Sometimes I sit and think about what I've done that day with the kids. Have they been fed ok? Have I done enough with them? Have they been outdoors enough? Should I be letting my 7 year old out on her bike? Is it safe? We haven't taken them on a proper kids day out in ages, quick call social services!
Its never ending isn't it? Guilt, worry, the lot. I tend to feed my kids a good 3 meals a day. They have a bit of junk or take away at the weekend if we're out or I can't be bothered to cook. I always feel guilty about this. for about 3 minutes then I have a word. With myself. Seriously my kids are in good shape, they're healthy, they have zero fillings or dental problems, they are active. That bit of weekend junk isn't doing them any harm. I make good lunchboxes, they sometimes have crisps, sometimes a biscuit. I make lunchboxes interesting, they get involved, they enjoy it. One time, when my oldest started school we had a very patronising letter home about not putting chocolate bars into the lunch boxes as it can make the children hyper. I was fuming. I don't need nutritional advice from a head teacher who isn't the picture of health herself. Then my son told me that a boy in his class has choc spread sandwiches, chocolate mousse, and a chocolate bar. Now come on, have a word with those parents.
Anyway. The going out thing. We live in a small village, small housing estate. We've always been quite strict with playing out I suppose, although my oldest has been going out since he was 8, and is quite sensible. The girl child suddenly wants to play out. I feel uneasy about it, but I have to let go right? She's needing it, our garden is tiny. So I let her out, she's happy but I'm like a cat on hot bricks!
Then I think back then I was a kid. When I was her age I was riding around the countryside with my friends and only coming back for dinner! We made swings over the brook, and knocked on doors around the back lanes asking old folk if they wanted jobs doing for 50p. Mum worked on the land, we'd go with her, eat unripe apples from the trees, go on long walks across the fruit farms and come back for lunch at 1pm. We loved it. I remember my mum, and other mums from the estate letting us take the babies for walks around the village, I was 8, as my sister was 1. The other babies were of same age. I can't imagine letting Kooks take Bella off for a walk, I'd have a heart attack!
I ate whatever was in the house, mum was (is) a great cook and made us wholesome meals, she used lard to cook. Quite often she'd make us a curry later on at nighttime with poppadoms. We were all healthy, always have been active and fit.
I worry I don't do enough homework with them. I don't have great patience, although I like them reading to me. Maths? Ha ha ha. Despite my job, I'm pants at it. That's Millers job. He does the maths. I do reading. But I do worry I don't do enough. Then I think back to my childhood. We never took books home. Homework was something we got at high school. Admittedly I didn't do great st school, but I got a degree at 31. A first class one too. Kerching.
Yes that was a boast. But for someone who was working in a factory at 17, I ain't done too bad.
So why do we feel so much pressure to be the perfect parent? One of my theories is Facebook. You get constant updates from some mums about how many activities they've carried out with young Johhny today. Or the ones about how ace little Archie is at maths. Archie is 6 months.
Get my drift. Funnily enough I find that sometimes the kids who appear to have busy social lives on Facebook, tend to be the ones with little manners. I could go on all day about that, but won't.
So what is the perfect parent? I can tell you it isn't me. I make mistakes, I shout, I let them stay up late, I sometimes swear in front of them (I am working on this as its my downfall). However my kids are happy, they're confident, they're happy to get up in the morning and leave me to get a few more much needed minutes of sleep with the teething baby, they make their breakfast, the oldest makes me a cup of green tea. They do ok at school, they're helpful, they're happy to walk in school from the car park if I've still got my PJs on and no make up (blame the teething baby again), they're polite. I can't ask for more.
Perfect parent? There isn't one.