I’m so fed up at the minute. There, I said it. Lately, this whole mum thing has been really challenging for me and it just feels like I have been diffusing one child related drama after another, leaving no time for me to relax and actually enjoy time with my kids. Parenting kids of all ages is hard I am sure but looking after a very feisty four year old and an extremely clingy baby is exhausting. I have got serious mama fatigue and when you’re tired everything just feels a million times worse, doesn’t it?
The kids wake up early and by 8pm every night I’m asleep on the sofa and then when my husband drags me up to bed I lay awake unable to sleep, thoughts shouting and swirling around in my brain. I have noticed recently that I am having trouble letting things go, forgetting about some judgement I have felt in the day or forgetting to just accept we are in the thick of yet another difficult phase with the kids and that this too shall pass. If I want to work my way out of this tough patch we are going through and be a more positive parent then I need to start channelling my inner Elsa: I need to learn to let things go.
Do you find yourself regurgitating things that have gone wrong in your day and just beat yourself up about it? Do you torture yourself with the judgement you have felt from others instead of just letting their ignorance and hurtful remarks fly past you without a second thought? Do you wish you were a happier mum for your kids and a happier person in general? If you answered yes to even just one of the above then, like me, it’s time for you to be more Elsa; let’s learn to let things go and become more positive and happy parents together – we got this!
Why I’m learning to be more Elsa – my mission to become a more positive parent
After living with crippling mum guilt (what a dick, right?) for over four years now and having it magnified significantly since Alex arrived last year, I have decided that enough is enough. I am sick and tired of feeling guilty over every little thing I do. It is hard to admit this but most of my time with my kids is tarnished by that stupid voice in my head making me feel guilty and question everything I do, ‘he shouldn’t watch tv this much you know’ , ‘Letting the baby chuck his tea everywhere again, shame on you he needs to eat a healthy balanced diet’, ‘ Snuck upstairs for 5minutes to answer an important email instead of playing with the kids? Well what an awful mum you are!’. I am so tired of it, this horrible inner voice that seems to love nothing more than making me feel like a terrible mother. I hate mum guilt, it drags my mood down and makes me so upset sometimes. If I want to be a happier and more positive parent I need to start by being kinder to myself, reminding myself of all the great things I do for my boys every day instead of focusing on the things I don’t and dwelling on them. So, the first step on our mission to becoming more positive parents is to say bye bye to the mum, guilt, it serves us no good whatsoever and belongs in the bin. Let it go!
If I want to be more positive then I also need to start accepting that sometimes being a mum is hard work and our children can not be little darlings all the time. Our kids are not mini robots, they are tiny human beings who are not programmed to just do everything we tell them. Leo is going through a particularly defiant stage at the moment and some days with him are just horrible. He won’t do a single thing I ask, he’s rude to me, he’s purposefully naughty and he seems to enjoy my frustration with him. This stream of bad behaviour has really been getting to me, I don’t recognise him half the time and I spend a lot of time feeling like he actively dislikes me.
These negative thoughts are not helpful for anyone involved and instead of being all woe is me and wasting time feeling miserable about our situation, I need to put that time to better use and come up with a plan. I need to carve some time out of my day to spend more one on one time with Leo, to try and talk through these behaviours with him and see if I can find out what he’s thinking. Instead of wanting to just sit and cry into my cuppa every evening, maybe I need to buy myself a book on the mind of a four year old, a gentle parenting book or just binge watch super nanny to find some answers. What I’m doing now, getting upset and feeling like I’ve made a major parenting cock up and that’s why he’s behaving this way is not going to get us to a happier place. If you too are feeling like a rubbish parent because of your child’s behaviour then it’s time to ditch the negativity and start making a plan. The whole ‘woe is me’ thing? Let it go!
It can’t be all baking biscuits in the kitchen, long family walks and giggles on the sofa all the time. I think it was my sister who reminded me when I was struggled with post natal depression that just making it through each day with small children is an achievement. Before we have kids we are full of all these misguided expectations that it’s going to be all perfect and rosy all of the time and that we are going to love every single moment when, in reality, this isn’t the case at all.
It links back to the mum guilt thing, if we have a rubbish day and the kids have run feral around the house we end up feeling bad for not taking them out, for having a lazy day instead of having a picture perfect family day out, doing crafts, baking cakes or whatever. Really, all of those little things that shape your kids childhood are important but what is the most important thing and the thing they will remember the most as adults is being happy as a family. If you are constantly comparing your family life to others, always feeling guilty over little things and wishing you were doing things differently then you’re never going to be truly happy.
Parenting is hard work, don’t get me wrong it is full of amazing moments too but unless you’re supermum (spoiler alert: she doesn’t exist) then life with kids is not going to be perfect every minute of every day. The final step on our mission to becoming more positive and happy parents? Take those unrealistic expectations and totally unachievable goals of family life perfection and, you guessed it, let it goo!
So, if we all just started to be more Elsa and let go of all the negative talk we torture ourselves with every day then we can become the happy and positive parents we want to be. It’s hard, I’m not saying it’s a quick fix and I’m only now starting to implement this more positive outlook in to my own life as a mum but I am so confident that by letting go of all the bad things I will finally be able to feel happier and more content as a parent to my boys,
And remember, whenever something is getting you down and trying to kill your positive buzz, Elsa is always ready for a sing song to help you through.
Do you feel like you are holding on to a lot of negative thoughts now you’re a parent? Do you wish you could be more Elsa and let things go? I’m excited to stick on this path to becoming a more positive parent and hoping that by making this simple change and no longer letting bad thoughts get me down that I can become a much happier mum. I would love to hear your thoughts on this.