Parenting – we don’t need a book to tell us! 

Every parent worries if they are doing the right thing for their children, right? . It’s a question you ask yourself again and again all day long, is it ok to skip the bath today? Is it ok if he fell asleep before he brushed his teeth? Is it ok if he wants to go to the shops dressed like a dinosaur even though it’s not Halloween and he’s not even on route to a fancy dress party? Is it ok that he has fizzy with lunch? That he watches a movie with a rating above PG or U? 

I mean, really the list of queries is never ending. I’ve heard every parent, including my own say at least once ” well nobody ever gave me a book and told me how to do this parenting thing”. It doesn’t make you a bad person to not know the answers, to accidentally make a mistake every now and then, that’s life and we don’t need a book. Your children will let you know if your getting it right. 

As you all know I have spent the last 8 months away from Juan and some of my “am I doing the right thing” questions have got a little more deep. For example, will it have affected him that we left daddy behind for this amount of time? Is that why he hates saying goodbyes to people now and practically doesn’t do it? Is that in turn going to have an affect on his abilities to maintain healthy relationships when he’s an adult? Should I have just stayed in Colombia so we could all be together? Is it a problem that he’s not socialised with hardly anyone other than me and other adults this last month? Should he have more friends by now? Or at least 1 friend? When with those kids I teach, is it normal for him as the youngest (not even 3 yrs yet) to complain that the boys are being silly and naughty as they are playing fighting? Is it fair for me to work, but take him with me as I have no one else to look after him? How will this affect him when he’s at school all day and then having to ‘go to work in the evenings’? 

You see, it’s deep and there’s loads more fears / questions I have, but I’m going to spare you all my thoughts, mainly as it would most likely bore you, and secondly because for the first time in a long time my boy has actually gone to sleep before 10.30pm and so I want to finish this post so I can have some ME time! 

You see all kids do the occasional bad things, like refusing to listen to you, or not talking politely, not helping you with anything, just like all parents make mistakes (yes I’ll admit I laughed when Niko fell over the other day and said “shit” – and yes I have thought more about my swearing since that incident!) 

So what’s the bottom line, how do we know that we’re doing ok? How do we reassure ourselves so that we can sleep at night knowing we have not ruined their chances of being something great or having the perfect family themselves one day………knowing I am 100% not raising the next famous serial killer……

Well there’s no book, there’s no answers, there’s no scale to measure their abilities and besides everyone is different right? 

Juan, Niko and I, will once again be a family in 5 days time, and yes I’ve had some doubts about how it will be when Juan sees what I’ve done (or not done with Niko) in the 8 months we’ve been away. 

How he’ll adjust to my parenting skills, how I will feel if he’s not happy with the way I talk to Niko or the fact that I do sometimes give him fizzy with dinner, or that I laught at him when he’s being stupid, or for even using the word stupid (I know Juan hates it but I say it so naturally- sorry!) 

But I’ve got all my answers, those moments of clarity that come out the blue that make me realise that actually my kid is something special. Those moments or beautifully sweet things he does are like little sections of his life that I wish I could capture and re-watch every time I want re-assurance. 

I mean he knew not to be bribed into giving my keys away to some child on the sea-saw, he, with only a little bit of encouragement had the confidence to go up to a group of kids and try to play with them even though they were bigger than him. It impressed me that he wanted to ask the daddy of some kid if he could use his bike and not just take it coz he knew stealing is bad, that he knew when the big kids were fighting that it was something “silly”. 

It’s not only those things-  he’s turning 3 years old in 2 weeks time and I’m so proud that he has road sense- he follows the red and green man at crossings, knows to stop and look at zebra crossings, knows we can’t walk in roads, he knows how to flag down the bus we catch to work and from one block away can navigate us home. 

He understands that when someone is hurt or sick we help them and are gentle and kind, he knows human emotion and is concerned for people that are not happy- he even asked me why the man on the street was sad, and when I explained that it was probably because he had no money for food and maybe he was hungry, Niko then said “I can give the man my money” and proceeded to give the man the change that I had put in his pocket! 

It’s those amazing thoughts that cross his mind each day that have him asking me 100 questions, then the repetition of going over it until he’s convinced he knows about it and can talk about it correctly. 

He is currently in the process of trying to determine the difference between natural light and electricity, I have to constantly explain why he has to sleep at night if there is sunshine in the house, I’m sure one day he will understand that we use light indoors, because it’s dark, and that’s ok, but that we can’t just turn off the sunshine when he’s too hot and there’s no shade to walk in during the day! 

I mean there is just so many reasons to get caught up on the “what if I’m doing this whole parenting thing wrong” self questions, 

But I think the trick to knowing that your doing ok, is if like mine, your child is happy, confident, kind, understanding, keen to learn, annoying as hell each time he wants to know something, healthy and passionate for everything he does, determined to be independent, and has the ability to make you smile when you least want to (like at 6am when the sun comes up and he’s singing “morning mummy, wake up, I loveeeee you, mummy I want a kiss and a hug and sunshine kisses pleassseeeee!” )

Yes I know we will have problems in the future, yes I know there will be things Juan and I each disagree on in terms to Niko’s upbringing, but I think in whichever situation we are in, if we can communicate our thoughts together AND to Niko then we will be ok. Afterall it’s important for kids to understand about making decisions and learning consequence right – Niko learned that he really will get a shaved head if he asks mummy for “hair like daddy” and now he’s living with his choice. 

And whatever, if we totally screw up on Niko, then we always have child 2 to get it right with huh?! 

Good luck parents, single parents, and wannabe or future parents – you’ll all be fine, just don’t always focus on the bad, the bad will always happen but the good will always outweigh it if you let it! 

And thank you Niko, for showing me my errors and  rewarding me with your awesomeness when I get it right!