I read an article recently about the rise of 'performative' or Pinterest parenting on social media and the pressure to get it right all the time. I have chosen to share some of my life on social media. I share the good bits, I share the funny bits, but I probably don't share the bad or tough bits enough, probably because I want people to think I have it together. The truth is, I don't. I have shared plenty of images, like the one below. The smiles was real. The moment was real. However, by me choosing to share this image, and not an image of the very tired toddler who cried the whole way through pumpkin carving and the very stressed out mum who could not get to the car quick enough, I am only showing my best side. It is one moment in a filtered reality. My parenting life, however, is more trial and error. It is fuzzy. It is imperfect. It is messy. It is chaotic.
Although, parents have began to share their parenting fails in a hue of humour online, I think it is important to remember that 'fails,' can be funny, but they happen because, as moms and dads, we are not supposed to be perfect. In light of this, I started to think about all those moments that I was not as fast as usual to swipe into portrait mode (and believe me, they account for 70 - 80 % of my parenthood existence)
My Biggest Parenting Fails To Date
1. No bedtime routine
My second born has a wonderful bedtime routine and goes down to sleep calmly, soundly and sweetly. She usually sleeps straight through and is pretty much the dream baby in that department. My first born however, is five years old and is still in our room. The bed to space ratio in the room now resembles one of those overcrowded, overcharged rentals in Dublin City Centre! Hands are up for total failure there - we were so in love and so blind to the future when she first arrived, that she never knew her own room! Eviction notice has been handed over yet again. Wish us luck!
2. Screen time over quality time
While scrolling through Instagram, my daughter said to me 'Mom, when you are finished on your phone, can you help me build my Lego coffee machine?" I straight away put my phone down. What I got from that question was she thought my phone was my priority. This was a fail that really got me in the feels. In this tech savy world, everyone is constantly swiping and scrolling. Google is our new GP, guidance counsellor, handyman and stylist. My right thumb definitely gets more of a daily workout than my left. I have used my phone as a babysitter. I know I spend too much time with it in my hand. This is a fail that I am very conscious of. I want to build more Lego coffee machines!
3. Forgot pick up day
It was a Wednesday. I had a long in work. I was so happy the day was over. I stopped for diesel and set off home. I heard my phone vibrating on the seat next to me. I caught a glimpse of the caller on the screen. It was my daughter's dance teacher. It was that moment that my heart plummeted to the pit of my stomach. I looked at the time and felt sick. I was not just late collecting her, but I had forgotten I was even supposed to. Luckily I was only five minutes away and all was ok but it gave me a kick to get more organised. Some parents can get through the week of appointments, drop offs and collections seamlessly and without a stray hair in sight. I, however, need a visual schedules, paper reminders, digital alarms and I still arrive late with a baby fuzz fringe in static stress bounce mode!
So, as you scroll through the daily parenting performances online, remember your ticket is just to view the best bits. Even if the out takes are shown, they are well hidden and easily missed. Parenting is not a perfect performance. The bloopers are the best parts. I think we need to show them more.
If you would like to read the full article I have referenced, read it here "Pinterest Parenting: How millennials are facing overwhelming pressure to be perfect parents."
Spooky season is upon is and Halloween is creeping up slowly. Other than Christmas, Halloween has always been my personal favourite holiday - any reason to go out with back combed hair and a full face of Snazaroo (without a second glance from anyone). It's also the only reason I had children really - duo character costumes! Joke - not the only reason. However, I cannot deny we think A LOT about our costumes. In tradition, I have been doing my annual Pinteresting on the subject, and I have pulled together some of the best sibling costumes out there, just in case you need some inspiration for the ghoulish festivities ahead.
17 Of The Best Duo Costumes For Kids
Which is your favourite?
If you would have told me this time last year that I would be back living with my parents, along with my own family, I would probably have chuckled with disbelief and then booked a family ticket to...well, anywhere. I have moved home quite a few times in my life, but I did not think I would be back again with my own kids, yet here we are - taking over my mother's house with more laundry and play doh than she can shake her paint brush at. The decision was a tough one, but it was one for a greater good - our own home. And this is something that, unfortunately, we most definitely would not achieve before our retirements if we stayed renting and living in the Dublin area.
Having the opportunity to save like this is something I am very appreciative of. When we first moved in, I was very conscious about making the kids feel at home, but also, not SO at home that my own parents felt they were out of one!
So for anyone about to embark on a similar move, here is what I have learnt....
What NOT to do moving back in with your parents (with a family of your own!)
1. Don't unpack everything at once
It was only on moving day that I realised just how little my poor mother thought we had. The vast amount of 'stuff' and boxes even overwhelmed me when I saw it all on the moving truck, Keeping in mind your parents will have years and years of 'stuff' kept themselves, space is an issue - it is base camp after all. Unpack the essentials, and do the rest in intervals so as to avoid anyone feeling the crunch.
2. Don't move in without setting expectations
It is a good idea to work out as much logistics as you can early on - bills, dinner time, shopping, etc. Of course, as soon as new routines start to happen, different things will arise and change, but at least you have something to work from.
3. Don't complain about storage
As an adult and parent, I have accumulated quite a lot over the years - some is of daily importance, some is seasonal, and some is purely for that one time you might need a box of velcro and empty egg cartons! Either way, storage has always been a sought after feature in any house I have lived in, and moving in with the mother of hoarding (aka my mother), every nook and cranny is bursting with her 'velcro' - interiors magazines, clothes, books, antiques. It is important to always remember, it may be our LEGO scattered around the carpet but we are guests. Any excuse for a trip to IKEA for storage shopping!
4. Don't slack off
We all love those weekend/Christmas visits home, where the fridge is always full, the dinner is always made, the fire is always lighting and they always know when to make tea! When we moved in, I was very conscious of 'overdoing' things. I wanted to let them know we were our own entity, pulled our weight and we were not just adding to the daily grind, but hopefully lessening it. See what needs to be done, do it, and do it first.
5. Don't forget they are parents too
It is a funny dynamic - two generations of parents under one roof, and it is only when the situation occurs that both parenting ideals and styles come head to head. Personally, I think it is impossible for there to be no overlap (currently our overlap is at 3am on the stairs each night when I have to whisht my mother away if there is even a mumbled cry - just stay in your room!) It is definitely a learning curve, but I have to remember that they are parents too, and were before I was. There will be times you spot them underhand a cupcake you said no to earlier and times they make you feel like your children are the coldest, most hungry toddlers in Munster. For that one time I need to breath and count to ten, there are ten other times they swoop in and take over when I'm loosing my mommy cool.
6. Don't forget they are YOUR parents
You may be an adult, you may have your own family, you may be a tax paying member of society, but they are still your parents and you are living under their roof. so house rules apply. I am all for the circular economy and recycle/reuse, but sponge scrubbers are only 60c per packet in Aldi, do we really have to put them in the washing machine?! How and ever - I will comply - 60 degree wash - check!
7. Don't stay out of the way too much
Before we moved in, my parents loved when we came to visit. The house would get much louder and a lot messier, but the kids always brought life and laughter with them. Being here all the time has brought this atmosphere to stay. We may log heads about leaving lights on and doors open, but I am looking on this chapter, not only as a time to save, but an opportunity - an opportunity to make some very special memories. Rather than trying to stay out of their way all the time, make the time to talk and to chat. Take out the camera and capture those moments - when Grandad is outside carving their names into the tree, when Nana is on her knees helping them make a tent, when you all join the kids performing to the Greatest Showman on the kitchen tiles. Everyone may have their own agenda and their own routine, but why not welcome a new one?
"The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it. move with with it and join the dance." - Alan W. Watts
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