What Kind Of Parent Do You Want To Be?
Being a parent today is such a knackering, conflicted thing that you don’t often have time to think about the kind of parent you’d like to be. The past two weeks I’ve been a grumpy parent. The parent that finds everything irritating. I have sighed a lot and on bad days I’ve had a frown from dawn till dusk. I’m worried if someone filmed me I’d be a case study on one of those Channel 4 documentaries where a Super Human/Nanny/Psychologist steps in and tells me everything I’m doing is wrong.
At the end of a long day the last thing I want to do is pick up a parenting advice book. It’s bad enough that I’m learning to drive at the moment and have to memorise all the boring multiple-choice stuff in my theory test book. Besides all these books give conflicting advice. I sometimes read a little but then get anxious and go back to my driving theory.
At least there is only one way to drive a car.
Last week I had a day when everything went wrong. I won’t go into detail but let’s just say I was so angry that I threw some of my partner’s clothes out the bedroom window. They landed in the recycling bin. His shorts were annoying me, the way they lay there on the dressing table so insouciantly and then his socks curled up in an extremely combative manner. It was just after this that I flopped down on the bed. ‘Why do I always seem to be at the end of my rope?’ I asked the broken Peppa Pig hairclip stuck between my toes. ‘Why am I so grumpy?’ I shouted at the Teddy who was wearing my brand new Bobbi Brown lipstick all over his face.
‘What kind of parent do I really want to be?’ I said to the duvet smeared in Marmite (Marmite looks very bad on white duvet covers. It basically looks like you don’t use loo roll).
Anyway I made a short list.
This list basically details the kind of parent I’d like to be.
- I want to be the kind of parent that’s firm but fair. Some days it feels like all I’m saying is NO. Do I want to be that parent? NO!
- I want to be a parent who can think up good threats for bad behaviour that aren’t just about ‘not getting an ice cream tomorrow’
- I want to be the kind of parent that can leave mess and not feel anxious about it
- And the kind of parent who comes in from work and instead of seeing this mess, is able to ignore it and play with her daughter
- I don’t want to be the kind of parent that competes with other parents about how cute/talented my kid is and gets them to act out funny things in front of an audience (I have done this and I hate myself)
- I want to be the kind of parent that accepts sleep deprivation and doesn’t fight the idea
- And the kind that laughs a lot (not just ruefully or sarcastically either)
- I want to be a patient, loving parent at least eighty-nine percent of the time. Or let’s say ninety
- And a parent who tries transcendental meditation (apparently it really works and can totally stop you from being grumpy and throwing stuff out the window)
- I want to be a parent that doesn’t check my phone constantly (sometimes I find myself looking at photos of my daughter whilst I’m playing with her which feels totally wrong)
- I want to be the kind of parent who realises that daytime drinking isn’t as much fun as drinking at night (whatever other parents tell you when you’re sitting in their garden)
- I want to be the kind of parent that isn’t made to feel inadequate by a dreamy photo on Instagram of a well-behaved toddler sitting on an Angora blanket in the South of France, wearing a 70 quid romper suit, eating quinoa salad with dill for lunch
- I want to be a parent who can drive
Okay a lot of it is all about what I DON’T WANT TO DO/BE but it’s a start. Everyone’s definition will be slightly different. Maybe you want to be a parent who laughs from the moment they wake up in the morning till the moment they go to bed. Or the kind that loves spending 70 quid on a romper suit and stuffing their kid with dill.
What kind of parent do you want to be?
Go on. Try and write your own list.
It might just stop you from throwing your partner’s clothes out the window.