As corny as it may sound, I always felt I was born to be a parent.
Thankfully, nature was on my side in this matter. I am exulted to say that almost seven years, two kids, and one divorce later, the experience has not disappointed.
It has, however, tested my very mettle and at times pushed me beyond the realms of despair. Kids are jerks, make no mistake. My children have taught me much as a human being, including the surprising benefits of uttering profanities under my breath.
Parenting is not for the faint hearted, and I know that I balls it up each and every day. I just hope that the impending therapy bill for my progeny will be covered by what is likely to be a measly inheritance.
These are my most common mistakes.
1. Comparing my children with others
It is human nature to draw comparisons, but whoever coined the phrase “comparison is the thief of joy” was really not kidding themselves.
Comparing your children to others is pointless. Just as every snowflake is different, as are sproglets. Just because one child is able to recite Shakespeare, while the other is picking their ear and licking it does not necessarily mean this is what their future will look like.
Sometimes I look at other kids and feel smug about the capabilities of my own, and other times it’s the complete opposite.
Best let them be who they are, developing at their own perfect pace and pray that no one will be licking ear wax in public as adults.
2. Worrying I'm not doing a good enough job
I would like my children to grow up to be well-balanced, well-rounded, empathetic humans who never park their cars like dicks.
I wish I had more time to invest in them, and yet I get frustrated assisting with homework and participating in craft makes me twitchy.
I wish I never completely lost my cool and yelled until my neighbours’ windows shook.
These perceived parental flaws often make me wonder if I’m doing a good enough job, but really, what is good enough?
Perhaps everyone being fed, clothed, alive and fiercely loved is good enough and obsessing about being a spectacularly perfect mother is as detrimental to my kids as it is to me.
3. Wishing they'd stop pestering me
Kids are incessant beasts. Constant questions, feeding requirements and endless searching for lost shoes, missing socks, and all manner of child-sized accoutrement. Sometimes I find myself muttering “FFS” under my breath as the onslaught of neediness washes over me like a tidal wave.
The thing is, right now, my squirts think I’m an all-knowing, all-loving Goddess who holds the secrets to the Universe. Soon, they’ll inevitably think I’m just the lady who does the washing and drives the taxi.
Deep down under my frustration at not being able to pee in peace, I know I should relish these sweet days of being so completely needed and wanted, because soon no-one will anyone think I’m this amazing.
4. Underestimating the power of teaching by example
I’m always so invested in teaching my children through words and offering powerful life-lessons, which they no doubt translate to “blah, blah, blah, blah blah,” that I forget about the simplicity of teaching by example.
If I’m a mindful, polite, and kind human being in their presence then in theory that will rub off onto my children. Conversely, if I’m a selfish, angry lout who screams obscenities in traffic then that is also what they will ape as they become the next generation to rule the world. And push my wheelchair.
5. Threatening to make them get out of the car when they misbehave
Seriously, though, I never learn. They know without a shadow of a doubt that I will not make them get out and drive off leaving them to walk home. The first time I threatened it they were angels the whole rest of the ride.
The next time the threat had lost some of its power so I actually pulled over to the side of the road but I did not follow through with my actions, and they saw it in my eyes. I had been made.
Now they know they own me. Jerks.
Delicious, delightful, adorable jerks.