Like many other families, my parenting journey has been a challenging one so far. No matter how hard life gets though, there have always been moments of wonderfulness, amid even the toughest of days. I find it useful to reflect back on these wins from time to time, regardless of how small or insignificant they might seem. I also keep the following three truths close, because they really do help me.
The older generation often have unhelpful rose tinted glasses on
Most Grannies and Grandpa's I know have serious amnesia when it comes to their own children, and would have you believe that they never had a sleepless night or battled potty training or other dramas we find stressful and difficult. Their well meaning memories of us mums and dads being 'no trouble at all' can lead to us having high expectations, and disappointment when our own kids fall short of the mark.
This type of banter can also filter down onto the other grandchildren (aka the cousins), which is inevitably going to leave someone feeling miserable and inadequate. I don't think they are being competitive on purpose, but this is the way it can come across. No-one wants to hear how well someone else's kid is sleeping in the midst of not having more than a few hours kip for months on end, even if you are related.
Nobody has the perfect family
In this modern day of over sharing all the best bits on social media it would be easy to think everyone else's kids are little angels. That they don't have temper tantrums or ever refuse to eat their dinner. That they were all using the toilet by the age of two without a single accident. Newsflash: most of it is pure fantasy.
Scratch the surface and you will realise that every single family has their problems. They just don't share them on SM. No-one is perfect and we should all stop pretending to be. Perhaps if we were more open about the shi**y bits of motherhood, real solidarity could occur. A problem shared is a problem halved after all.
Cohesion and consistency is the key to family success
Being on the same page as the other person/people bringing up your kids is absolutely essential, especially if there are behavioural problems. Children are perceptive and clever, and if they get a different answer from each person they ask the same question, they will naturally use this to their advantage. I'm becoming more convinced as the years go on that family happiness is all about teamwork.
I've decided to write a little mama mission statement this year, and as long as I manage to stick by my words then I know that I'll feel like I'm winning come December 31st.
I'm Reneé, a wife and mum of three, and I am not perfect. I will try my best in all I do this year, hopefully ensuring we have more ups than downs. I will not be afraid to admit when I'm wrong, or change the necessary for the greater good. I will keep my expectations realistic, and strive to ensure the whole family thrives and has a happy 2016.