Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I will be a better mother

Recently I was told "You're a much better mother than we thought you'd be", and sadly, it wasn't the first time it's been said to me.

Both times I was a little dumbfounded and I think I managed an "Umm... thanks... I think?" in response.

Nothing quite like a backhanded compliment, is there?

But really, I can't get too angry about it because, well, I agree. I think I'm a much better mother than I thought I'd be.

For as long as I could remember I had vowed never to have children because I knew I would fuck them up. In my mind, it was guaranteed. I’d read all about it, and seen it with my own eyes. Kids of people like me just didn’t turn out well. I thought it would be the ultimate act of selfishness to have a child knowing what I knew.

It will sound cliché, but after dating Map Guy for only a few short months everything changed. He believed in me. I was an obese, chain smoking, mentally unstable gal on a disability pension. What a catch! Re reow! But, as he tells it, he saw something in me that I didn’t.

His belief filtered through the dark, jagged forest of my thoughts on gossamer wings. It’s amazing what happens when someone believes in you and actually tells you so… firstly you think they’re quite obviously mentally unhinged and you consider sharing your anti-psychotic meds with them, but after a while, bit by bit, you start to believe it too. For the first time in my life I could see a future that was not all black clouds and hospital stays. I could see the real me underneath that he had seen all along. I could see love and joy and life. New life. Babies. 

I worked hard, bloody hard, determined to not be the mother that everyone else, including me, just assumed I was going to be. Instead of letting that red flag with “people like you are bad mothers” written on it bring me down, I used it to make me a stronger, better mother, determined not to let the cycle repeat in my own house.

This is not some rose coloured glasses bullshit. I’m still pretty sure he will still end up having "issues". It is me mothering him after all. But instead of ones that will land him in juvenile detention, I’m now thinking more along the lines of this:

I think I’m a good mother. My kid is fed, clothed, kept warm and loved more than I ever knew was possible. But I could be better. I don’t want perfection. I don’t want Carol Brady. Hell, even she must have known heartache and sorrow before she got to her happily ever after. Divorced? Widowed? They never actually mention why her first marriage ended. Emotional baggage like that can't be wrapped up within a half hour show. Instead, all that baggage comes out in the day to day living of life. In the way we deal with public tantrums, the refusals to lay down for a nappy change and pain in the ass bedtime routines.

I’m joining the Parent Manifesto twelve week online course to become the mother I want to be. I've read the book and I liked how it wasn't a "you must do this and the world will be rainbows and lollipops" set of instructions, that you could pick and choose what to implement in a way that suited your own family. The course, I'm hoping, will cement it further and help me put it all in to practice.

So what do I want to get out of this opportunity? I want to learn how to stop mumbling “for fuck’s sake” under my breath when Tricky throws a tantrum at 4:00am like he did the other morning (don’t ask, it’s a long story punctuated with many tears). I want to learn how to handle a toddler who is pushing boundaries left, right and centre but is just too little to fully reason with. Basically, I want to enjoy my wine after bedtime, not resort to it.

If you’d like to join me, the online course starts on the 10th of September, runs for 12 weeks and costs $127. That’s just over $10 a week to become a better parent. You can register by clicking here or the image below. If you enter the codeword 'FRIEND' (cos y'all are my friends, right?) you'll get a $20 discount.

A few times over the next three months I’ll be checking in and letting you know how I’m going. A no-holds-barred look at my parenting skills or lack thereof. This will be an interesting ride.

Do you want to be a better parent? If you could change one thing about your parenting, what would it be?

This is not a sponsored post but does contain affiliate links. My participation in the course is complimentary and as always all opinions are my own and completely truthful.


  1. I'm a much better mother than I thought I would be too, but in different ways.
    I assumed I'd be the cupcake making mother, always in the kitchen but instead I'm the jumping on the jumping castle, running in the sand, not caring about dinner because dinner can wait kind of mother. And I'm ok with that

  2. Jodie @ Parent WellbeingSeptember 4, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    That's great tattoomummy - most important thing is to be okay with it!

  3. Ha! I had that said to me too. Of course I was only 18 when I became a mum so that comment was almost valid. Almost.
    I'm telling you, if I can {ahem...successfully} parent my kids into adulthood, almost anyone can. I reckon your little Tricky will be just fine. And so will you. x

  4. Kelley @ magnetoboldtooSeptember 4, 2012 at 4:57 PM

    I love you. LOVE YOU.

    And it starts on September 10. the irony of that makes me laugh so hard I cry.

  5. I would like to yell less. I hate myself when I yell. I remind myself of my father. I might buy the book instead of signing up to the course. I'm already failing 3 courses/challenges I committed to this month

  6. I'm yet to face a parenting challenge so there isn't anything I do that I'd like to change just yet, but I suspect I'll have a very different to answer to that question if you ask me a year or two down the track!
    You sound like a wonderful mother to me. And I think anyone who has pulled themselves free from low points in their lives make great role models, not only to their children but to everyone around them. Tricky is lucky to have such a clever, lovely mama :)
    Oh, maybe I'd change how I chuckle when the baby pulls her woe-is-me face - but it's so funny I can't help laughing and comforting her at the same time.

  7. good luck with the course and the all.. =) i won't take part, because, i am basically already a total rockstar mum, uhm, but no, it looks good, I will try follow you as you go, i am interested. I know where i could still improve and i am trying to work on it daily. i think that already makes us all good or better parents. x

  8. Mike and Carol Brady were both widowers. Just, to you know, solve the mystery for you.

    I wanted kids so much growing up, but then my ex (you know the only other one I was serious with, well, semi serious I guess?) was really "no kids" and so I kinda just gave that up for him. Except even after we had broken up I still didn't want kids. At some point I realised that if I had kids I would screw them up because I am so screwed up and it just wasn't on my list of things I wanted to do "Bring more asshole children into the world."
    My unplanned pregnancy was great in a way. I spent at least five years being a fucking top mum. Sure I wasn't perfect but I was fucking good ok? Lately I've been lacking in oh so many ways. It's a me thing. It's something I'm aware of and hopefully getting on top of.
    But I do get it. The desire to so badly not want to fuck up a human.

  9. I always say that if the kids are still alive at 5 then I've done my job.

    Seriously though, what a crap backhanded compliment. I know you and Tricky and you are both absolutely adorable (him more than you actually, but you're still great), so I have no doubt that you are a "good mum". I suspect what that person who said this couldn't get over was how good a mum you are considering how YOUNG you look. Jealousy is always at the root of those sorts of comments.

    Enjoy the class and become even better!

  10. I would make more time to enjoy my kids, instead of forever saying "yes, just a minute" whilst I while away hours on Twitter. I regret it every night, but nothing ever changes - I'm a rubbish mother!!

  11. Ha Ha - Wasn't Mike Brady gay? In all seriousness this is an uplifting post. Its amazing how sometimes a supportive partner is all you need to bring out the best.
    As for becoming a better parent myself. Screen time is the bane of my parenting existence. I need to get my girls away from the TV, DVD and computers.
    Love Mumabulous

  12. I hear you! It's so easy to turn on a screen! But I think there's such a huge range of educational shows/apps these days that some of it can be really productive. The kids get a lesson in art/math/life and mama gets 5 minutes peace. Or more likely, a chance to start dinner.

  13. Ditto. Though Tricky's at a rather un-ignorable age right now and will forcefully drag me where he wants me. But if I had a dollar for every time I said "yes, just a minute" followed by "in a moment" I'd be a gazillionaire!

  14. I'm deeply offended you think I'm not as adorable as Tricky. Is it my lack of giant squishable cheeks? I could get implants... x

  15. I totally agree, Nikki! Realizing where we could improve is the biggest part, IMO x

  16. Wait til you get to the trying not to laugh when they're being naughty but OH SO CUTE stage! But seriously, thank you, that's such a gorgeous thing to say x

  17. I hear ya! Over commitment is my middle name.

  18. I must say, on his first birthday we high fived each other and congratulated ourselves on the fact that we ALL survived the first year. I'll be doing it again when he hits 18 xxx

  19. You are an awesome mum. Simply awesome x

  20. Really? How did I always think they were widowers then? I swear I've heard/read it somewhere....or possibly not.

    I don't know. I don't really feel like it right now *le sigh*
    Hope you are having a super top holiday. Next time tie me up and throw me in the boot so I can come with?


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