I go to boot camp every Saturday morning with two of my very lovely friends. It starts at 8am, yes 8am on a Saturday. But honestly it is the best way to start the weekend. Its hard and most of the time I think I might be sick, even without a hangover. I always have a coffee before I go otherwise my legs feel like lead. Is that actually a thing? Legs that are addicted to caffeine? Anyway although the coffee helps my legs, it also makes me need a poo second lap of the warm up run. I then laugh through the rest of the bootcamp with my friends about the fact I drank that coffee and that it gave me a turtlehead for the rest of the class. I get home and its barely 9 am and the endorphins are flowing. The endorphins scare the demons away and make me a better parent and a nicer wife.
Anyway the inspiration for this post came from a chat we had in the car to and from Bootcamp. Can I just point out that its about a 4 minute drive to bootcamp, probably 8 with pick ups and drop offs. Somehow in that short time the three of us manage to put the world to rights and have some good deep and meaningfuls. I think its because the collective 8 kids between us aren’t actually there.
The journey there is always picking apart the week we just had and one particular Saturday morning my friend Sarah was feeling low about not enjoying her daughters 4th birthday. She had a made loads of effort, decorations, thoughtful pressies, an all important cake, but it all went wrong and she found herself screaming silently to herself in the ladies loos later that day. Her little girl hadn’t even noticed the negative stuff but Sarah was being really hard on herself. She then started to talk about a calm parenting course she was considering doing. Now to me, my friend is a brilliant mum to her 2 beautiful girls. She is calm, kind, funny and she would move heaven and earth for them. I am also a firm believer that as an individual we make our own choices and I will always support and respect anything anyone wants to do or spend their money on (unless its illegal of course) Chatting to my friend about this made me question my own parenting and moods and feelings and how they affect my kids. It also made me wonder why Sarah felt she needed to do this course.
Everyone is different but since I have become a freelance mama I have found that I’m a much more patient parent. Don’t get me wrong I can be seriously grumpy at times. There are other times where I have been asked for stuff so much that I flip my lid. I mean seriously flip it, where it bounces off the ceiling. But I don’t think this is going to give my kids any lasting damage. I said to my lovely friend to do the course if she felt it was going to make her feel calmer and confident but I also wanted her to not be so hard on herself. I told her this. I think so many of us parents these days are really bloody tough on ourselves. Especially us mamas. From our life affirming boot camp drives I know that these two particular friends are really hard on themselves, as am I. We are expected to be great mums, wives, friends, sisters and colleagues. Its not just that we are expected to be, we want to be and quite frankly sometimes its just too fucking much.
Its not going to do our precious kids any harm to see some light and shade. Its also not going to break their tiny ears or mean they will be a serial offender if they hear the occasional F bomb. What it means is that we are human. It teaches them that actually mummy can get sad and can quite rightly get really cross and shout if they don’t pick up their fucking dressing gown after having been asked 22 times. It teaches them that sometimes the consequences don’t just affect them.
Occasionally when I wake up there is a black cloud, I just cant seem to shake it and on these days I’m going to be a moody wotsit. I give my kids warning, it doesn’t necessarily make any difference to them but I feel a bit better about being a grumpalo if I’ve given them some notice. Kids push us, my kids spend the whole day gently nudging me to the edge of snapping. They are never quite satisfied and will always push for a bit more… an extra biscuit, another story, 5 more minutes at the park and I test myself to see if I can say yes more times in a day than I say no. But I always get to the NO in the end and there is nothing wrong with this. We can be kind, gentle and fun parents and still get irrationally cross, still drop the occasional F bomb. Our kids wont be damaged, they will still be happy (and occasionally annoying of course) and be a bit more rounded. So to my lovely friend, you do that course if it will make you feel happier and calmer but I bet everything they tell you is what you already know and do. But that in itself is worth it. Sometimes we just need a bit of affirmation.