Should We Be More Positive When We Talk About Parenting?
There’s an interview with Spencer Matthews doing the rounds at the moment, who you may know as a ‘British Socialite’/Man of a thousand reality TV shows/sort-of related to Kate Middleton by marriage.
“I think people should stop frightening people by saying it’s the hardest thing in the world and they’re an absolute nightmare because that may be the case, but it’s a lovely thing to do. Even if it was hard, I’d say it was easy – I like positive vibes.”
Right-oh Spencer…I am VERY honest about finding parenting incredibly hard work. I have regaled many a friend / family member / horrified eavesdropper on the number 7 bus with tales of the Chicken Madras shower I treated my husband to during labour, the time when I was SO tired after yet another sleep-deprived night that I managed to set fire to the bottle warmer FOR THE SECOND TIME, the importance of investing in an extra sieve for bathtime floaters 💩, and the inordinate amount of time I seem to spend wedged inside sweat-slicked tube slides and hauling myself up hygienically-questionable rope ladders at my local soft play hell hole. I can however confirm that, despite this, an inexplicably large number of those people have still gone on to have their very own little sleep thieves/Kinder addicts.Maybe it’s because I am equally likely to spend a good half hour boring them to tears with a detailed account of the thousand-odd hilarious/adorable/genius antics she managed to fit in before breakfast, or force them to scroll through my extensive back catalogue of ‘photos of my daughter doing something incredibly mundane, but I still thought it was worth taking 500 snaps because she was doing that really cute nose-scrunching thing’.
I’ve told everyone and their aunt about the sheer magic that was her first proper visit to Santa’s Grotto this Christmas (except for the bit where she asked for a real dog…😳 regrettably, the elves have very strict rules about livestock on the sleigh 😉). And quite frankly, I’m delighted that spending a rainy afternoon stuffing myself with ‘fun-sized’ chocolate and watching back-to-back Disney films is once again an acceptable adulting activity.
I wouldn’t insult anyone’s intelligence by telling them that parenthood is easy; it’s not. It’s stressful, and amazing, and knackering, and exhilarating, and monotonous, and surprising, and messy, and beautiful, and frustrating, and sooo bloody emotional, all at once. And in fact, when it comes to mental health, I think it’s vital that we don’t sugar-coat it. Personally, I was incredibly thankful during those first few months (jacked up on a heady cocktail of Co-codamol and Cadburys and still adjusting to the shock of it all) to read those ‘real’ stories and swap experiences with other Mums, because I realised that it wasn’t just me feeling out of my depth, overwhelmed, and massively freaked out by In The Night Garden.
I love the bones of that child. I cannot imagine my life without her. I would, knowing everything I know, and having been shat on/sneezed on/vommed on and smacked in the face with a Paw Patrol vehicle many more times than I care to remember, happily do it all again.
But I’m sorry, Spence – one day, when you too find yourself making a hasty exit from the extortionately priced family-friendly farm over an hour’s drive away because your beloved toddler PUNCHED A CHICKEN (I sh*t you not, that actually happened), there will not be enough positive vibes in the world to prevent you from quietly muttering an obscenity or two about this parenting malarkey we’ve embarked on… 😂🙈🍷🐥