Thursday, June 3, 2010

What Kind of Mummy Did You Plan To Be?

'Sup peoples,

Now, that's a strange kind of question, isn't it...? Not what kind of mummy (or mommy, as the case may be) are you now, but what kind of mummy did you plan to be? You know. Way back then. In the BC. The Before Children.

A Good one, I bet.

That's not to say that you're not a good mummy, of course. I'm willing to bet you are, most of us are. We do OK, most days. But back in the BC, I bet the plans for Good Mummy-ness went way beyond what you're achieving in your everyday Real Life at the moment.

I know mine did. My plans were huge. Not that I thought that at the time, they seemed easily attainable. To birth without an epidural or a c-section. To breastfeed. To be calm and patient. To have a toddler that ate raw vegetables. Or cooked vegetables. Or any kind of vegetables, really.

I think, back in the BC, I had plans for a craft activity every single day. Every. Single. Day. (Shush, down in the back, the people that actually do this. I have my hands over my ears and I'm not listening). I had plans for cooking muffins with grated carrot. Plans for bedtime stories before every nap. Plans for a clean, tidy house that smelled of lavender and fresh coffee, with elegantly scattered rattan baskets, stocked with educational wooden toys. Not enough toys to rot the children's brains, of course. Just enough to provide optimal stimulation.

While we're speaking of stimulation and brain rot; in the BC, TV was a very dirty word.

But we ain't in the BC anymore. Welcome to In Real Life Parenting- frenzied, shrill, disorganized and just hangin' on in there..

The reality of my parenting is so very different to how my plans were laid out. I did birth without an epidural, but only because it happened too quickly to allow one. I narrowly avoided a c-section with my first birth. We breastfeed, but that was thanks to nipple shields and sheer stubbornness. All those plans, not-quite-perfect already. And that was only the first few days.

Despite my best home-made-puree'd-vegetable-intentions, I am the mother of a toddler who will only eat yoghurt, sultanas, bananas, bread and tomato sauce. We do craft, on the days when my will is strong enough. It lasts all of 40 seconds before my little man is either drawing enthusiastically on the table, the wall or his sister; or has meandered off in search of more interesting things, like the dog's bed or the rocks in the bottom of the water fountain.

I cook packet mix cakes that smell like strawberry Hubba Bubba, rather than carrot and apple muffins. Bedtime stories are hit and miss. Between my two children, they own every plastic, talking, walking singing Fisher Price toy ever produced. And my Chop is obsessed with the TV and watches a good hour of the brain-sucker a day. All these, cannot be good things. Is it any wonder I know so much about the gosh-darn Wiggles?

And as for calm, kind and patient Mummy? Well, I am happy to say she is here most days. But other days Cranky Pants Mummy is most definitely lady of the manor. Shouting and grumbling all the way.

Things definitely have not gone as planned.

I like to tell myself that it's all alright. Goodness knows, there are people out there doing far worse things to their children than I. But then, other days, I sink into the required guilt and tepid regret. Where have I gone wrong? Is it too late to fix this slide, this tumble from the BC Parenting Plan? Does it even need fixing at all?

The answer? I'm still not sure. I love my kids. And they love me. I think, maybe, that means we're doing OK.

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Lady Astrid said...

I am so sleep deprived at the moment that I can't even remember what type of mum I planned to be. I do remember though when we were told of the 3 hour feeds and the amount that bubs sleep, that I thought of all the work I could do from home whilst bub sleep. Boy was I an idiot, took me till she was 1yo before I could even think straight enough to work.

Sam said...

thanks for dropping by my blog for PINT, lori.

me? i planned on being a "stepford" wife and mom, 2 kids later, i am the exact opposite. i sit in front of the computer longer than the hours i get to play and take care of the kids because of work. i would much rather sleep than tell them a bedtime story.. funny how things turn out in the world we call "reality".

lori said...

Girl, you are singing my song these days. Wait until they hit their teens and they go through stuff you never went through or ever thought your own kids would go through because only kids from "bad" houses go through that. Then they are going through it and dragging you with them. That's when you begin to seriously question your parenting.

On a lighter note, I think your kiddies had their own plans in the womb and I think things are going EXACTLY according to those plans. They have a mummy who loves them and tries very very hard to be as good a mummy as she can be. Ok? Ok. (to steal your words) :-)

lori said...

Oh, and I forgot - award for you if you want it:

HappyJacki said...

I'm having one of those "Mummy is a psycho" days today and your post has captured everything that I've been thinking to myself. Thanks for making me feel not-so-alone!

Marlene said...

My parenting plan certainly didn't include having a pregnant 17 year old....but I'm sure my mother's didn't either!
Loving your blog Lori :)

Wanderlust said...

omg, your BC plan sounds almost *exactly* like mine. Except I think my reality is probably a little further from it than yours is, given that I work full-time and my kids watch more than an hour of TV a day on the week-ends. And oh yeah, a divorce, that wasn't part of my plan either. What can I say, we just wing it as we go!

Justine said...

bwah ha ha ha ha. Your plan BC sounds exactly like my plan bc. The only other detail is that I was going to have a Program (teacher-talk) for our craft.. ha ha ha. Have it all planned out so the toys got rotated, the craft & associated skills got rotated; the gross motor skills all got covered, and a zillion other things - and I developed the perfectly well-balanced and skilful princess belonging only to my imagination.
I think the real-life version is heaps more fun.
Especially at your house! :)

Katt said...

I had no plans to be a Mum at all. I'm in for a really big shock.

Melissa said...

I read this post and couldn't help smiling and noddng at pretty much EVERYTHING you've mentioned, even the nipple shields! I also remember tearing out a magazine recipe for muffins with grated carrot once - who knows where that's gone, behind my Betty Crocker packet cup cake mixes perhaps ;).

Kimberly said...

Lori, you rock the house!! I am so glad that you wrote about this!! I think that us moms have such unrealistic expectations and when we fail to live up to them, we beat ourselves up. In reality, we are not all perfect, but we are trying our darndest to raise our children the best we know how to. I think that we should all praise ourselves for that! PS. No one ever died from eating cakes from a box!! LOL!!

Lulu said...

I am a new mummy but thank god you posted this- I do not feel so bad. I read at least one story a day to Noah but had planned so much more.

I do baby sign sporadically when I had planned to do it from birth ALL THE TIME.

I had planned to wait til 6 months to do solids. And I didn`t.

I had planned not to let him watch any tv that wasn`t in English yet some mornings the tv is on the Japanese kids shows.

I had also planned to NEVER speak to him in Japanese but sometimes I do- especially in front of others because they sometimes get annoyed if they don`t understand me (And I know I shouldn`t care but I do)

Glad to hear I am not alone. SOunds as if you are an awesome mum though. Hopefully Noah will not be scarred by my mothering in the long term...

Teacher Mommy said...


Actually, it's kind of dangerous to go down the Super Mom path. It's why I went three years undiagnosed with high-functioning PPD. And why I was so ashamed to admit I had a problem.

Thea said...

Ugh, I don't even want to think about how different the kind of mum I thought I'd be and the mum I actually am are. (Does that make sense?)

I'm just happy if they're healthy and happy, that's good enough for me.

Sarah said...

Another one who's plan sounded just like yours. Except I started off way worse - epidural, then c/s and on day three the dreaded formula!!! But I think my kids are ok, happy & healthy so that's the main thing ;)

Draft Queen said...

I didn't give it much thought. Of course I had my oldest when I was 18 so I guess that's to be expected. Now that I'm plotting a possible 3rd (with my current youngest already 9) I find myself planning all the things I'd do differently, knowing mothering plans fall apart.

Of course, next time the plan is the new daddy would be the SAHD so maybe he's the one who should read this post as a primer.

JourneyBeyondSurvival said...

Psh. Yeah. I wanted to be Martha Stewart, the Teacher from the Magic School Bus, and Nicole Kidman sexy. That landed me right into PostPartumPsychosis. Yeah. The scary one. Add to that a child with special needs, and the PLAN has splatted right onto my own windshield of the Unplanned minivan.

In Real Life said...

Oh my gosh! I was such a wonderful parent BC! In Real Life, I try my best, learn as I go, and make tons of mistakes along the way.

Jodie at Mummy Mayhem said...

Ah, so very true of my life too! Although, I do admit to making some great carrot & zucchini muffins. Email me for the recipe if ya want. ;) x

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