I have surprised myself with this whole mothering thing. I think my mothering style is an extension of my personality and of who I am and the way that I choose to mother Ava reflects directly back too the type of person I am.
I like to think that I’m cool, calm and collected. And while I am very emotional, I don’t panic easily or sweat the small stuff to any great extent. I don’t live and breathe parenting books or parenting courses, I trust my instinct and trust and believe that ultimately I know what is best for Ava-Grace and her well being. I am of the school of thought that people have been breeding and parenting through out the ages and while theories may change, the fundamentals remain the same. I’m young at heart and have a great sense of fun which translates into being able to have fun with my child. I think all in all we’re doing a fairly good job. We have a thriving 14 month old who is clearly a happy and well balanced child.
I also believe in everything in moderation and that is exactly why I did not have a heart attack about Ava-Grace using things like walking rings or eating a vienna sausage from time to time. I don’t want her to grow up with food issues and that is exactly the reason why I have refused to make food an issue in her life. I will not shovel food down her throat nor will I refuse her things like sweets at a birthday party or on special occasions or when Granny brings a sweetie for her.
While we have been routine orientated, because it made my life easier, our routine has never been overly rigid and has allowed us to continue on with a fairly normal and functional social life. We can go out in the evenings because if Ava-Grace goes to bed an hour later once in a while, it makes zero difference to her. We can go out during the day over her nap times because she has learned, through our parenting, to nap in her pram when necessary and as she’s gotten older she is able to forgo some of her naps when we’re on an outing.
I have chosen to live what I consider a balanced life as a mother. While always having Ava’s needs as my number one priority, Walter and I have still made time for each other, without Ava and we have “me” time as well. I’ve blogged about this before, but I still have my hair done fairly regularly, I still go for my monthly pedicure and I enjoy a day at the spa from time to time. In addition, I have monthly get-togethers with the BB’s (more on them tomorrow) and I go to Pilates twice a week. It has always been important to me that Ava-Grace grow up knowing that when she is a mother one day, she can be a good mother and wife and still lead a fulfilling life, she does not need to martyr herself for her family.
I work reduced office hours (9am – 3pm) which gives me extra time with Ava-Grace in the mornings and the afternoons. Granted, our weeks are full and very very hectic, between Ava’s swimming lessons and Kinder Music and my pilates, we are busy every day of the week except Fridays.
But I am happy! I have a high paying job I love! I have a fulfilling schedule full of different activities. The time I take for me is what makes me a better mother. Sure it takes me away from Ava for a couple of hours a week but in return she gets a mother who is healthy and strong in both mind, body and spirit, not overly anxious or overbearing.
Of course, all of these things are what make me a better person, all of these things are what make me a better mother. But they are not necessarily what will work for other mothers. Each one of us has our own unique mothering style. Each one of us has our own way of doing things and of seeing things that works best for our individual lives and families.
But the thing that has really bothered me since becoming a mother is the judgment. Oh Lord, the judgment that comes at me from every angle.
From my mother and my mother-in-law, because I choose to mother Ava in a different way to the way they chose to mother their children.
From childfree friends – because as the joke goes – enjoy having an opinion on parenting while you’re childree because its the last time you’ll have all the parenting answers! 🙂
And worst of all – from other mothers! And this is the one that gets me the most. This is the one that p*sses me off the most! Those
subtle statements that are meant as judgments mean that I constantly have to remind myself that I need to do what makes me happiest and what works for my family and how I choose to parent my child and how I choose to spend my time has very little to do with anyone else.That I don’t have to measure my successes as a mother or my child’s development by the standards that others have set.
And so while they sigh in indignation as Ava chops on a vienna sausage, while running riot in a walking ring and they glare down at my freshly painted toenails and tut-tut as I regale them of my latest pilates/spa/hair salon adventure, I can shrug my shoulders and confidently state that what works for me possibly won’t work for you nor will what works for you possibly won’t work for me!