Always Running Late

Since becoming a mum my punctuality is mostly appalling. As my children get older my punctuality gets worse, well I say ‘my’ but I’m never the reason we are late, my two rascals are.

Sometimes there are genuine reasons for our lateness; kids with a fever, nappy changes, sleeping through the alarm, power cuts etc. But most of the time there are not so genuine reasons that make me late. I refer to these as not so genuine but in actual fact they are genuine, they’re just not deemed acceptable by people without children.

I have hundreds of examples of why we run late, but I’ve hand picked the reoccurring ones for this post;

One child needs an emergency poop

One child doesn’t quite make it to the toilet

One child has a meltdown because his brother has eaten cheesy crisps “He stinks! I’m not getting in tthe car with him. I want him to stay home!”

One child refuses point blank to brush his teeth and face plants the floor, causing an emotional break down.

One child grabs the post from the doormat. The other child wanted to first. A fist fight occurs.

One child wants a custard cream. We don’t have any custard creams. He will not believe me.

One child throws cheerios at the other. Both boys fight. Two changes of clothes needed.

One child won’t get in the car. It’s too hot. Full blown tantrum. He is karate chopped into his seat.

One child refused to have a bath. I bathed him anyway. My bathroom floor is ruined.

One child wanted a banana. The other child stole his banana and stamped on it. Tantrum prevails plus cleanup mission.

One child eats my eye shadow.

One child insists I remove a wedged bogey.

One child refuses to wear his tiger t-shirt because “It’s scary!”. It was the only thing clean.

One child wants to watch the end of The Lorax before we leave. The other child switches the TV off anyway. Cue fight.

One child randomly kicks me. He will not sit out. Forty minute battle of wills commences.

Momma has to get changed after she finds an unidentifiable squishy bogey type mess on her shoulder.

Momma had to search the whole house for her phone. It was in her pocket.

One child needed to set out all 458 toy soldiers in a straight line ready for his return. The other child thought it was a game of domino’s.

One child needed to find that Kinder Egg toy he had 3 years ago, and hasn’t been seen since!

The drinking cups have travelled to the Bermuda Triangle.

Daddy took a three week vacation in the bathroom.

My list could go on, it’s endless!

So next time I’m late meet me with chocolate and an expresso, chances are I’ll be needing both!

Pause. Then React.

Some days I wake up like Mary Poppins with the patience of Mother Theresa, mixed in with the determination of Super Nanny. Other days I wake up and within minutes my energy has been zapped, my patience stretched and snapped, and my ability to think before I speak ceases to work. These days leave you feeling deflated and like the worst mother on the planet, but you’re not; you’re normal! Not by Pinterest standards, but by real human being standards!

There are only so many times in the space of thirty minutes that you can repeat yourself without getting frustrated. “Don’t kick your brother!” “Don’t kick your brother, especially in the face!” “Right you can sit out now because I told you not to kick again!” “Get back here, I’ll count to three!” “Do not hit me!”.

Sometimes I keep my cool although inside I’m simmering. Other times I get louder and louder. My husband says I have a ‘loud gene’ I’ve inherited. My two kids have inherited it too!

After a day of raising my voice and losing my cool I feel poop. It makes me feel like I’ve failed as a parent. I have to remind myself tomorrow is a new day!

Some days you’ll be Mary Poppins and other days you’ll be the Grinch, that’s life. The only time to worry is when you’re the Grinch more than the Mary!

I’ve found that consciously making myself count to five before I react to a stubborn toddler really helps. It makes you reassess your frustrated outburst and let’s you reply calmly. Try it next time you’re being driven around the bend!

We have to accept the frustrating days and remember the stubborn mules we live with are just children. They’re little people trying to figure out their emotions and the world around them, and us as parents should be the lamp to their little feet.

Remember our children get their emotional cues from us. They learn how to deal with their emotions from the people around them. I have a very short temper, with adults mainly but occasionally I do lose my temper and end up shouting at my kids, but I always apologise to them and reassure them. I talk to them about why I got frustrated and that you shouldn’t shout. Never be above apologising.

I’ll be totally honest now sometimes my kids are so naughty I wish I could hold a grudge and not speak to them for the rest of the day, but for obvious reasons I don’t act on those feelings, I love them through gritted teeth. Just kidding! 😉

This parenting malarkey is hard enough without you being hard on yourself too. It’s a journey, a learning journey. You learn on the job. You have to give yourself a break. You’re not gonna get everything right all of the time, but if you’re kids are happy and loved and they know they’re loved then you’re doing a marvellous job!

Parents, you’re nothing short of Super heroes! So on the days when your cape slips, snuggle your babies goodnight, read them an extra story, have a big slice of chocolate cake, and go to bed early ready for a new day tomorrow.

Your babies don’t hold grudges against you so don’t hold one against yourself!

Be a YES parent

Sometimes we get into such a routine of saying ‘no’ to our children,  not out of being a bad parent but just because we condition ourselves into having this response.

D1: “Can I tip this tub of trains out Mummy?”
Me: “No, it’s too messy, you don’t need to!”

I say no because it’s convenient for me. Surely he can play without tipping them all out, and I guarantee I’ll be the one putting them all back into the tub later. D1 looks sad.

Why didn’t I just say yes?

A tipped out tub of trains wouldn’t be that messy, he probably just wanted to see which ones he’d got, and he would have probably helped me pick them up.

D1: “Mummy can we play outside in the rain? ”
Me: “No it’s too wet, and you’ll get filthy!”

I say no because it’s more convenient for me. I don’t want to stand in the rain. I’ll have to wash wellies and dry coats, and even iron fresh clothes. D1 looks sad.

Why didn’t I just say yes? Puddle jumping is fun. Dirt washes away. We have plenty of fresh clothes to put on. Fresh air is good for them and gets rids of their excess energy.

D2: “I play playdoh a bit!”
Me: “No we’ll play with it later I’ve just swept the floor!”

I say no because I’ve cleaned the house and want it to stay tidy. Playdoh is so messy. Plus they’ve just had a bath and don’t need playdoh stuck in their fingernails. D2 cries.

Why didn’t I just say yes? Who cares if I have to sweep again? Will it hurt me?! No! Who cares if they need rebathing? They love the water anyway. They love creating playdoh models, why don’t I use the time to interact with them?


Be A Yes Parent by Becci Nicholls | Photo: © Miredi

Be A Yes Parent by Becci Nicholls | Photo: © Miredi

It’s so easy to say ‘no’ without thinking things through. Children are not an inconvenience.

Do you want to create a tidy house with neatly stacked toys or do you want to create memories to cherish forever?

The truth about YES parenting

All the above are actually real examples, but I learnt a long time ago to say yes whenever I can. Life is too short to be anything less than fun. An untidy house doesn’t matter, but your children do. A simple yes will make their day. Try it out!

My boys love making my garden look a mess. Onlookers would see sand covering every concrete surface, chalk drawings on the floor, fences, and sheds, an upturned police car, water soaked toys, an empty sand pit, and a slide covered in wet sand. My kids see an adventure land / beach. They’ve carefully spilt the sand. They’ve drawn sharks in chalk. They’ve tipped their police car upside down to fix it with their invisible tools. They’ve played. They’ve unreservedly played, and that’s what rears happy children. Fearless children.

Sand can be swept up. Chalk can be washed away. Toys can dry out. Cars can be put the right way up. But children’s memories cannot be faked; they’re either good or not good.

Last week I filled our garden path with shaving foam and hid lots of dinosaurs in the ‘snow’. It was messy from the start. It got even messier when they figured out clapping your hands in the foam created a mini blizzard! I could have easily not bothered, or said no to the clapping but they had so much fun! They even spoke about it the next day! And the worst that happened? We all had to get changed.

Does your babba want three bedtime stories? Why not! Who’s counting anyway? One day they’ll be too big to have a bedtime story so don’t ever refuse them now.

It’s not about saying yes all of the time

Obviously this post is about saying yes more often in regards to fun and play, it’s not about saying yes to everything else. Children need healthy boundaries, but they also need a safe environment to be children. Let your babbas be free to play. Yes parenting is vital to their development.

Try having a day of ‘yes’, let them have fun, messy fun. You’ll enjoy it too and feel much more relaxed!

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