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 and 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.
Three 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.
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?
- A hands on Mum - I'm going to go back and go through the 30 Days of Hands on Play that The Imagination Tree and Hands on as we grow did back in November to get back on track
- 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
- 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?