When I was pregnant with my first child, I spent hours reading books on pregnancy and about the first year of a baby’s life. I wanted to ensure that I knew how to get everything ‘right’. I even read books about parenting boys and girls into their teenage years, to make sure that I didn’t miss anything important along the way. However, it only took a very short time for me to face the reality that parenting, and life with children in general, is imperfect. It is wonderful but also messy, chaotic, unpredictable and rich with learning opportunities (aka mistakes).
I have three children, my eldest is in high school now, and I still find myself floundering as each new age and stage brings with it new challenges to navigate. I’m someone who is not afraid to admit when I’m wrong and the greatest lesson that being a mother has shown me is that I am flawed, my husband is flawed, and my children are flawed. We are all imperfect; it’s just a fact- and that is ok.
When my children were younger and I’d mess up (as we all do), I would lie awake at night feeling immensely guilty. Sometimes even crying myself to sleep, feeling like I was failing and doing “damage” to my children. As they’ve gotten older, and I’ve matured, I have come to realise that sometimes it is through our imperfections that our children learn the best lessons. They see us fail, they see us apologise, and they see us trying again.
As parents we aren’t able to be everything for our children. It’s an impossible ambition and one that is not expected of us. What we are called to do is to parent each day to the best of our ability. We don’t expect our children to be perfect; all we ask is that they try their best. So why then do we expect ourselves to be perfect? We need to do our best and let God be our source of strength and comfort each day as we grow and learn and become better mums. Life isn’t perfect and it’s ok for our homes and families to have imperfection in them too.
“It’s actually our ability to embrace imperfection that will help us teach our children to have the courage to be authentic, the compassion to love themselves and others…”- Dr.Brené Brown, parenting author and researcher.
Be kind to yourself
The greatest advice anyone has ever given to me (at a time when my young Type A personality was crushing me), was to be kind to myself. And it’s something that I remind myself of daily. So be kind to yourself and encourage your mum friends as we walk this motherhood road together. You’re not perfect and that’s completely ok. Sometimes, it’s even a good thing.
Have you ever considered stepping up to lead, but didn’t? What held you back? Often is the lack of belief in our own skills and abilities that holds us back from stepping up to lead.
You might think that you get enough exercise from chasing your children around all day! However, it’s still important to fit some planned exercise in as it helps keep you mentally and physically fit. If you can find some space to exercise by yourself, it can also give some much needed time out. Exercising when you have young children is possible! So how do you fit exercise in while raising small children? There are a number of ways I made it work. Continue reading “Exercising when you have young children”
Ever noticed how babies and toddlers get into everything? As a baby explores the world around them, they engage in a lot of sensory play. Most things go in their mouth. Little fingers continually reach for new things. Cats are fair game as their fur is touched and tugged. Books are chewed, tasted, grabbed, flipped and looked at. Keys are jingled, chewed and thrown.
We often joke in my household that is 80% female “step away from the chocolate, and no one will get hurt”. When it comes to chocolate I’m a big fan. Here we are about to celebrate Easter again, and there is chocolate aplenty in every supermarket. But do you find yourself wondering how to explain to your little ones (or even to yourself), what do eggs have to do with Easter? How do chocolate eggs and the death of Jesus both manage to find a place in the celebration of Easter?
With state borders opening once again, and flights between capital cities resuming, many of us are looking to travel again. Maybe it’s for a well-deserved holiday, or to visit family and friends that you could not see during 2020. For some, the mere thought of travelling with children long distances can be enough to make us groan. Continue reading “Travelling with Children”
Have you ever taken one of those quizzes where it asks if you’re a ‘beach’ or ‘mountain’ kind of girl? I answer ‘mountain’ every time.
There’s something about mountains. Their might and grandeur make me feel small, yet safe. There’s nothing like climbing to a mountain top and taking in the view or sitting in a valley under the shadow of its peaks.
I have always loved reading. My Dad’s bedtime stories transported me to faraway places (I’m looking at you Britain), and faraway trees. And thanks to a persistent set of siblings, we always squeezed in “one more chapter”. Once I could read myself, I’d stay in bed on weekend mornings, discovering stories from around the world in the pages of my books. I remember books about boarding schools and circuses, rainbow fish, and the place where the forest meets the sea. What I don’t remember was ever reading books that were set in Africa. I knew nothing of the stories there. This didn’t matter to me at the time, but it does now.
My first memory of learning about Africa was rice day at school. We all ate rice to raise money for children in Africa. I also learnt a little about Africa from my family having sponsor children, and from the charity ads on TV.
Years ago, if someone had told me to “chase joy”, I would have laughed at them. And it would not have been a joyful laugh. Here I was, a new-ish mum in my mid 40s. Because of infertility issues, I could not have more children after my one miracle baby and I missed having a family. I had no tertiary qualification. My paid job was unstimulating. I regretted lost opportunities that I saw no hope of retrieving. There were difficulties in my social environment that were emotionally destructive. I would describe my overall mood as one of despair. Me, chase joy?! I was pretty sure there was no joy in my life at all, and furthermore, I saw no prospect for joy in the future either. And so I decided to examine my life to see if it was true.