smiling girl

At what point did parenting become more complex than a Rubiks Cube after someone’s tampered with the stickers? Sorry, that was usually me. A week or so back I saw Kochie (of Sunrise fame) tweet:

Gee Poppy, dates to park are complicated… Sunscreen, hats, drinks, snacks, spare nappy, clean clothes. Was it always this complicated?

It’s one of the reasons I’m happier sitting on the couch watching the princesses slide down the indoor slide. Now to figure out how to get a swing set through the door.

A fellow mum and I were discussing the “old days’’, when you were brought up by your mum, your nan, your aunties and half the neighbourhood who, really, just told you to “go outside and play’’. What exactly were all those women doing inside, anyway? They certainly weren’t on Facebook.

When did being a mum become so complicated?

Nowadays, we mums do much of the parenting role alone (unless you struck gold in the partner stakes). We sometimes also work or run businesses, we juggle five social media accounts and still manage to declutter every inch of our homes.

We put added pressure on ourselves that our children’s Pumpkin Patch outfit stays clean, that their hands are constantly sterilised, they’re fed wholesome meals made from scratch (well, the packet says “homemade’’. Or is that “HomeBrand’’?) and their ponytail sits at a 45 degree angle from the top most point of the head. You do that, right?

messy eating

What happened to sending them out in the same pair of clothes they wore yesterday? Letting them eat a little dirt, along with some extra protein goodness via a worm or two? Why can’t their hair look more akin to a member of Rolling Stones than Justin Beiber?

I think as parents, we’re our own worst enemies. Sure, keep our kids safe with sunscreen, boundaries in which to play and curfews. But do we go overboard when it comes to letting them be kids? Aren’t kids meant to have faces full of snot, dirt on their knees and a nappy showing off their plumber’s crack?

Are our kids just too… perfectly pampered? Should we get rid of this notion of the perfect parent and cut ourselves some slack? The important thing, after all, is that our kids are healthy and happy. Right?

What do you think? Is parenting getting far more complicated? And who’s to blame? *runs away quickly*

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18 Responses to When did being a mum become so complicated?

  1. Daisy says:

    I used to put so much pressure on myself – especially when Roo was little. She was my only baby and I figured “why shouldn’t I be doing it all?”. I had little to no help from our families, so did it on my own. I made sure she was dressed perfectly, always clean, sang the right songs, ate the right food.
    I was what I now officially call: “mental” Mum.
    I continued in my too-perfect ways until the twins were about five months old and that is when I realised that I could be “perfect” or I could be “perfect for my kids” – two different things.
    Perfect for my kids is about simply spending time with them. Letting them know they are loved. Reading books.
    Messy house, piled up washing, *gasp* takeout once a week, that’s not the stuff of memories. Cuddles, games and time – that is. 🙂
    Great post!
    Daisy recently posted..Law of the Land…My Profile

    • Kel says:

      Thanks Daisy. If only you could see the state of my house right now. 😉
      Since Ella started school in February, quality time with the girls has become so much more important. And you’re right – that’s what memories are made of. Not how shiny my floor is or whether they had the perfect balance of vitamins and minerals on their dinner plate. It’s funny how when you go along on this parenting journey what you see as important begins to change. Being perfect in the eyes of others isn’t one of them (this, coming straight from the mouth of a perfectionist!)! 🙂

  2. Love, laughter and mess is parenting, with ups and downs and winging each day the best you can, Nx

  3. I’m less ‘cautious’ with my 4th than I was with my first. I guess it was a rite of passage I had to go through to work out what’s really important.

    Love & stuff
    Mrs M
    Maria Tedeschi (Mum’s Word) recently posted..WOOLWORTHS BABY AND TODDLER CLUBMy Profile

  4. Caz says:

    We are totally our own worst enemy!! We expect way to much of ourselves and judge ourselves way harder than we judge others (usually). Very like my little post on housework and keeping up with the jones. It all fits into the same kind of box I think. We all need to take a chill pill and stop thinking our value lays in how we clean and/or present our kids. (speaking very much to myself here) There is so much more to life and we are valuable even if our kid are a disorganised mess 🙂
    Caz recently posted..Caring too much about what people think.My Profile

    • Kel says:

      I never even put two and two together, but you’re so right about our posts, Caz. The words “we are valuable even if our kids are a disorganised mess” are gold. That’s the quote of the week for me. x

  5. Roz says:

    Great blog – too true. And what is wrong with sending them to bed in their school uniform? Sure makes it easier in the mornings! lol

    It will be interesting to see what our kids remember about their childhoods as they grow up. I try to be present with them as much as I can, but sometimes that makes me feel like I am losing my mind and they need to go outside and play so I can do something adultish!!
    Roz recently posted..SatisfactionMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      Oh, now there’s an idea, Roz. School uniform the night before… I like that! 😉
      My girls are a tad too young (and our backyard is not exactly safe for under 4s) for me to send them outside to play alone yet. But I think that day is getting nearer. I’m all for needing to be an adult at some point in every day!

  6. Tat says:

    My son wares the same shorts to school two days in a row usually. He only has three pairs and sometimes I don’t wash for three days (and then refuse to use the dryer).

    Getting the kids to pack away their toys is too complicated, so I do it once in a while and leave the toys lying around the house the rest of the time. It’s for protection. If a robber comes in in the middle of the night, they are bound to step on something that makes a lot of noise.

    If they drop their snacks on the ground and then pick them up, more often than not I turn the other way.

    My latest attempt at decluttering resulted in two bags that I’ve been meaning to take to the clothing bin. After 6 months the bags are still in our wardrobe.

    I’d continue… but I’m afraid you’ll think I’m a horrible mum 🙂

    We all look more perfect than we actually are.

    • Kel says:

      Oh wow, glad I’m not the only one to send their kids to school in the same clothes they wore the day before. I remember wearing the same uniform to school five days in my day. (Yes, I know, I just said “in my day”).
      Love the toy theory too, Tat. I’ll be using that from now on. I get sick of apologising for the toy mess!
      I’m impressed you even decluttered. It’s on my list – it just keeps getting pushed down in favour of more enjoyable jobs! LOL! 🙂
      And I love your last line. Spot on!

  7. Lisa Wood says:

    I used to be the biggest cleaning freak! And our first son was never allowed outside to play with dirt when he was younger 😉
    Our baby of the family runs and plays all day, and if his clothes are not caked in mud he wears them a second day!
    I think that our society has changed – we cant let our kids play in the streets like we used to because of “What if” situations.
    It would be good if we could bring back the days where we all helped to raise each others childrens and supported one another! I like the idea of the African village – when the child turns 12 they move from hut to hut, and everyone adds value to the childs upbringing.
    Maybe we all need to let loose a bit more, and try not to be perfect all of the time.

    Lisa Wood recently posted..Mother of All Guilt TripsMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      I like the idea of the African village too, Lisa. Things have certainly changed a lot over the years. A more simpler life, with a greater supporter network, is what we should be striving towards.

  8. I think Caz is right, we are owe own worse enemy and Hollywood movies filled with idealist roles and homes is part to blame I think. I don’t think my home will ever look like a magazine unless it has a magazine shoot and all the mess gets thrown in the cupboard and the door pushed closed. I don’t think it is realistic to have everything perfect, like house, clothes, hair etc. I also think at the end when I am 80 who is going to care and even know that everything was perfect. When Mini Me is old enough to head outside on her own, I will let her make up games and not give her activities, they are the memories of my childhood. The discovery, in the dirt, in the mess, running around, hair a mess (always), I don’t remember my room being neat as a pin because it wasn’t, it was filled with all the nic naks of childhood.
    Kym – Mumma’s Mini Mes recently posted..Coccinella; Organic, Safe & Eco-Friendly products for bub and beyond.My Profile

    • Kel says:

      Kym, you are so spot on. My greatest memories were making cubby houses out of bushes (cutting the insides out of the poor things!) – despite the fact we had a perfectly good, well built cubby in the yard. We’d make mud pies for lunch and race snails for afternoon entertainment. That’s what you get for living on a farm, I guess!
      I think we need to dip back into our own childhoods a bit more and see what it was that made memories. I feel another post brewing…

  9. Maxabella says:

    Nah, I’ve never been that ‘perfect’ parent. I’m old-school all the way and pretty happy for it. Life is too short to worry about having perfect children. There are just so many other interesting things I’d rather be doing. x

    • Kel says:

      Oh, I so love your attitude, Maxabella. I certainly started out striving to be a “perfect parent”, but second time around things have REALLY changed. I have to say, I’m much happier for that too. x

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