Is it just me or are we being swamped with online articles and books 'helping' us all to be a 'better' parent? How to craft in a calm environment, how to bake healthy cupcakes, how to paint using feathers as quills and thus developing our child's fine motor skills. You get the gist. Of course, all these things are lovely and positive but I can't help thinking whatever happened to mother's instinct and leaving children to entertain themselves a bit more and not scaffolding every activity and situation for them? I've found myself clicking and getting lost reading tonnes of these types of articles before going to bed, squinting through tired eyes instead of doing what I really needed to do - sleep! And it always left me feeling a little inadequate because I don't have the time, energy or patience to do as much of this stuff with my children.
Are there really parents out there that make all these things, bake everything from scratch? I bet they manage to leave the house tantrum-free. I then realised that most of these rose-tinted articles weren’t showing the whole truth and I decided that behind each picture of a child smiling with her perfect shell-encrusted jewellery box was a shouting mum and a kitchen of total crafting chaos. Once I had reached this conclusion, I instantly felt better and not ashamed that my art drawer is a little dusty.
Like butter wouldn't melt. Amber showing off her very un-homemade chocolate lollies which I did most of but wasn't allowed to eat!
I then thought it would be fun, and perfectly in line with the Box of Smiles ethos of making people smile, to share some of my own parenting mishaps, I mean moments (several with their own art theme). I realise these don't conjure up the best image of a responsible parent but they are a true reflection of someone who simply needed to sit down just once in a while and enjoy a HOT cup of tea before realising that it had indeed all gone quiet upstairs.
Anyway, you know the drill.. they're playing upstairs, you hit the sofa for a few minutes and think to yourself 'I'm bloody winning, at this moment in time I've got this parenting thing sussed'... You bathe smugly in this blissful feeling until you realise it's gone suspiciously silent upstairs. The incessant siren noises and scampering footsteps have faded and been replaced by eerie nothingness.
My ears would prick up but more often than not I would close my eyes and think 'I'll take whatever mess they've made, it'll be worth it for this quiet time'. I then run through a mental checklist of possibilities (is it water, shampoo, my ink stampers, my nail varnish, the marker pens…?).
This is all a slightly foolish and naive strategy but one which has enabled me to save some precious 'me time' over the years and build up an amusing collection of photos. There are so many situations that unfortunately don't come with photographic evidence attached to them (most likely because I'm ROARING too much to think about getting my phone) but these acts live happily in my memory (a new grey hair for each).
Let's kick off with the messy ones!!
INK STAMPERS & FINGER PAINTS!
They found my ink stamper.. Cream Cif, the only thing that got the prints off..
Joe caught red handed after some finger paint art!
Joe's first try with my red nail varnish, he couldn't get his shoes off. He mastered that for his second try.
A mascara tutorial (or tasting) and the reason why I will NEVER EVER have bronzing bloody pearls in the house again!
SUDOCREM & TOOTHPASTE
Cleaning Fireman Sam's and Penny's teeth apparently!
The joys of getting good old oily Sudocrem out of clothes, hair and carpet.
Not my proudest moment finding Sid nibbLing from the food waste bin..
Sid discovering the art drawer (see, it does get used)! I found out the next day that he had eaten quite a lot of glitter and sequins.. His poo literally shone!
Joe left his calling card (Miney!) so I knew it was him.
Clearly not a fan of sponge (Joe ate all the icing off the top).
At least he was trying to clear it up (hot chocolate powder).
General food stashing - standard!
Making herself a crown!
I've most definitely had my fair share of 'incidents' over the past five years but I wouldn't have it any other way. On a plus side, my children are pretty independent little players with wild imaginations (this is to try and make myself feel better).
I have, however, had to spend a small fortune tackling my grey hairs, getting the carpets shampooed and keeping my stocks up on Flash magic erasers and Cif cream cleaner. But for me I'm happy just plodding along this motherhood journey, not stressing too much and remembering the importance of following good old mother's instinct. You don't need all those articles and books. Believe in your own judgement and what's best for your child.
Over and out. x