“A happy family is but an earlier heaven.”
– John Bowring
“This is the day we give babies away with a half a pound of tea. If you know any ladies who might like some babies, just send them round to me.
This lullaby saved me. It was the Dirty Little Secrets of Otherwise Perfect Mums of the late 1800’s. (Ok, so there is the notion that this was sung by sailors to single ladies but I prefer the mum to baby theory.)
Parenting is complete chaos and imperfection, lost tempers and guilty cheats, and loving my kids even when I’d love to give them away. The words to this lullaby taught me that not only was I not alone in the overwhelming cocktail of frustration, exhaustion, and love of being a new mother, but that even a hundred years ago and half way across the world, women living completely different lives felt the same way as me. Motherhood is a universal language.
“I tell my kids I have to go potty but in reality I lock myself in the bathroom so I can sit on the edge of the tub and read a magazine article.” – Anonymous
“My husband has no idea how much television our kids really watch.” – Anonymous
Realistic goals are the first step to success so I ‘planned’ a good parenting day that started off with a leisurely breakfast of fruit, pancakes, smiles and jokes after our ten minute wake up meditation session… off to school and work followed by afternoon adventures in the sunshine, a group effort to create an evening meal and then snuggle up couch time to watch an episode of a show… all of this rounded out with a story and a warm mug of milk and hugs.
The day dawned and my son had earned himself no tv or video games by neglecting his chores the day before and I had forgotten about an appointment that would cut into afternoon adventure and the fact that I had to pack for a weekend away which started at 5 am the next day. As the perfect day for good parenting was blown, I decided to change my happiness task.
We had a rushed morning. My son left the house in a huff because I was sticking to my no tv consequence. By the time I got home I had to throw a insto-supper together, pack, make sure the kids were organized for getting themselves to school without me and do laundry. My daughter and I watched tv and my son kept coming into the living room to ask questions about the chore he was supposed to be doing while I pretended not to notice that he was actually watching the show.
His chores got done but I had hours of stuff to do before bed so when I was asked to read a story (it’s a habit we have never got out of since we started it a hundred years ago), I had every right to say, “tonight we will skip it”. And I did. Today wasn’t officially ‘good parenting’ day anyway.
Then I remembered… a good parent lives with complete chaos and imperfection, lost tempers and guilty cheats, and loves her kids even when she’d love to give them away. I decided I was going to be tired the next day regardless. I decided I wanted to read the story as well. I decided there are days I really don’t have time to read a story. I decided today was not one of them.
I got my daughter out of bed and we snuck into my son’s room to snuggle up for story time. The story sparked a conversation which led to fits of giggles and a perfect mental picture moment.
A few hours later I curled up in bed with a nice cup of tea.
PS Update: If you’d like to know how to incorporate story time into creative fitness for and your child, check out Imaginaction
So…it has come to this !
“I used to skip over parts of the bedtime story when the kids were younger to speed it up.” – me
Rating: Good parenting day (8 out of 10)
- Itchy feet – 3 out of 5 (I knew it couldn’t be what I had planned)
- Twitch – my kids have verified its existence
- Happy hour – 5 out of 5 (self-explanatory)
What the heck does all that mean, you ask? Read Itchy Feet Explained.
Tomorrow: Take a poll. Use the calendar to view my happiness tasks for each day along with a brief description of the task and why I chose it.
- How to Engage Kids in Chores (bostonmamas.com)