I’ve been a mum now for three and a half years so why does it feel like I’m still clutching at straws, hoping I’ll ‘get it’ one day?
The reason is actually quite simple.
As a parent you are always learning. No matter how many years you have been a parent because what you experience with your first child, and possibly even subsequent children, will always be new, maybe daunting, occasionally terrifying and at moments, wonderful.
But when you are in the throes of feeding frustration, tantrums and juggling hell it can all seem a bit overwhelming.
Take dinner times for example. Last week my two very spirited children had hardly anything to eat all day.
Aha, I said to myself, rubbing my hands with glee, this must mean they will be starving for dinner and devour almost anything I put in front of them.
Thankfully they both enjoy Indian food, something I grew up with, and rice is almost a default dinner they usually eat it if nothing else.
But last week was oh so different.
After lovingly preparing my chicken curry they have gobbled up before, cooking up some fluffy rice and buttering up some hot chapattis, I present it in a way I know they will find easy to eat.
Forcing myself to walk away and not make a big deal of it and return five minutes later. Still nothing.
Despite knowing that coaxing, bribing and general prodding are not worth it something still drives me to do it. I worry they haven’t eaten enough, they will become ill, wake up in the middle of the night demanding food when their tummy growls.
Selfishly, I don’t want to find them something to eat when I am half asleep, and I also want them to learn that they can’t play me so if they choose not to eat at dinner time, the next meal they will have is breakfast the next morning.
Sounds harsh, I know, and it’s not something I am happy to implement just yet for either of my children because they are just too young.
But like last week when they have decided they are not hungry and eat a few token grains of rice to show they have eaten something, I am forced to let them be. Thankfully they didn’t wake up in the night demanding food so I didn’t have to try and convince them they were not hungry.
It makes me feel I’ve done something wrong. It makes me feel my children have won.
But ultimately, it makes me feel like I am one step behind others whose children always seem to be hungry and devour everything in sight. I keep waiting for my children to do the same and pretend it doesn’t bother me that mine do not always eat when they are supposed to.
The thing is, I know that won’t happen. So the sooner I ‘get’ that their eating habits are something that is a part of them, the sooner I can stop worrying about it and focus on the next challenge. Because I know my life is going to be full of them from now on!