You didn't really come to this post believing I would have the answers on how to be a Perfect Parent did you? Because the reality is, I don't actually believe there is any such thing as a Perfect Parent.
Now I know I was pretty hysterical those first few minutes after I gave birth to my three little
Terrors Angels. But I am pretty damn sure no sweet rosy faced nurse sidled up to me and said "Congratulations Mr & Mrs S. Here is your beautiful baby. We are also thrilled to give you your complete How To instruction book, your no quibble warranty card, a list of psychologists in your area, a welcome kit for your lifetime membership to insanity, your life long prescription to Valium oh and I mustn't forget your 30 day money back guarantee. Hello! If I had been armed with all that armour - l would have given birth to 30 of the little buggers and lived out my life in a blissful coma of parental perfection.
Oh yeah yeah, I have read books by people claiming to give you ALL the magical answers on how to raise perfect little pillars of society. Hell I have read more books than I care to really admit to anyone. But nothing ever really prepares you for the practical hands on part of the job.
Yep - I know you know what I am talking about.
The newborn baby part is a cinch, a walk in the sweet smelling park compared to the undignified arrival of the monsters that emerge around age 2 (3 if you are lucky, or earlier if you killed a chinaman in your past life).
Now I'm not talking about the type of monsters that hide under the bed or in the cupboard. Meh I can crush them like fruitflys with my can of anti monster spray and my monster scaring war dance (don't ask but it works). I am talking about the little monsters that insist on following you around, tugging on your shirt and calling you Mum whilst simultaneously karate kicking a display of metal money boxes to the ground in your local shopping centre. I am referring to the monsters that once resembled your beautiful, angelic oh so squidgy infant. The being that has possessed your perfect little baby. The energy sapping
beasts offspring that insist on hanging around until they are ?? (30 is what I am hearing these days).
The books tell you to walk away from a screaming toddler in the midst of a tantrum. But they don't tell you what to do when it follows you screaming MUM MUM, until without any certainty everyone looking on at such a scene, KNOWS you are the breeder of this alarming creature.
The books also don't tell you what to do when you are at the school crossing and your 3 year old starts shouting F##k Mummy oh look F##k. Of course he was referring to the truck driving by, but explain that to the dozens of snickering school children & their parents queuing up with you to cross the road.
What about when your 4 year old decides to spend the better part of a year growling and blowing raspberries at anyone who is fooled in to talking to him by his cherubic little face. ANSWER that oh mythical Mum of Perfection!
Ah yes, I share with you now the highlight of my parenting career to date... Watching my 6 year old throw punches of the Tyson variety at his best mate at soccer practise because he stole his moment ???? Where was the big black hole to swallow me up when I needed it then.
I have spent hours googling and reading these so called parenting guides. I have doled out my hard earned cash to child psychologists to have them help me understand what I could be doing wrong or what I could do better. I have locked myself in the bathroom with a Vodka or 3 and cried until my eyes swelled up like cat bums. But the best advice I was ever given was to wake up and smell the dirty nappies. No come to think of it I think they may of actually said roses. Either or, the reality is there is no such thing as the Perfect Parent. There are plenty of people who like to talk it up and convince others that they have raised The perfect child as a result of their extraordinary parenting skills. But quite frankly in defence of my own ego of course - I think they are full of ... yellow curdling breast milk poop.
Regardless of how others perceive me and my skills (or lack of) in the world of parenting, I am learning to trust in myself. I am following my own instinct despite my somewhat failed attempts of discipline. So what if some of these failed attempts include dropping off an unreasonable child (who wanted a new family) outside the SCARY house and driving off (yes shamefully I did do that) or locking my tanty chucking 8 year old outside in the backyard in the rain (yes regretfully I did do that too). Oh and I mustn't forget to mention how I snuggle them up in their beds at night, tucked tightly into their straight jackets (oh ok then I only dreamed about doing that one).
In the face of all my parenting disasters to date, it is the breath sucking cuddles, the sticky kisses, the sweet words and the sometimes unintelligible cards & paintings my children give me professing their love for me and telling me I am the Best Mum In the World, that keeps me going. That and all the other wonderful moments I get to share as a very lucky mum to 3 gorgeous healthy kids.
That my dear friends is my definition of the most satisfying one finger salute to the mythical enigma known as the Perfect Parent.