Dear Mom’s OK to have your shit together!

I’m a veteran mom.

Whilst I may be in my mid 40’s now and raising a preschooler, I started my parent journey many moons ago as a naive 16 year old teenager and have often quoted that I grew into motherhood.

It grabbed me in my prime and moulded me. It made me the woman I am today!

Mom life

I had 6 children before I turned 30.

Four of my older six children were adventurous, boisterous and incredibly busy boys. Two of them are on the Autism spectrum.

My boys are really close in age and there is an 11 year gap between my eldest and my youngest of my older six children.

Of course there were days when the washing was piled up, the dishes were stacked and the load, which I carried mostly alone, was overwhelming but there were always picnics, nature walks, games and hours of reading together.

Our home was always clean. I’ve never had a full time domestic. The kids would all do chores and we worked together to get the days to do list done.

Many hands work together, my gran would quote and we used these times to teach responsibility, hard work and the difference between work time and relaxing time.

A strict schedule

We started our mornings early and dived into a full morning of school. Lunch was at 12 and then the kids were free to play.

After a busy day we neatened up the house at 4pm to bath by 4.30pm. The kids then watched tv or played quietly while I cooked and we ate by 6.

At 8pm they slept. Bedtime could be a struggle but I always had my own time after 8pm to enjoy my hobbies.

This routine worked for us and kept order to what could have been a chaotic and loud home.

Mom friends

My mom friends lived similar lives.

Yes, we moaned about the load, the kids rolling their eyes and how little our husbands did but we had no “wine culture” and we weren’t proud to be a “hot mess”

Raising a child as an older mom

So, raising Hamish in my 40’s with adult and teen children ahead of me I often struggle to relate to the many moms who call for a glass of wine when the kids throw a tantrum or who post photos online stating just how much more of a “hot mess” they are than Jenny because she hasn’t bathed her child in 2 days.

Hot mess mom

Lets talk about this apparent hot mess mom …I personally hate this saying but mostly I hate that all over the internet you see women in competition to see who could be a bigger “hot mess” than the other.

Now, before you crucify me at the stake or deem me old fashioned, I’m not saying that it isn’t ok to fail, have a bad day or admit you are overwealmed.

Hell, parenting is a rough journey!

What I’m saying is that it really isn’t a competition to see who is the bigger ” hot mess”

Not bathing a child for 2 days, failing to brush their hair or leaving their pajamas on to drop them at school because you “just can’t” does not make you a “fashionable hot mess” … what it does is make you neglectful or in need of serious medical intervention to perhaps adress an underlying issue with depression.

Why do I say this?

Our children can’t make decisions for themselves and as a mom and educator my heart breaks at a child who is left with unwashed hair for a week , school work still in a bag or to eat oreos for 6 nights in a row because mom has Instagrammed herself a “hot mess” and “just can’t! ”

If your home, relationships and children are overwhelming to the point that your mental or physical health are effected you need medical intervention not a place on an insta square.

And I say this with complete compassion, we have all been there.

Parenting, especially solo or with little assistance from your partner, can take it’s toll.

There is no shame in not coping and finding the correct help to assist you to become the best mom to your children.

If you find yourself identifying with this and need to reach out you can contact:

The South African Depression and Anxiety group

Wine culture

This is another one that gets me worried.

Now I like a good glass of red as much as the next mom.

Especially at a nice wine farm but what are we teaching our children when everytime they misbehave, throw a tantrum or mess up the lounge with the gazillion toys we bought them, if we rush to the fridge shouting ” I need a glass of wine!”

What example do we set when we tell our children we just can’t deal with their noise and reach for a glass of Sauvignon blanc?

As South Africans we have terrible statistics when it comes to our youth and drinking. Many of our teens actually see it as normal to include alcohol in their daily activities.

According Aware the following statistics have been proven:

  • 1 in every 2 teenagers is an active consumer of alcohol
  • 49% of high school students have consumed alcohol
  • 15% of teen boys and 8% of teen girls have had their first drink before the age of 13 years old.
  • Teenagers who drink are more likely to try drugs
  • Teenagers using alcohol are three times more likely to be involved in violent crimes.

So,where do we differentiate between alcoholism ( a dependance on alcohol to cope with lifestyle pressures) and it being an “instaworthy” mom joke?

Who is looking up to you?

I recently shared a quote saying Someone is learning how to be a person by watching you. ….who is looking up to you?

By announcing with a loud exaggerated sigh how much you need a glass of wine in front of your preschooler or child are you equipping them with the tools they need to face adulthood one day or are you setting them up for a life of excuses behind a bottle of pinotage ?

We are the parents

Surely, we as parents should not be glamorizing a potentially harmful culture with seemingly innocent words that could one day see our own children look at us and say I just can’t deal today I need a drink!

Again, I reiterate ….whilst there is nothing wrong with enjoying a drink or two responsibly, we need to be aware of the example we set for our children and of the words we use.

Our words are powerful and often leave a lasting impression, sometimes one much deeper than a joke to fit in with the mom’s around us.

It’s ok to have your shit together

And if you are a mom, who is perfectly imperfect and managing to exhaustedly keep it all together without joining the “wine culture” or needing to wear a “hot mess mom” badge ….it is perfectly ok to celebrate your parenting success.

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