If you haven't already read Pt 1 of this post thread, please check it out Confessions of a finest mum - Pt 1 first before you carry on. Thank you
And then there were 5
I went on to have 4 more babies. As I write this my youngest is 4, I have a 5 year old and 10 year old twins. I am still a big believer of routines and though my babies aren’t babies any more I believe children (and adults) thrive on routines and boundaries so that you can create space for spontaneity. How many of you have heard the saying “give a boy a hammer and the whole world looks like a nail”? Well, I became a slave to my routine. If my kids needed a longer kiss and cuddle at bed time- I would give as brief a hug and kiss as I could, just so we could stay on schedule.
The routine takeover
Everything was now about the routine/schedule. I had stopped looking at my wonderful tribe of people as people but rather as jobs to be done, projects to be completed! I began to wonder why I wasn’t feeling satisfied in my mama role. Why when my kids came to me with queries (that were not on the schedule), or fights they had, I would get so annoyed and seriously irritated. I just wanted these kids to fall in line, and just do as the schedule set out!
Bye bye fun
Frustration, anger and disappointment moved in and fun, jokes, laughter moved out. This went on for a while, a long while. I would try to tighten the routine, increase the discipline but my kids thwarted me at every turn. They weren’t being bad, they were just being kids. They wanted my time and attention, they wanted my love, they wanted me. It took me a while to realise what they were asking for, (I can be a little slow on the uptake but given time I will get there). I was reading all the books and blogs on getting your children to listen, but I just ended up more frustrated. I was determined however, to find my solution.
Fun dad vs boring mum
It wasn’t until I heard one of my kids say “Abba brings all the fun, mum is just boring”, that it really hit home. I took a long hard look at myself and thought, "well yes I am boring". All I ever talk about is homework, piano practice and tell my kids "don’t run", "don’t shout". It was almost as if I was saying, "please don’t have fun- it’s not on the schedule!" My husband was more fun, he would pick them up and throw them on the sofa and tickle them till they were nearly sick. They would play fight (which pretty much always ended in tears), but the joy on all of their faces in that moment was indescribable. My husband would wear a tiara on the school run, just because our daughter asked him to. He was the FUN parent! And I was the SAFE, BORING parent.
Balance is good (actually it's very good)
I desperately wanted to be fun too, but my kids needed something different from me. From their dad they learnt to be daring, from me they’ve learnt to be gentle and that’s ok. Too much of either and you’re not well balanced. However with enough of each you’ve got enough doing to face the day, and enough caring to not step on people around you as you move forward. I read somewhere that the most important thing I could give my family was my unconditional love. I strongly believe that, and one of those most important things I can do is to show them that I am happily living my life to the full. So, while I still have my general routine, (this girl needs to know where she is in the day), I’m no longer a slave to my schedule. My tribe’s resting place - our home - is their safe haven. It’s where they get to just BE.
My key takeaway lessons
I've learnt and continue to learn that it's okay to do me. And it is okay to let my children do them. I am working at letting go of the reins (not totally as they are still young and need guidance), but they are not stubborn mules to be controlled by bits in their mouths. I want to nurture and strengthen their hearts. That is the most precious resource - their hearts. When they are whole and free, its the most beautiful thing in the world. In fact I would go so far as to say it is glorious, and I'm so thrilled I get to be a part of molding and shaping the precious hearts of my tribe.
What did you think of Brenda's confessions? If you've enjoyed reading it, or have a view on it please leave us a comment.
In closing - Africanfinestmums
The journey of motherhood is so similar yet distinctively unique to everyone who goes through it. There's great power in sharing our stories as they remind us of the dips and heights of the journey, and the strength that emerges from living through them. It also reminds us that we're not alone as it's likely that someone else in a different corner of the world is going through exactly the same thing you're going through in that same moment. Amazing isn't it, it's a world community. Thanks Brenda for sharing your story with us.
Don't forget if you'd like to share/feature your mum story on this blog, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org