As a perfectionist it is difficult to have delusions of adequacy. I aspire to have delusions of adequacy.
There is a running theme in my writing and that is whether I'm a good enough mother. I know that by caring enough about my children to question my parenting clearly demonstrates that I'm not a terrible mother.
I can't shake this nagging feeling that everyone else is better at it than me.
I want to relax and let go of my control freak tendencies, but they've been with me for years. They helped me in my accounting career, but they're no use to me now I'm a stay at home mum. Young children are unpredictable. In fact the only thing that you can be sure of is that they are their own people. They aren't compliant robots. Their personalities are bursting to get out and develop along side speech and motor skills.
My job is to provide a safe and loving environment where they can bloom. Am I doing this when I'm rolling my eyes and screaming with exasperation when Cash tips over his drink deliberately again? Does it matter if I have to change his clothes again? I know it doesn't, but at the time it's infuriating.
I try to chose my battles. There are some issues where I will not compromise and my word is law. If we're in the front garden and they step one milimetre beyond the missing gate we immediately go back inside. If they throw a toy it gets taken away. Mostly I try to let them do their own thing. They are 'good' children. They are polite, caring and so so sweet, but of course, they have their moments.
This week I gave them some chalks for their blackboard. Presley, 3, accidentally broke a few. Cash, 2, systematically broke each one he picked up. I told him that if he continued I would stop him. He continued. My normally easy-going little boy was being naughty. I wasn't sure what to do. I picked him up and sat him on my lap and explained that what he had done was wrong, we had to look after our things. He cried and said he wanted to play with the chalks. I cobbled together some brand new discipline technique (partly inspired by Supernanny) and told him he had to sit on my knee for two minutes, say sorry and then he could carry on playing.
We don't have a naughty step, we haven't needed one (although when we had a playpen it was called 'the pen' at times). I thought the two minutes would be up and that would be that. Oh no. Cash totally surprised me by stubbornly refusing to say sorry. FOR 75 MINUTES.
You know when you start something and it seems like a good idea, then you realise it was a hopeless idea, but can't back down? That's where I was this week. Presley was apologising on his brother's behalf, bless him. I ended the stand-off, or should I say sit-off, by putting Cash in his booster seat to eat the tea I hadn't yet made. The boys had a hastily thrown together cold salad instead of the planned hot meal.
So you see, I feel like a failure, a ridiculous failure. Nowhere near adequate.
Who knew that looking after children was so difficult sometimes? I didn't, but of course I wouldn't change them for the world. Especially not when they play at going shopping wearing hats and Mummy's shoes.