Things to Remember on a “Bad Mummy” Day

I just started writing down a few things that I need to remember when I’m having a “bad mummy” day. You know the days, right? You’ve had argument after argument. You realise you forgot to wash their school jumper and it still has dinner down the front. Or any of a thousand variations on those themes.

These are the things I should remember to stay sane on those days. Other suggestions are welcome! 🙂

  • It is possible to do “being a parent” wrong. It is not possible to do “being a child” wrong. If I need my child’s behaviour to change, then it has to start with my behaviour changing.
  • Even if I’m doing everything right, I will still have arguments with my child. In fact, if I’m never arguing with my child, I’m almost certainly doing something wrong.
  • It is not possible to do everything right.
  • “Quality time” is not about educational activities, it’s about focusing on my child. I need to put away my phone, my blackberry, my worries, my expectations, and pay attention to what my child wants to tell me.
  • The only way to be a sane parent is to look after myself as well as my child. Plus, my child needs to know that other people have needs too.
  • There is no such thing as “all my work being done”. That is equally true of my job and the housework.
  • Whatever I do, someone will disapprove, and someone else will know a better way. Several of these people will be in my own family. I’m still entitled to make my own choices.
  • The best moments ever aren’t the ones I planned. They’re the ones when I just suddenly notice how incredibly lucky I am. I need to leave time to do that.

And, above all:

  • There is no such thing as a perfect mummy. There will always be “bad mummy” days. And my child will be just fine anyway.

Resolutions for 2013

FAQ: Why am I posting my resolutions on the 1st of March? Isn’t it too late? 

A: Well, there are still 10 months left in the year to get stuff done. Why would I not want to think about what to do with them?

My idea of resolutions is that they’re things to achieve by the end of the year, not things to do every day from day 1. It’s just not realistic to make an overnight change, nor to do everything at once. Planning to start all your good intentions on Jan 1st seems foolish.

So this is my plan for what I’d like to achieve by the end of 2013. In December, I’ll come back and review what I’ve done and not done, and hopefully I’ll have made good progress.

That being cleared up, what are my goals for 2013? This year, my overall focus is on cleaning up my life and making the little stuff easier. So my focuses are health and fitness, and lifestyle.

Health

Cut out caffeine. No ifs, no buts. When I drink caffeine, everything else goes wrong. I get sugar crashes, eat junk food, don’t sleep properly, feel tired and cross, get headaches… It’s not good for me. I rarely drink caffeine now, but I need to stop the occasional lapses. That’s really a pre-requisite for everything else on this list.

Eat less sugar. LOTS less sugar. Sugar is very, very bad for us. There’s some evidence that it is sugar, not saturated fat, that gives us high cholesterol in our bloodstream. It’s on a par with having a smoking habit. I personally know this, but still eat too much sugar – generally when I’m tired or have had caffeine. I’m aiming to cut that, too. The occasional piece of dark 80% chocolate is okay, but sweets, cakes and biscuits can go. That’ll make a huge difference to my health, my weight, my energy levels, and my moods. Again, if I don’t manage this one, I won’t manage the next one.

Exercise – strength and cardio, at least 3 times a week. If you want to know why, “Younger Next Year” is a great read explaining this. But essentially, exercise makes me feel better, makes me younger, makes me healthier, makes me happier. I know this, and still I skip it when I’m tired. I want to improve. Will I reach perfection? Unlikely. But I want to be better by the end of the year.

Lifestyle

Tidy and simplify my stuff. Get rid of things I don’t need. Have less junk. Contrary to what the IKEA adverts say, the key to organisation is NOT “having more storage”. It’s having less stuff. We have a problem in the West that we have access to lots of stuff, cheap. It’s easy to convince ourselves that we need it – and then it clutters up our houses and gets in our way. Okay, I’m generalising again, maybe it’s just me. But I bet it’s not. Anyway, the key to having a clean, tidy house AND spending less time tidying – clear out the junk!

Plan my relaxation time (to make sure I get some). I tend to over-schedule myself. If I have a day free, I’ve generally already planned at least 3 different things to do with the time. Unless I make sure that relaxing is on my to-do list, it may never happen. Ditto for clothes shopping, exercise, and sleep.

Get enough sleep. As above. This is in turn a pre-requisite to avoiding caffeine and sugar, since those are my ways of staying awake when I haven’t had enough sleep.