Good day to you, readers. So I’ve made the decision to use this blog as an enjoyable little creative outlet and personal project for myself, as well as a way to communicate things that are important to me. Of course I will continue to show you my makeup work, as well as share useful product information.
I am planning to really up my game with my blogging as well, so I hope you will stick with me. Be sure to let me know what you like to read about, what you don’t enjoy and what you’d love to see that I’m not already sharing with you.
Today is a bit of a fun one, as well as a download. I watch this lovely YouTuber, Elise Sheree, who is an Australian mum to a gorgeous 3-year-old. She has moved with her daughter and husband to London from Sydney, and her videos are mostly about her #mumlife. She came up with this #mumlife RAW Tag, and I thought I would do it today.
In case you don’t know much about me, I’m mum to a football (soccer)-mad lad, Jonah, who is 11.5 years old. He’s my best friend, my surprise-come-dream child, who challenges me every day. He tries so hard in life to be a good person and has big goals in life. He’s a mixed bag, being a super athletic, very much boy’s boy, and also someone who was raised by the girliest girl on the planet. His Dad and I are good friends and – if I say so myself – pretty fantastic co-parents, but we are not in a relationship, so I am Jonah’s primary carer and have been basically his whole life.
I’ll talk about solo parenthood in another post sometime if that’s of interest to anyone, but for today let’s just get into the 11 #mumlife RAW questions… Get ready to get RAW and REAL with me about my life as a parent!
1. Describe your day as a mum today in one word.
2. What’s the most challenging part about connecting with other mums?
To be honest, I’ve always been pretty okay with connecting with other mums, because I just see mums as people I might like to talk to. Two things have sometimes stood in my way… Firstly, some days I revert back to my old shy days, or I simply don’t feel like talking, so maybe I come across as stand-offish.
The other is the fact that I’m a single mum. It really doesn’t have an affect on me in relating to others, but I have felt on occasion that it can make other mums feel uncomfortable in some way… or maybe they just don’t have time for me, because of my lack of husband? Or maybe because they can’t picture double dates and family holidays with just me and my son, I’m not sure. One day I’ll shrug at this, another I might feel a tad down at being overlooked or left out for something I can’t change and I don’t feel lessens my value as a person.
3. Share one horrible poo moment! We’ve all been there.
Mine was when my man cub was just a newborn. I took him out of the bath all lovely and clean, walked into the bedroom holding him to my chest with my hand on his bum, walking towards the mirror, just to admire how gorgeous he was all sweet and clean and nudie. Then… projectile poo, straight through my hand, splattering the mirror!
4. How do you cope with public child meltdowns and tantrums?
I’m a big believer in nipping this kind of thing in the bud, and the way to do that is to have a big consequence that you – and here’s the key – follow through with. So in the past when my man cub was younger, I followed the Supernanny protocol to the letter. I would issue a warning, and if the behaviour continued, he would get a time out or in more serious circumstances, I would pack him in the car and take him home. Then he knew I meant business.
We would have a discussion and I would explain that if this happened the next time, I just would not be able to take him to said park/friend’s house/shop again. He wasn’t one who ever wanted to miss out, so that tended to work. The next time I would lay down the law on the way there and be sure he was aware of my expectations, and I’d have him repeat them back to me, as well as the possible consequence should he play up. I know this sounds extreme, but with a little tear-about boy like mine, it was very necessary!
5. Honestly, how much screen time does your child have?
My man cub knows he’s not to turn on any screens in the morning… but this doesn’t really stop him some days, the cheeky rat! So sometimes I’ll bust him watching YouTube in the morning if he’s up early. Other than this, he will play his iPad with his friends on his way to and from football training when we carpool, which is an hour either way three times a week. He is also allowed some X-box time on the weekend and a little TV time at night if we’re home not too late. On occasion I will restrict his screen time or confiscate his iPad, but that’s usually only if his behaviour is changing for the worse in relation to the screen. Sadly this is a reality – they are not good for kids in big doses. However mostly I don’t actually have to restrict his time too much, because our schedule is so full that there really isn’t opportunity for him to go overboard with electronics. He’s very active with his sport, so it’s not something I worry about too much.
6. What’s your easy go-to dinner that you give at least once a week?
Subway. This is my “healthy version” of takeaway for my man cub, who actually kind of eats two dinners every night (one before and one after football [soccer] training!)
7. Did you yell, cry or struggle today?
Not today! I was a terrible mum and let my son have the day off school due to us both being out till late and being super tired this morning… so we both laid about and watched television, napped and read all day long. It was bliss! I told him to fend for himself when he wanted food, which he is old enough to do now. He did a few little chores throughout the day, and that’s it – no responsibility, no stress. I’m calling it a mental health/catch up on sleep day. I think this is so important to do once-in-a-while, and the key is to fully immerse and do away with any hint of guilt associated with it at all.
8. What was the best moment of the day so far as a mum?
My lad is so incredibly loving, and he will often just stop me in the kitchen for a hug and say things like, “Mummy, I can’t understand how I love you so much!” or “Mummy, you’re the best Mummy in the whole world, I love you!” or “How are you such a pretty Mummy every single day of your whole life?” He’s just the sweetest, and this happened a few times today. I consider myself a very very fortunate mama to have such a loving boy.
9. What is your secret guilty pleasure to reward your mumlife?
Okay, this is hard to admit… I watch Dance Moms! I absolutely love it, and I stream it before it’s out in Australia or watch it on YouTube! I can’t stand Abby Lee Miller, nor most of the mums, and it’s stressful to watch… but I still love it. I can’t explain this in any logical fashion.
10. How often do you experience mum guilt?
I don’t know that I can pinpoint a frequency, but I tend to go through periods where I’m positively wracked with guilt and totally caught up in it and nothing short of distraught. There is no other word for it, and it can really be crippling. It will take over almost every thought and emotion I have, it’s very powerful.
Most of the time I’m pretty happy with the mum I am, and the person I’ve raised, so it’s not overly often. I think we all worry a lot about whether we are doing the right thing by our children… but if we can sit back and say we are striving to do the very best we can, we are putting our children first, and we learn from our mistakes, then we need to give ourselves a break.
11. Share one taboo thing about motherhood you think should be talked about more.
I think there’s a parenthood elitism that’s pretty unsavoury. I’ve noticed among parents there are those who form parental friendships and even foster (or force!) kids’ friendships based on strategy. Basing children’s friendships on what the parents or family can get out of it is pretty gross. I know families who throw themselves at children because of a certain level of affluence or to curry favour to get themselves or their child ahead. They will then shun other families who don’t have as much money or influence, or can’t in some way benefit them.
I think this attitude often comes down to the ambition some parents have for their children and what they hope/expect them to achieve. I think it’s a bit “Keeping up with the Joneses”, which isn’t something I really subscribe to. I deeply disagree with it in fact. I’ve seen a lot of this to be honest, as being a young single parent, I can spot a mile off the people who leave me or my son out because I’m personally not what they would consider of value to their goals for their child.
It’s actually helpful, to be honest, in some ways, because it allows me to easily recognise the people who value our friendship and appreciate our company more than what we could offer them in more superficial terms.
When you’re faced with these instances there are always ways you can choose to react. This kind of upset (and it is truly upsetting sometimes) can make you decide to go low and buy into the circumstance. For example, I could choose to leave a child out of a situation in retaliation… But I don’t agree with that fundamentally, and I have a strong stance of never stooping to a level that others might choose to operate at which I personally cannot reconcile within my own conscience, even if it would be really satisfying to fight fire with fire at times! I could confront the parent, but in certain circles that can only end up working against you… especially if the people in question have the strength in numbers that we don’t have, because we are a two-person family. I am not one to shy away from a confrontation, I’m passionate and frankly, a bit fiery. But I have to ask myself if it’s worth it, because I never want to make my son embarrassed or further disadvantaged. He already is on the back foot in a lot of ways being from a single parent family, so I have to sometimes put my feelings on the back burner in favour of his, and keep the peace. Plus, I actually feel that bigger picture, we have so many more valuable lessons to learn in life that far override such superficiality.
Over the years I’ve really taught myself to come back to some key things to check in with in relation to almost anything to do with his life and development.
- Is this more important than kindness? (To which the answer is always no, because nothing is more important than kindness!)
- Is this character-building for him, even though it’s hard?
- Is this situation developing his empathy skills? (This is super important to me as a parent to give him every opportunity in life to continually develop his empathy.)
I guess it’s just really hard to navigate the complexities of parent politics sometimes, but how deeply I participate in this is up to me, and if I’m always looking back at my behaviour and I can say it stands up to my own personal morals and standards, even if it might be the harder (and higher!) road at the time, I’m doing the right thing by my son in the long run.
Thanks for reading!
If you want to share your #mumlife RAW responses on your own platform or social media, please do and let me know. I’d love to read your responses, so please share your link with me!