I Was The Perfect Parent, Until I Became One... by Rebecca Jacobson
I love that saying! Yes, we all know someone who has that perfect parenting advice but isn’t a parent. Someone who knows exactly how they will be when they have their own children. Maybe they have had great experience with other people’s children, or maybe very little at all, either way they know who is boss and how to react if a child was to misbehave. I am not talking about those people with children, who like to judge instead of encourage or support other parents, but the childless person who has, well, great expectations.
Yes, I was one of those people. I had it all figured out, it would be quite simple really. I would make only healthy food for my children, and they would eat it with great joy. I would not allow them to watch television very often, if at all, let alone look at an iPad. My children would listen to me as the voice of reason, and never go against my rules or would be lovingly but firmly disciplined. Call it delusional, or call it wishful thinking, either way my intentions were good but just way off the mark.
When I had my daughter, she was one of those non-sleepers. The kind who love to spend every moment awake (just to spend time with you), or when they did sleep it was for a very short period of time. She, had things to do and places to be! Through my exhaustion and hormonal state, reality kicked in pretty quickly and I realised that this was the toughest thing I had ever done!
All those years of working in television, feeling stressed, trying to meet deadlines or dealing with clients who had to have everything done then and there. Studying, working full time and looking after family on weekends, suddenly became like one of those dreams with the heavenly music playing in the background while running through a field of flowers. Okay, maybe not quite, but you get my point.
No amount of preparation can have you ready for the type of experience you will have as a parent. I now understand the teary-eyed Mums who would come into work upset, that they had dropped their child at day-care. My advice then? I know it’s hard but they will love it, it’s great for them to have time socialising. Ha! Now? I know it’s hard, it feels like your heart has been ripped out, especially those first few weeks when you are both getting used to the situation, maybe you should go pick them up, now!
I feel that now, as a Mum, I have such a better understanding of women in general. I have made some incredible friendships that will last a lifetime, I really appreciate my Mum so much more for all those little things she did and still does. I admire my sister, who raised two little children for the most part on her own and all the women and men who have given their all to raising their children.
Of course, I am still in the early years with my one and two-year-old but I now know that sometimes, anything goes. My daughter for example has to have a gown or dress on for bed each night. At first, I would say “no, here are your pyjamas, you can’t wear that to bed”. Now, I pick my battles knowing it’s not the end of the world if she wants to be a princess or wear an outfit with a giant flower on the shoulder or maybe throw on a hat for the night....
Rebecca is a Registered Nutritionist, owner of Live Well Nutritional Medicine and busy Mum of three. Her blog shares healthy tips, recipes, her favourite health, wellness and beauty products, along with her experiences as a Mum. Rebecca offers healthy, realistic and practical tips for you and your family.