I remember when I was the best parent. Exemplary in fact. There was no technology allowed, strictly reading, singing, learning and those wooden toys that aid learning as well as playing. I would make all of my own baby food, organic stuff that was full of all kinds of amazing nutrients and you could get your 5 a day just from sniffing it. We’d go on nature trails and visit a different museum every weekend. My children would be SO well behaved because I just simply wouldn’t allow bad behaviour. I’d be disgusted to see parents allowing their children to run riot in the supermarket or sitting having a glass of wine whilst their children squabbled over the only scooter at the BBQ. Ahhh, I remember those days so well. And then I had a child.
What I would give to be that blissfully ignorant again… Or naïve, whatever!
The first time I gave Jens the iPad, he’d been awake for 12 hours straight, he had tummy ache, he hated life and just wanted his Mama and although I would have loved nothing more than to have laid and cried with him, he had a stupid fucking hospital appointment that we had to get to and I was slowly reaching a breakdown with every passing minute of trying to get ready and soothe a screaming baby. So it occurred to me that I ought to find some of those YouTube videos with that crap music that kids love so much with the rubbish cartoons and screechy accompanying voices. I laid him down on my bed and propped the iPad on the head rest… Hey fucking presto! Silence! At last! I brushed my teeth, I brushed my hair and I even managed to whack some mascara on! I felt like a new woman. (Okay an exhausted new woman, but still. I was wearing make up. Make up! Fucking amazing!)
And there started a bad habit. The iPad became a necessity within our parenting style. We found something that worked and we just couldn’t pass that little bit of respite up! We could eat a meal whilst it was still hot (Well, warm…), we could travel for longer than 10 minutes in the car without the threat of absolute war commencing! I could stand in the queue in the post office, I could do a grocery shop, etc etc… The list goes on! Do I feel guilty? Nope. Do I think that I have done Jens a disservice by fobbing him off with the iPad when I was struggling? Nope! Does it make me a bad parent? FUCKING HELL NO! I do what I need to do. My parenting styles have changed massively since ACTUALLY becoming a parent. We do what works for us, as long as we are all happy and healthy.
At one point I was beating myself up because I had given Jensen fish-fingers for tea 3 nights running. I was begging him to eat some peas, or broccoli, or any of the greens that we know they should be eating but might as well be asking them to chew on their own foot for the reaction that we get! So not for lack of trying, fish-fingers it was. For days. It wasn’t until even he was so fucking sick of the sight of them that we could actually get something with a bit of substance down his neck! I mean, I used to survive whole weekends solely on pints of cider and bar snacks, so fish-fingers can’t be that bad, surely?! HA! Funny really, because as part of Jensen’s condition, he needs high calorie, high fat foods to help him maintain a healthy weight. Easy, you’d think? Pfft!
The looks we got in a burger joint once when Jor and I confiscated all cucumber from the table because he wouldn’t eat his chips! Hilarious! Who’d have thought that that the home-made, organic, baby food making parent would be bargaining with a toddler to eat French fries?! You have to laugh!
He gets a gingerbread man every time we go grocery shopping, simply because I know that it’s a sure fire way to get around the supermarket as quickly and pain freely as possible, because if he kicks off in there, shit is going down! There was once a time when he started world war three in the tinned food aisle because I wouldn’t let him open a packet of washing up sponges (?! I know right! Any other child screams for chocolate or something normal! Not my boy!) I couldn’t wait for that shopping trip to end! I was having palpitations by the time I got to the till!
It’s really funny looking back, at that young child free me, who was a fucking excellent parent! What a judgemental prick I was! I guess karma really does bite you in the backside! HA! Instead of judging parents, I now share with them that look that lets you know, just for just a second that you’re not alone! That ‘I’ve been there, I fucking feel you sister!’ look of solidarity! And when I see people give me the judgemental look that I once owned, I smile, because do you know what? It’s the circle of life! Looking back at my assumptions, I can only apologise to the parents that I threw judgements at, it would seem that I was a #mumwanker before I was even a mum! Because I was a perfect parent once… and then I had kids!