We do so much for our children, wipe their bums, their noses, hear their screaming, comfort them in the early hours, go insane coming up with ideas to entertain them and spoil them regularly with a new wardrobe (kids clothes are far too cute. They dress better than us. Seriously). Although our toddlers are learning manners, we’re trying at least, they’re unable to outwardly say ”OMG mummy you’re so amazing, thank you, thank you, thank you” or ”that meal you made was sublime, well done you”. Instead, I take gratitude from their smiles, kisses and ”cheers mummy” (I honestly don’t know where ‘cheers’ came from). Quiet is also a sign I’ve done something right, or they’re doing something very, very wrong.
The best way to explain this is, when you go to school, college or work and you put your heart and soul into something. You put all the effort imaginable into a project, for it to be handed in to a teacher or manager. The reward for all your effort is feedback, you’ll be told you’ve done a great job and you’ll be recognised. Being a parent you’re recognised, of course, as their mum. But, after all the effort you put into their health, cleanliness, happiness, food – the list goes on, you’re met with silence. There’s no way to tell if you’re doing a good job, until they’re older and good people.
Does that make sense?
Nobody else can say ”good job” or give me a pat on the back other than them and Mr F, which he does, all the time, on their behalf and his own. I wouldn’t expect Linda in Sainsburys to randomly comment on how well-dressed and clean my children look, although that’d be nice.
Linda, if you’re reading…….
My children are sometimes the only people I see or speak to all day, they are my sole purpose, I’m a stay at home mum see, and my success in life and parenting is measured by them. Silly, maybe, but my days revolve around pleasing my two baby buddies. I appreciate the way they show me their gratitude with love, but, wouldn’t it be cool if they could go over the top and say how grateful they are for the things we do for them, just like we thank them every time they stop hitting each other and pee on the potty.
”Good boy for using the potty and not hitting your sister when she walked past you”
Meals. Our meals are pre-planned. I sit down once a week and consult with recipe books and ideas of what to cook for everyone, morning, noon and night. I then write a shopping list. I then re-write the shopping list according to where everything is in the shop (does anyone else do this, I’ve been told this is a huge time-waster, but lapping around the supermarket with two fractious children is worse? No?). I then take both children shopping. Sometimes ends well, sometimes ends in tears.
If you see me pushing a trolley with a screaming child in it. Please don’t talk to me. They’re just having a moment and I may be on the brink of tears because of it. Don’t risk your safety.
The next step is cooking and serving these delicious meals, that I’ve taken time to plan. Sometimes a good couple of hours goes into prepping such meal. Sometimes I marinade stuff, so that counts as like a day prepping. It’s then put into their little Mickey and Minnie Mouse bowls and onto their trays. The toddler will pick and poke at most meals before demanding something else, doesn’t eat that eaither and the baby face-plants nearly every meal. I’m sometimes hit with a ”don’t like it”.
Are they being serious?
It’s ok, I know they enjoy most of what I make, especially when it’s from a box, like fishfingers (I will take credit for fishfingers, I switched the oven on, I decided how many fingers everyone gets – I know how that sounds, but, you know what I mean).
So, for the meals that make them demand ‘more’ I’d love it if they said ”mummy, that was so delicious, I know you spent ages making it, so I will eat every last bit”. Wouldn’t that be sweet. But for now, a finished plate is all the thanks I need. Half finished is a slap in the face, kid, eat your peas.
Days out. Our outings, whether the three of us or with Mr F too, are meticulously planned out. I try to time things around naps, so to avoid any over-tired psychotic behaviour, it’s timed around meals too, a hungry child is almost as bad as a tired one. I have to pack us a lunch and some kind of entertainment. The potty journeys with us everywhere and so does my bag of tricks. Tricks being wipes, nappies, juices, the essentials.
The vast majority of our days out is at some point met with, whining, disapproval of something or tantrum. I’ve had two years of this and it catches me off guard every time. But, that’s what happens, you can’t please all the kids all the time (that’d be boring and too easy). The day surrounding any tantrum is always really pleasant and fun, our days out are aimed at the children, they are for the children. We take them to soft play, farms and castles, sure we enjoy them, but we also enjoy ziplining, eating in restaurants, comedy shows and we’d never do any of those with children.
We attempt restaurants when we’re feeling stupid. They say the more often kids eat in a restaurant the better they’ll behave. I don’t know who they are, but they should take our children to a restaurant. There’s no breaking in their dining etiquette, it’s luck of the draw.
Toddlers don’t understand the way we see days out. They just get dressed by someone, get hoisted into a car-seat and arrive somewhere for a day. Whether they enjoy it or not is up to them. All we can say is we tried. But wouldn’t it be nice to get home and to be thanked for taking them somewhere. Sometimes I feel my efforts are wasted (I know they’re not, days out are much better than days in). It’s almost as if we arrive home and the entire day is forgotten, they’re instantly distracted by the post on the mat or the cats tail dangling on the stairs.
I look forward to the first time they say their gratitude after a day out by talking about it non-stop.
”Omg, thanks for today, sorry I threw a massive meltdown and laid on the floor though, just fancied a rest”
For now I’ll browse through the pics of them smiling and know they did appreciate it. Well, it’s rare to get them smiling, or even looking at the camera. They’re mostly just photos of them in different locations.
At night. We have one baby that wakes for a night feed and one that wakes occasionally from a bad dream. Every night we tend to at least one of our children. When I hear that baby monitor start to grizzle, my first thought is, please God spare me tonight. Then I drag myself into whoever is calling and feed them or hug them.
If it’s the toddler who wakes up, then he always ends up in our bed. My pre-child self vowed never to bed share. I was stupid back then, I had no idea. For that night we’re subjected to rib kicks, elbows to the nose and the exhaustion of clinging onto the bed for dear life, while this tiny little dot sprawls out across the entire bed. It’d melt my heart if one morning he said ”thanks mummy for sharing your bed last night, sorry you didn’t get much sleep”. Normally he wakes up in a foul mood instead. I know how that feels buddy. I can’t really find his gratitude here, other than the drowsy cuddles we have through the night.
When the baby wakes, many, many times throughout the night, we’ll be there at her side.
Please God don’t wake your brother.
There’s a delay from our bed to her side due to the ”it’s your turn” argument. If he had a heart, it’d never be my turn. We feed her milk (probably need to knock this one on the head soon), we snuggle her back to sleep and will give extra cuddles if she needs it.
Sometimes these cuddles last three hours, three hours, while she cries and a little bit of me wants to run away. It was only one night that she cried for three hours, but it was the longest and most emotional three hours of my life. Nobody knows what that was about.
Once after two hours of listening to Miss M cry, I declared I’d had enough. I handed her over to her father, put on a dressing gown, stomped in some boots and left. I drove around town before I became ridiculously embarrassed by my dramatic exit. She was asleep when I returned home. But of course she would be.
The gratitude she shows me here are the huge smiles I get in the morning from her chubby, dimply face. Imagine if one morning she said ”you’re the best mum for just being there in the night, sorry I couldn’t stop crying, not sure why I did that”.
And wouldn’t it be great if we were thanked for all those bums that we wipe, the potty we clean out and the times we’re kind enough to let the baby roam nappy free, and she pees on our feet. Aims and pees, I’ll add. Every time. Potties are horrid to empty, I mean youre staring right at your childs business. Toilets are much less stomach churning for toddlers to use. Little potty training tip there.
When she pees on my jeans and my other pair is in the wash , or has worse on – gross – I just hang them up to dry ready for the next day, it’s only baby pee
They’re the only critics I have and the only ones whose praise really matters (Mr Firstooth matters too, like I said before he’s a constant praise-giver and I really appreciate that). But good things comes to those who wait and one day they’ll say ”great job mum” and that’s me set. A clean plate and a happy toddler terror is more than enough until then, and dialling the craziness down a tad, just a tad.
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