Monday, 10 February 2014

Oof…..that hurt! Parenting an undercover agent.

It is something that fellow parents and I often marvel at, the age old question- What on earth did we do with all our time before we had kids? The answer is probably drink red wine next to a cosy fire place in the pub, read the paper even the boring sports part, finish whole conversations and stay in bed. The last part is most likely one of the reasons we became parents in the first place so all of you who are yet to embark on this journey- BEWARE!

My children know me better than any other human alive. I cannot fool them for a moment. I am not surprised they know so much about me considering they have stalked me all their lives! When they were little they would spy on me all day even following me to the loo. Kids would make great MI5 agents. Firstly, you can never lose them when you know you are being followed. They can find you anywhere in the house, even if you are hiding in the cupboard under the stairs with the tin of Quality Streets. That’s brings me to their next talent, working out what you have been up to without needing to interrogate you. How often have my kids just come and stood next to me and said, ‘I smell chocolate, can I have some?’  How do they know! They never notice important things like having to step over the pile of dirty clothes on the bedroom floor! And kids never crack during an interrogation! They will never admit they started the fight or ate the brownies no matter how much pressure you apply. They are strong, kids are!

I am privileged to spend lots of time with young mums with the work I do. I can honestly say that some of the best mothers I have ever met have been young. When I first became a mum, I could barely leave the house with my clothes on the right way round. I was probably too busy fretting about the babies sleep routine and whether the food I was going to give her whilst out was freshly cooked from scratch using an Anabel Karmel recipe. I had read the books, watched the DVD’s and I was not going to be defeated by a small human! The young mums I know don’t have time for that nonsense. They have school work to finish, university lectures to attend, seminars to run to. They do all this whilst sterilising bottles, dressing stroppy toddlers and wiping snotty noses. And do you know what? I hardly ever hear them complain.

One thing I tell the young mums all the time is to enjoy the babies whilst they are little. I am not entirely sure why I spent so much time wishing my baby would walk, as soon as she could, she ran everywhere and not always in the direction I needed to go. And then I worked and worked on her vocabulary so that she could talk. Then she started saying ‘No!’ to every request I made. But most of all, a teenager has had 13 years of spying on me in the disguise of a sweet, innocent child. Now she can bring out the big guns! Now she reflects back to me all the things I have spent 40 years trying to ignore! My laziness, my untidiness, my short temper, my impatience, my unhealthy habits! Oof… that hurts! Grrrrr I would prefer to put my head back in the sand!

But that is just the point isn’t it? Having the girls and allowing them to show me where I could do with some tweaking is such an honour. I can choose to put my head in the sand and ignore it all. Or I can take a long hard look at myself and begin to change those bits that need changing. And I can take a leaf out of the book of the young mums. Stop over analysing things, trying to fix it all and just enjoy the time I have with the girls. At least now that I have worked out they are undercover agents, I know to hide the chocolate in a more secure location!

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