought a whole new meaning to the phrase organised chaos.

Where is…? Is a common question. The answer, however, is never common.

Where is my hairbrush?
In Noah’s Ark, with your other hairbrush. They went in two by two.

Where are my car keys?
Under the sofa- I wanted to see if they fitted.

Where is that half eaten biscuit?
Inside the radiator. Did you know that it fits perfectly through the grill at the top?

Where are my glasses?
Behind my back Mummy. I really love them so I am hiding them from you.

Where is your cup?
On the floor behind the sofa- I told you I wanted boob not water and you didn’t listen.

How did your stacking cup end up halfway up the stairs?
I took it up to have my nappy changed. I changed my mind halfway up.

How has the remote control ended up in your toybox?
You left it in reach Mummy, not my fault.

These are questions I have found the answer to. There are many many more that as yet remain unanswered. I choose just three for your entertainment.

Why does bathtime octopus keep moving?

How did my reusable breastpad end up in my marking pile?

How has the largest of the stacking rings disappeared from the face of the Earth?

The thing is. You see the biggest problem isn’t actually having a messy baby. It is being a messy person and having a messy baby.

I’s not just her mess. It’s my mess, plus her mess, plus the extra mess I create because I am too busy having fun and parenting to take time out to tidy. That makes for a whole lot of mess indeed.

And do you know what? I don’t care. I love the mess. I love what it represents.

I love that each carefully placed block or cup represents a smile from my darling girl.

Each abandoned book signifys a moment spent reading and the joy it bought her.

Each half eaten biscuit is a reminder that my angel is healthy and well.

Each hidden hairbrush shows that my daughter’s brain is developing, that she is now understanding in and on and under.

Each stacking cup strewn across the floor is a giggle, each bear is a memory and each item of clothing is a moment of happiness.

Thank you for the mess my darling. Thank you for opening my eyes to what really matters.

One small step for a toddler

One giant leap for my heart.

She’s walking. My darling girl is on the move. She took her first steps a week shy of 11 months and is now, at 11 months 2 weeks, running around the living room giggling.

What mix of emotions those first wobbly steps created.

Excitement
With every new milestone and achievement from my darling, comes a new rush of excitement. There is no joy I have found that can equal that which I feel when she laughs. And with each new discovery she glows. She laughs and she smiles. How exciting! I have a walking baby- and she is not yet 1!

Fear
My heart is walking around outside my body. I feel intensely vulnerable right now. With every step she takes she is at risk of hurting herself. This scares me.

Useless
This independence is just the start of my redundancy. (I realise this is a tad melodramatic) First she starts solid foods and doesn’t rely on me for 100% if her nutrition. Now she doesn’t need me to get about. What next?! Potty training?!

Regret
I am once again reminded that my baby is growing up. In fact, she is no longer a baby, she is a toddler. I am reminded of the time I failed her and all the things I did wrong in the early days and weeks. That time has gone and I will never get it back.

Pride
My baby is walking!!!