Friday, 25 August 2017

10 Ways I'm #RockingMotherhood

I'm 3 children and 4 years into motherhood.

As you can imagine, those 4 years have been a whirlwind of morning sickness, SPD, newborn hazy days, sleepless nights, doctor trips, mystery rashes, sibling bonding, sibling rivalry, birthdays, bump photos, calpol, bottles, nipple shields, nappies, play dates, a million and a half "firsts" and everything else in between...

Life is always busy. There is always something to do. There is always someone who needs me for something. It can be overwhelming at times.

It's not often that I get the opportunity to just stop, press the pause button on life for a moment or two, sit and just take it all in...take stock of the last 4 years...but when I do, I feel a bit astounded to think of everything that has happened - of how many new little people we've welcomed into this home, of how quickly we went from just the two of us, to a family of 3, to 4, and now to 5.

I think it really hit me when Sailor turned 1 - every parent says their child's first year went quickly, but in his case I honestly feel confused about where the time went. One moment I was laying in my hospital bed cradling my tiniest newborn son in my arms, and the next moment here we are - he's a whole 15 months old, he's walking around on his own, saying first words and becoming a little boy right in front of my eyes.

Of course, as most mothers say when this happens, I don't feel ready for any of it. I want him to just stop for a moment, to just stay a baby a little bit longer...because who knows, he could very well be our last.

When you look back over your time as a mother, it's easy to focus only on the children and how much they have changed and grown - because they are your focus in life now, they are what it's all about.

But do you ever stop to look at how much you have changed and grown since you became a mother? Do you ever stop to look at and celebrate all of your own achievements?

It's so easy to be worn down with feelings of guilt, of not being enough, of being consumed with worries about doing it all wrong - when actually, there is so much that all of us are getting right every single day. And if only we stopped to celebrate those things a little bit more, who knows how much better we might feel about ourselves.

And so that's why, when I was tagged (MONTHS ago...) to take part in the #RockingMotherhood challenge, I was delighted to (eventually) take 5 minutes to sit down and put that mummy guilt aside for a moment - and just focus on the good things. On the reasons why I think that actually...mummy guilt aside, I'm doing a decent job of raising these 3 boys of mine.

So, here they are..10 reasons why I think I'm doing a good job as a mother.

1. I am proud to be raising my children in an environment of tolerance and acceptance, where they are free to be exactly who they are with no expectations placed on them

Our household is very neutral when it comes to gender roles (I am the working parent and my partner is the stay at home dad), I am always very cautious not to use stereotypes or words that exclude anybody when talking to the children about relationships and families or people in general, and I try to make sure that they are exposed to people from all walks of life, of all sexual orientations, colours, religions and so on as much as possible. It is so important to me that my children grow up to be tolerant and loving people.

2. I am proud to be a loving and affectionate mother

I never send the children to bed without a hug and kiss, and always tell them that I love them. I am very tactile with the children and they are, at the moment, very affectionate themselves.

3. I am proud to have stuck to my own beliefs and ideals around parenting

In my own family my beliefs can be seen as a bit "hippy dippy" sometimes, but they are important to me and I have stuck by them. We don't and never have followed a strict routine, I answer my children honestly whenever they ask me anything (recently this has included telling my 3 year old about where meat comes from and how we get it, which has drawn a lot of raised eyebrows but I do not want to lie to him about it) and I have never smacked them - these ways of parenting are a bit different to those around me but I have stuck to my guns and stuck with my own values.

4. I try really hard to come up with fun activities and days out for them

Whenever I have a free moment, I always have a look on Pinterest for craft or play ideas for the kids and I try to set out an interesting activity for them often. The former nursery nurse in me loves an excuse to try out some new kind of messy play idea or do some baking! Much to Jons dismay! Don't get me wrong, I don't do this every day - and in fact I beat myself up about not doing it "enough" but really...who's to say what is enough?! I try my best, and if I'm not planning activities then I am planning days out or other treats for them. They are always the focus of my attention.

5) I treat the kids with respect 

Although I know that they are my children and I ultimately have the final say over things, I always try not to live in too much of a dictatorship and like to explain the reasons for decisions and choices we make to them. I try not to belittle them in front of others (or at all), and I always try to ask them about their feelings.

6) I encourage them

I always take the time to stop and listen to what they are saying and show my interest in it, I encourage their interests and try to help them learn more about things they like even if it doesn't interest me personally.

7) I am taking the time to work on my mental health and anxiety for my childrens sake

It would be easy for me to try to brush it all under the carpet, but I don't want to allow my own personal demons to impact on their lives or on my mothering and so I am working hard to try and iron out my issues for their sake, so that I can be the best mother I can be for them.

8) I don't feel the need to spout my motherhood ideals all over Facebook to feel like I'm doing it right 

Not directly related to raising the children perhaps, but I am proud that I am confident enough in my decisions about the children and how we raise them to not need to constantly share articles backing up my beliefs or pouring scorn on other peoples. So many people seem to feel the need to do this and honestly? It drives me crazy. I may have a blog that sees me talk about parenting a lot, but I try never to push my opinions on raising children onto other people - we all do this motherhood thing in our way and what works for us may not work for the next person, so why feel the need to push your way onto everybody else?!

9) I make sure that I laugh with the children every day

Ever since my second child came along and the "mummy guilt" really kicked in, it has been my mantra that no matter how difficult the day has been, that as long as I laugh with each of the kids at least once that day -it's all good. It doesn't need to be anything big, just a simple tickle before bed is all it takes - and their giggles are so infectious that it makes me laugh without fail too, which always lifts my spirits no matter how hard the day has been. Laughter is the best medicine, always.

10) I worry about being a good mum 

I try my best, and everything I do is pretty much always for the kids, but still I worry about whether I'm getting it right or doing enough. And I think I always will. And I think that having that worry probably means that I am good enough.


These are the ways that work for me when it comes to raising a young family, but I also respect other peoples right to raise their own children as they see fit and would never question anybody's approach - these ways simply work for us and our family.

I was nominated for the #RockingMotherhood tag by the inspiring and ever-so-lovely What My Fridge Says, and  the original idea for the tag came from Patricia at White Camellias who wanted to focus on the small but great things mother do right day after day.

I tag Alex, Liza, Kerry & Fiona to join in too!

The rules,  if you want to join in, are…

Thank the blogger who nominated you
List 10 things you believe make you a good mother (this is just a guideline, it can be more or less than 10 – it really doesn’t matter)
Tag 3-5 bloggers to join in the #RockingMotherhood tag.
Youcan also tag @whitecamellias for her to have a read and she’ll even RT for you.

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