Parenting....It’s been a long shift!

So, today is the last day I will ever have a child who is 7 years old.
My favourite little bean (one of two favourites to be precise) is flying into her 8th year and doing it with beautiful confidence. I won't even think about the other one turning 16 before the new year hits๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ™ˆ
Let's rewind a little......finding out that I was going to be a mum a second time around was a massive shock. Not sure why when clearly I wasn't being all that careful. - (side note, cheers for that Ernest and Julio)
But never the less she was there, she was trouble and she was going to make damn sure no one forgot she was on her way.
There is a huge wealth of stories and anecdotes I could share but this is a blog entry, not a Stephen King novel so I'll (try) and get to the point.
Being a mum is the craziest thing I have ever done. Not once, but twice. (Officially three times but that's for another time)
Neither of the two was traditionally brought into this world but tradition was made to be broken. It's what society tells us is moral and 'good' (a patronising word I'll use a lot in this entry) and if you chose to believe, it's what will send you on your merry way to a life after this one that doesn't involve pitchforks, torture and purgatory.
To hell with tradition I say. What I got out of being non-traditional can't be matched by being a Stepford wife. It's rewarding and gives more love than I ever thought I could have. But........it's not easy.
I don't want to start blowing the trumpets of every single parent In the land, it's hard whether you're on your own or married.
(Even the guy with 5 wives isn't doing all that well)
Every parent everywhere has a battle on their hands from day one until the day they die. Possibly longer but that's religion again and I don't yet have the patience for a balanced debate on that particular topic. ( watch out for my thoughts on Trump, Brexit and 2017 so far. ๐Ÿ™„)
It's not just hard raising the people we created, it is, again completely nuts every day.
Trying to pick out the highlights of parenthood is hard, there's too many to pick from. The downsides come thick and fast as well.
Recently, for me, I have been thinking a lot about what makes a 'Good parent'
(Even typing that pains me)
It's a shit phrase, it's one that as far as I can see holds no meaning. It's flung about by people who don't know what they are talking about.
I can't debate the topic of 'good parenting' without mentioning the other parents my kids have.
The first one, so I am told, quote on quote 'is a brilliant dad' to his other kids. Does that mean he is a good dad because he does what he should for the second and third or does it make him a shite one because actually, the first daughter he managed to produce, the one he's spent the last 16 years eating himself up about, wanting to know, has grown up without having him around?
Really it's not for me to decide is it. Because I'm not a perfect parent. I make mistakes, all the time.
Daily.
The other father in town I hear repeatedly is 'a good dad'
Yeah he is, he can be.
He has the potential to be. He has his own demons which aren't for me to share but the fact he battles them
Every day for his child does put him in the good parent hall of fame in our house 50% of the time.
But a common misconception for me is that more times than I care to count I have been told that he is a 'good dad' and again I'll quote 'because at least he sees her eh?'
Whatever arsehole came up with that line and shared it around needs a healthy slap in the face. No idiot!
Seeing your kid is not the definition of a good dad. Or mum!Or grandparent for that matter. It's your job. It's what you should be doing. As much as feeding them, clothing them, paying towards there upbringing which last time I checked was somewhere just short of 200k by the time the wee crap bags are 18!
( just checked - 230k to be more precise ๐Ÿ˜ฅ๐Ÿ˜ฅ)
It's just the right of the kid to see their parent's so sorry folks. This does not define a good parent in any way shape or form. They didn't ask to come into this world and whether it's a joint decision or one made by the mother to have their child (just for the record I didn't make any decisions on having either child single-handed, something daddy dearest number one had to remind me of)
I've checked and the definitions of 'good parent' differ massively.
I'd like to think of myself as one.
Do I love my kids? ✔️
Provide them with food, shelter, clothing? ✔️
Spend money I just don't have to make sure they have everything they need and usually everything they want? ✔️
The flip side is that, for me, living with mental health problems means that no, I am not always a 'good mum.'
I can be snappy, unreasonable. Scream the house down over shoes dumped in the middle of my just tidied house. (Kids if you ever read these please pick the fecking shoes up out my living room!)
When I have a day of feeling tired, poorly, sad, I have cried unashamedly in from of them. They have been the ones to comfort me when I've needed a hug. (Bad mum for letting them see me upset or good mum cause they know how to comfort someone effectively? You decide)
They get every bit of me, the good bad the plain ugly!
On thinking back over the things that made me want to write this blog, in particular, the bigger thing that struck me was how the term is just thrown about.
So many times when I have felt inadequate or have been shooting my mouth off about the men in this world who just don't do the things they are meant to do for their kids, I have been told by numerous people that I am 'a good mum' in fact sometimes I even get the honour of
'A great mum' and it's lovely to hear. Who doesn't want to be told they are doing it right?
It makes me feel better, reassured that I'm not fucking my kids lives up one hour at a time.
But it's always by people who actually don't really know what kind of mum I am.
The people who, kindly, say these words to make me feel better don't know whether I'm Martha Stewart or Rose West behind closed doors. For all, they know the kids could be tied up in the cupboard with stale bread for their supper!
They aren't, but no one really knows that's not the case when I lock the doors at nights.
It's nuts to think that other people can bestow the title on anyone.
Now, almost all my friends are parents and I'd like to think that they are good parents.
One of my long-suffering sidekicks has the joy of dealing with a teenager who thinks it's ok to throw abuse in her direction on a regular basis. Is she a bad mum because she has raised a child who thinks it's ok to behave like that? Is she a good mum because she never gives up on her child even when so many would?
Now because I know her kids I know they are actually lovely humans really. They have their mother's big heart and crazy streak all in one. I love the bones of them and have had the pleasure of seeing them grow to who they are. It doesn't sit well with me though that she feels like a shite mum because she's just not sure how to manage the whole situation. And more so it enrages me that there are people around her who could step in and help and just don't. Another side note - this kid is lovely and who doesn't have rage issues at some point in their life?? Refer to shoe issue in my house! )
Not having any male influence around I think is a huge factor to the anger this goofy teen has built up. I have my own thoughts about the men who have let the kid down but trying to be objective I won't share them.
Ok actually I will (junkie arsehole and old bully)
The fact my long-suffering friend copes with this regularly, in my eyes makes her a bit of a fucking rockstar to me.
Sitting pondering over the ins and outs of what I've seen makes me think that there really isn't such a thing as a good mum, dad, grandparent. Perfect is an illusion and I don't believe there's such a thing. But good?
I don't think it's a word that should be attached to someone's role in bringing up their kids. As far as I can tell it's a bunch of crazy people doing crazy things and just totally winging every day and hoping that they don't have a massive bill for private therapy to repair the damage they might cause to their offspring. (There's every chance the NHS will have melted to oblivion by the time our kids are our age. (Note to self - look into private health insurance asap)
The good/bad debate is only one aspect of having kids. I'll need to save my other thoughts for another day.
So! The craziest part of my journey?
Both my kids arrived in untraditional fashion. But neither of them could have been less wanted, the craziest part of being a mum, for me, is that every day I get up and do the things I need to keep my little humans alive, but actually, they are the ones who keep me alive. They make me laugh, cry, proud, mad.
They force me to at least try and be the best person I can be. I gave them life (with help) but they give me life every minute of every day. They make my life worthwhile. If I push the boat out I'd even go as far to say happy. ๐Ÿ™ƒ Crazy huh!

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