Being true to yourself

I have debated within myself whether to write this post or not – it’s a bit off tangent than my normal crafts, activities, books and play activities but it’s something that I feel quite passionate about andย  I imagine as a parent I’m not the only one. Being true to yourself – what do I mean, well being the parent that I want to be and not what someone or I think everyone thinks that I should be or even the person that I want to be.

Being true to yourself or becoming the parent that you want to beThree years ago I had to stop work whilst pregnant with J, I was only 20 weeks pregnant and in a wheel chair with SPD (Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction) from that point on I had a lot of time to think and I made the decision during that time (well was 90% sure) that I wasn’t going to return to work after my maternity leave and instead I was going to become a Stay at Home Mum. A lot of things made the decison for me, not least because it was what I had grown up with and all memories I have of my early childhood are exciting, interesting and include doing stuff with my mum at home.

Childhood memories

Me and my mum in the late 70's

I knew from our 20 week scan that we were expecting a boy and that in all likelihood that he would be born in August making him one of the youngest in his school year and our county had stopped the staggered entry into school so he would be 4 years just when starting school. From my teaching experience and reading (Raising Boys is great to find out more about early childhood for boys) I knew that for us his best start would be coming from me being his primary care giver the majority of the time staying at home and also being his first teacher.

When T came along things didn’t change at all, my love for being a SAHM increased and I relished in the playing and the learning through play experiences that I was creating for them both each week. Then something changed and in the late Autumn I started to become something that I wasn’t. I tried to fit in with what I thought everyone else was, I found myself taking on things more and more and trying to be what I thought they wanted me to be – the reason sometimes it can be very lonely being a SAHM.

But over the last few weeks I have seen the light. After a week of trying to complete orders for a business venture that I started with a friend, learn a whole new web based content management system to me, build and design a website, be the mum that I wanted to be, look after my house like I always have and when T and J were both asleep actually sleep I ended up sick I was doing too much and something has to give and it was my health.

I made some decisions at that point I needed to return to being what I wanted to be and not what I thought others expected me to be. Much to my sorrow I have decided that now isn’t the right time for me to go into business, I’m content knowing what I know about the computer stuff that I do and when I have a problem will find the answer to it. But more important I can become the parent that I want to be to J and T and be true to myself.

I don’t mean Super Mum! I would never be that – I can’t lift a planet with a finger no matter how hard I try for a start. Instead I want to be a good enough Mum for them. I want them to remember this time we have together at home (and I realise that from now on for J some of the things that we do maybe lifelong memories for him – one of my earliest memories I was around 3 and he will be just that in the summer) with the same sort of feelings that I remember my own childhood at home with my Mum. It seems I’m not the only one that feels like this. My blogging friend over on Toddler Approved wrote a post that really hit home last week – SuperMom Debunked

So what does being me mean to me?

  • Dressing like me – yes I know it’s something that I should do anyhow, but I found myself trying to emulate how other people looked and also what I thought they think I should look like. I’m never going to be the smartly dressed mum I spend way too much time crawling around on the floor or jumping in puddles for that I need to return to what was me (I’m half of the woman that I was 2 and a half years ago and lighter than I was when I got married so I need to rediscover what is actually me now I can go and buy clothes in all the High Street Stores)
  • Get back to nature – one of my wishes has always been that my children would grow up to have the same love of nature and the outdoors that I do and yes to some extent they do but I think we need to connect more with it. Inspired by Famiglia & Seoul I have purchased Fifteen Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kidsto give me some ideas to get out every day and do something different with J and T

    Sea Turtle Biologist at work

    Me in my former life as a sea turtle biologist measuring an endangered Leatherback Sea Turtle hatchling as part of scientific research

  • Be me – take it or leave it I’m me, the one that has 2 children that is an attachment parenting mother, that cloth nappies when at home, that is child led, that has decided to be a SAHM instead of continuing with a successful career until the point when my children are old enough for me to return to work.
  • Prioritise my To Do List – I loved this post from Mom with a Lesson Plan in the week about To Do Lists and realised that indeed I had lost track but with my enlightenment a couple of weeks ago I was back on track. My To do list had become a complex list of activities, experiences, must do’s, have to do’s, want to do’s and very few of them were for my children – as I commented on the post. I made the decision to be a SAHM not to become a slave to my house – our house worked great when we worked so I’m keeping my household to do list the same as it’s always been (yes picking up toys and clearing up activities now feature on it as well), but instead to focus on activities and experiences for J and T as well as stuff that I want to do
  • Rediscover our rhythm – we used to have a flow to our days. I don’t mean that everything happened on the dot at the same time each day, but each day flowed like a stream following it’s course and each week like a river with twist and turns sometime fast paced and sometimes slow but that disappeared as I took on more and more. I’ve been reading The Rhythm of Family: Discovering a Sense of Wonder Through the Seasons and we need to find this in our own lives again.
  • Learn to say No – not to J and T I want to say more Yes’ to them, but to things that I don’t have time, energy or really want to do. I need to lose the feeling of letting people down – the only people that I don’t want to let down are J and T others I just need to say No to others.

So that’s me this is what I need to do… I need to be true to myself, to rediscover the me that I want to be, the parent that I want to be and not be what I believe others think I should be.

What about you – are you being true to yourself?

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Cerys is a marine biologist, environmental educator, high school teacher and now mum. She's passionate about supporting learning at school at home, bringing books alive, giving kids life skills and exploring the world around us sharing Creative, Family Friendly, Fun Ideas for the whole family on Rainy Day Mum

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  1. says

    What an honest post Cerys. My mum also took the decision to stay at home when my brother & I were small & I have such postive memories of this time. I don’t remember that we didn’t have a car or fancy holidays, all I do know is that I felt cherished. I had no problems going to school ever despite having been at home on a 1:1 basis & in my experience, children who have been at home with a parent or relative are always more sure of themselves than those who have been in larger group settings from an early age.
    Cherish every moment – you are lucky to have your beautiful children & be able to saty at home, Kierna
    Kierna Corr (@CiarnaC) recently posted..Watching the clouds go by.My Profile

    • says

      Thank you Kierna, I am glad that you have said that as I have been told a few times that I am making J miss out so much by him not attending nursery from the age of 9 mnths, 1, 18 months, 2 years etc….

  2. says

    Thank you Cerys, lovely post. planning on becoming a SAHM in the next few months (due #2 end of May), am very excited, if a little nervous. I wrote a post a while ago on my thoughtson this: i am still debating wether to take my LM (2.5) out of creche straight away when #2 is born, or keep him in a day or 2 mornings. will i cope in the early weeks with the 2 of them? my mum and hubby will be tag teaming it to help. oh what to do?or just take him out cold turkey and go with it. any thougts?
    Being a Mama recently posted..Looking forward to another Positive BirthMy Profile

    • says

      Making the decision to be a SAHM is hard – I think it’s almost not expected of us in today’s world we are supposed to be career women and working and employing someone else to look after our children… not my way of doing things at all.

      I had my husband at home with me for 2 weeks after T was born, he entertained J most of the time and I focused on T and then for 4 days of the following week my Mum and Dad helped out but they slowly got me doing more and more stuff. After that we were on our own from 7:30 in the morning till 5 at night at the earliest and I had 1 week before I could drive anywhere – it was challenge I won’t deny it and the first 6 months are a bit of a blur but I coped it’s possible to do.

      As to the creche – we made as little changes as possible when T arrived to J’s life as having a baby sister was a big enough change let alone anything else. The changes that we had to make, getting him in a bed instead of a cot, car seat changed we did well in advance so he didn’t connect it with her arriving. He was never in creche/nursery if he had been we would either of stopped him as soon as maternity leave started or more likely so I could have some time 1:1 with T left him in but reduce his hours giving him a break, keeping some normality and giving you a break as well to sleep when the baby sleeps as well.

  3. says

    Bravo Cerys. What better lesson to teach J & T than to be true to themselves. I will try to be true to myself too and not be superwomsn all the time. X

    • says

      That was my hint – I’ve spent most of the last month under the weather nothing serious but enough that on T’s first birthday I ended up in bed and missed the majority of it :( – it was one of the turning points realising that although she won’t remember it I will we made up for it the next day but it’s not something I want to repeat again

  4. says

    What a wonderful post helping to remind us to keep our eyes on the big picture…being true to yourself and your kids. Sometimes we get so caught up in what we should be doing or could be doing, that we forget to consider what our kids would want us to be doing with them. Thanks for mentioning our blog and linking back to us! I’m so glad that you also linked 30 Days to Hands On Play. I will be checking that out as well! So many great references to help all moms reconnect with themselves and their kids on their own terms!
    Gina recently posted..Day 15: Planting PotatoesMy Profile

    • says

      Really thank you – that book is great we went out for 15 mins today just to play in the garden nothing fancy and an hour and a half later when it started to rain we came back in covered in mud from digging to China

    • says

      My circumstances so far have always been the pivotal changing point but my circumstances haven’t changed I changed and needed to do it. I miss the sea turtle stuff sometimes but wouldn’t go back unless I could take my children with me to enjoy it

  5. says

    Lovely post and great that you shared these thoughts. When the time is right your career will benefit from all the skills you have gained from being a SAHM, but more importantly J and T will have benefitted from the best start in life. Keep jumping in puddles
    elsie recently posted..Two little dicky birds resource linksMy Profile

  6. says

    I find myself reflecting and regrouping periodically, but these thoughts I find are sometimes fleeting and I forget about them. I am inspired by your words, and the fact that you took the time and thoughtfully wrote out your intentions. I need to do more of that. Just sit and reflect, and write. Very nice! Thanks. I will have to go check out blog posts you recommend and the books!
    Carolyn @ Mama’s Little Muse recently posted..DIY Jump rope: Made from Marker Caps!My Profile

  7. Aries Cottrell says

    Wonderful post. I stayed home with my girls when they were young. We often look back fondly and laugh about the silly, games, plays, crafts and adventures we had. I do believe it gives kids a strong foundation, and it is important to their well being to have that!

    All the best to you!