Every now and then I read one of those blogs. You know the sort. The kind that encourages you to s l o w d o w n, put down technology and other distractions and just focus on your children. I well up as I read about some adorable exhausted mother's light bulb moment and how glorious everything is now they have given stuff up and spend more time with their children. Oh how their relationships and self esteem have blossomed and how chuffing wonderful their life is.
In my weaker moments I aspire to this. I need to do as they say and stop trying so hard to achieve everything in my life. I need to stop trying to be perfect and just focus on what's important. They are so right...Hold on a minute they are telling me to stop trying to be perfect by giving me a lecture on how to be a perfect mum. I'm confused.
The reason these blogs are so appealing of course is because as parents every day we do something that we then feel guilty about. Only this morning there was an unfortunate shouting incident over a skirt. I should have calmly entered the room of the screaming seven year old and found her a clean skirt without using the phrases "you are old enough to find your own skirt" and "if anyone ever helped me put the clothes away they would know where things were" at slightly too high a volume. But I didn't. And then I felt guilty.
Later when I reflected and lamented my behaviour I read a blog entry that told me it would all be ok. If I simply change my ways, be calm and always listen to what they have to say the benefits for our relationship and my children's self esteem will be phenomenal. Good news.
So I decide this time at bedtime I will be different. When they ask for a fourteenth hug to avoid going to sleep I will give them one. When they hold on too long I won't let go and will simply hug them back. Because of course these hugs won't last forever and my child will get the message that I always have time for them. Ah you see, it's so convincing. The blogs have taught me. Let me get started.
The only question I have then is whether all these blog writing super mums have the unusual children or whether it's just me?
Give in and hold on longer is all well and good, but with my children it results in getting out of bed three times, demands for extra duvets, extended animated discussions about Lapland, a dance routine, an argument about the virtues (or lack of them) of Paddington on CD, requests for drinks and constant extremely loud butting in on each other's loving mummy and daughter bedtime moment. It's hard to feel the glow of love when you are acting as a mediator, geography teacher, appreciative audience member, long suffering mother and room service representative all at the same time. We don't go to bed like the Waltons in this house. It's more like the Magic Roundabout. With no-one playing Dylan.
So my pearl of wisdom is this. Don't beat yourself up. Don't read blogs that tell you to do stuff differently because it might be wholly impractical and/or unworkable and then you'll beat yourself up even more. Instead I recommend accepting this:
Children are bonkers. In a good way. Sometimes it's adorable. Sometimes it's annoying. You'll be fine.
I suspect I won't be asked to write my parenting book any time soon.