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Instructions not included - Imperfect parenting


One of the things I know for sure as a parent is that I’m constantly being challenged to look at myself—my reactions, my actions, my words, my purpose, my achievements, my fails and my regrets.


There is not a day that goes by where I don’t reflect on some aspect of my interactions with my mini. Many times I feel pretty damn proud of our relationship, and how I am with her and just as many times I don’t!


I’m her role model, it’s my actions and behaviours that she learns from and when I hear or see her imitate some of my more negative traits… the ones that I’m trying so desperately hard to overcome myself, I instantly feel wounded and shrouded in the dreaded ‘Mum Guilt’…


I know I’m not alone in this particular territory. I see enough on social media to support this ideal and have it corroborated in mum club often enough.


So let me reiterate this for those of you that can resonate with this particular post!


You are not alone!!


It is also OK!


It’s not great, but it is OK!


Parenting does NOT come with a set of instructions. They wouldn’t work anyway as every child is different… plus let’s be honest how many of us would read the bloody thing???


However for us imperfect parents there is hope!


Firstly, real honest positivity is key. Mum guilt island is a shit hole, so avoid that place and run off in the opposite direction like the clappers! Remember and acknowledge all those moments when you are truly parenting the shit out of life, write them down so that when your struggling you can look at them and you can be sure that you are not in fact a turd.


Nurturing, real genuine positivity isn’t about looking at life through rose tinted glasses, obviously acknowledge when a situation goes rats, so you can learn from it, you know my saying failure is feedback, feedback is learning, learning is growth!


Like I’ve said before the mind is continually under construction, therefore malleable. As we continue to try and teach our tiny humans how to regulate their emotions, we can also continue to help ourselves…


For instance my mini, she’s a chip off the old block, in more ways than 1, some aspects are positive and some er not so much.. like the fact that just like me she is extremely emotionally reactive.


Two emotionally reactive individuals can lead to seriously unhealthy and toxic situations… I know… it’s regrettably happened on more than one occasion… resulting in screaming, tantrums, snot and tears (not just from me either!).


I want to be better, for both of us and learning about myself and this particular dog egg trait, (that I’m emotionally reactive, also an empath and take on the moods of others too) during my own mental health journey has been pretty fucking enlightening.


This knowledge has enabled me to identify when these behaviours are happening, to look out for triggers and implement coping strategies. I now allow myself a moment to acknowledge my own feelings, cos yep I actually do matter and so do you.


Acknowledging my feelings enables me to take a step back and analyse the situation.


How do I do this in the midst of some mini drama over giving my tiny human a drink of juice in the wrong coloured cup? (A familiar sigh and eye roll here!).


Well… I simply walk away (where it is safe to) and when she follows I ask my mini to give mummy a moment to calm herself down… to my surprise my monster accepted this (defo a WTF moment when I first tried it, not gonna lie her acceptance threw me and made me forget why I was mad!).


Anyway this strategy has a multitude of benefits:

  1. It shows her that it’s ok to feel

  2. That's it’s ok to ask for time to process these feelings

  3. Role models Mummy regulating her emotions

  4. Gives you both the chance to have a few mins to calm down and facilitates an opportunity for actual communication instead of shrieking and unveiled threats!


Once I’ve got my bearings back I can then approach ladybug and the situation more objectively.

Firstly by acknowledging her feelings and experiences, validating them. Then by communicating with her the different ways within which we could have dealt with it better… (answer is generally talking to each other instead of screaming blue murder!).


I’m not gonna lie, it’s fucking hard! To undo lifelong behaviours whilst trying to prevent someone else from learning them?!


However I’ve been told that clothes lining your tiny human or locking them in the cupboard under the stairs like Harry Potter is very much frowned upon!


All jokes aside (I was definitely joking! Don’t go calling SS please!), it is definitely worth it…


Why? I hear the echoes of you saying…


Because it’s actually working!! This morning she asked me for a minute to calm down! #progress


There is no such thing as a perfect parent, they don’t exist! Fact.


We are all imperfect parents, whether we like it or not. We will all make mistakes along the way.




But as parents we do owe it to ourselves and the people we made to continue learning and to get to truly know ourselves.


Know ourselves well enough to identify and be aware of our imperfections and the effect these do or can have on our minis. Even if it hurts, even if it’s the hardest thing you have ever done or the biggest pill you have ever had to swallow.


The people we made did not ask to be brought into this world, we chose to bring them here and therefore have a responsibility to be the best versions of ourselves for them, as well as us.


This struggle is not over for me and my daughter (I‘m not as dumb or naive as I look! Honest!).


The challenges of parenthood will change and evolve with time. However I live in hope that I can continue on my own positive mental health journey and can remain strong enough to keep that one step ahead. Either by continuing my best to manage and regulate my own emotions or at least having the ability to check myself before I wreck myself. We both deserve that and so does my husband.


This notion of knowing yourself is the most valuable tool you can have in your toolbox. It is not just isolated to aid within the parenting arena of your life but in every arena.


I have spoken about it before with reference to military transition in the blog post ‘No.1 thing they don’t tell you in resettlement”.

If there is nothing else you take away from this blog, knowing yourself or even recreating yourself is the most powerful weapon you can have in your armoury.




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