The other day I took my children to have their annual photo with Santa. I have been doing this since Ashlea was born and now have a beautiful collection of 14 years of ‘Santa Pics’. Each year I get out all the old photos and love seeing just how much they have changed. Each photo portrays my children’s personalities and their relationships with each other at that moment in time – scared of Santa, proud to be there, embarrassed by the entire ordeal. Nothing is hidden – it’s a real perception of life snapped in a second.
The recent photo had my youngest (and cheekiest) pulling faces each time the camera clicked. The lady taking the photos came to me shyly, apologising as she simply couldn’t get him to pull a happy, staged face. I laugh and told her I love the faces and to just let him do his thing.
This made me wonder how we think we are perceived by others. Everyone puts on a facade at times, depending on the environment we are in. Most adults have a work image, a family image, a friends image and the list can simply go on. I am not saying people are fake but there are certain aspects of our personalities or outer facade that are more suited to a particular surrounding.
I often get told ‘I don’t know how you do it’ – with 4 children, studying, working part time, writing a blog and running a household. I know 4 children is a large family these days so I am guessing that is where the majority of the ‘How does she do it’, comes from. Most days flow fairly unscathed, between the taxi service I run (kids activities), cooking, cleaning, working, talking (heaps of that) and socialising (kids have a better social life than I do) – we are very busy. Some days are a little bumpy with arguments, tantrums, exhaustion and forgetting the occasional location of one of my children. Then there are days where I should never have gotten out of bed. It’s these days that most of us (as parents) try to hide from the world.
From the outside, I appear in control and relaxed with most of what life throws at me. And generally this is the case. However, when it all gets too much and I have a mini break down, I believe the best response is to talk about, to let others know that life isn’t always perfect. Putting on a facade that life is always wonderful makes others feel erroneous and maybe they are doing something wrong because their lives do not appear to be as streamlined.
Parenting is one of the most difficult and emotional jobs to do but by being open and honest when things do not run as smoothly as we would like, makes every parent feel ‘normal’.
Some of my “not so great” parenting moments:
- Punched a hamburger in anger then threw it on the ground only to create a mess I then had to clean up.
- Told my kids I had had enough and was out of here, getting in my car and driving away ( around the block and came back to hysterical children)
- Made one of my boys pack his bag and put him outside, telling him a taxi was on its way.
- Not allowing my children’s artwork to EVER touch my beautifully decorated Christams tree – telling them it is not tree worthy.
- Telling my child they will be alright, ignoring their complaints only to find out they had a burst eardrum.
And the list could go on but I don’t want my readers to think I am completely crazy.