What's your parenting type? Are you Grumpy Mum? Angel Dad? Touchy, Spirited or Textbook? Or are you - like me - 'Split Personality?'
The Baby Whisperer, Gina Ford and Annabel Karmel were my gurus throughout the early weeks and months of our eldest daughter's life. Their scriptures were at times sacred, routines uncompromised, mantras recurrent. And for the first two and a half years of our parenting journey, sanity prevailed.
Enter: Daughter 2. A feisty, raging, routine destroyer, sleep stealer, non-eater. And enter: the emergence of my ongoing inner battle, my ever conflicting parenting type: 'Split Personality Mum'. At this point I must add how I fully appreciate boundary setting, consistency, routine, being firm but fair. Hell, I used to teach this stuff in a former role. So not in a million years did I ever anticipate I'd be amalgamating two hugely contrasting characters that were ever present in my own childhood to define my conflicting parenting type. With some trepidation let me introduce to you....
The Maria Mum:
How do you solve a problem like Maria? Well, you don't. Maria Mum displays parenting at it's finest (cue Facebook / Twitter / Instagram smug posts, yep, see everyone, I can DO this Mummy thing). On a 'Maria Mum day' I'll sing, dance, bake, brighten the household with my sunny disposition. I'll while away the hours trekking over grassy mountain tops, guitar in hand, picnic hamper in the other, teaching my little poppets their scales and then be up until the early hours recalling a few of their favourite things in order to overcome their thunder phobia.
I may draw the line at Clothkit style curtain pinafores but I'll joyfully dust off the sewing machine and rustle up a ghost costume from a white sheet whistling a merry tune whilst planning the next craft activity.
Swim in lakes? Yes. Climb trees? While singing?? Of course! Smile sweetly and chuckle upon finding a frog in my pocket and a pinecone up my bum? Puppet shows? Yes, yes, and YES!
So, when asked 'My dear is there anything you can't do?' you'd have thought I'd stumble. But actually... try as I might, I just can't seem to silence my inner Baroness Schraeder.
The Baroness Schraeder Mum:
On the Baroness days I feel finicky and fussy around my children. Whilst I'm harmless I do confess to harboring occasional fantasies about sending them off to boarding school - 'Darling, haven't you ever heard of a delightful little thing called boarding school?' Anything to avoid those tedious ball games in the garden which conclude with a basketball to my abdomen and a hasty retreat back to the terrace where I prefer to sip martinis with my charming and witty companions whilst musing over tales of the high life.
I want to be dining in posh restaurants wearing uber glam frocks without grubby children draped all over them (wearing their own snot smeared drapes of sorts), hair styled to perfection, oozing sophistication, not a pritt stick, a harmonica or a mushy cheerio in sight - oh, and without raisins lurking in the bottom of my glitzy handbag either.
I'm dignified, calm and controlled - not cold as some may describe the Baroness - but you certainly won't catch me belting my heart out on the hillside about doors closing and windows opening; nor will you find me splashing about in the shallows of the lake post capsize whilst supposedly in loco parentis. Nor will I be slinking off back to the abbey at the first sniff of love. I really am a hopeless romantic after all.
So, what do I do about this parenting dilemma I find myself in? Should I banish the Baroness? Be the permanent flibbertigibbet, will-o'-the wisp, the clown? The perfect Maria Mum? Or maybe just a pure and simple, balanced female? For now, that suits me. But when my split personality parenting type becomes multiple and traits of the Captain start creeping in, I may, with whistle in hand, think again.
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