Well, not me for starters. So here I am writing a magazine article about good parenting, and as I read through the many emails and blog replies to my survey (thank you everyone by the way), I nod in agreement as people place patience, quality time, sense of humour, creativity and flexibility as the ‘super’ ingredients in the melting pot of parenting. I even tap myself on the back for ticking a couple of the boxes.
And then this morning happened. Trying to get two toddlers up, fed, dressed and out the door by 8.30 is hard enough at the best of times. Add to the chaos, Daisy’s Halloween parade and torrential rain and I was just a smidgen stressed. I hurried them, they harried me. There should be a law against having to face-paint a witch (“with sparkly bits mummy!” ) before it’s actually light outside. By the time we were ready to plunge into the thunderous downpour I was cackling menacingly like the witch I’d just painted on her face. Crackling in an evil, hoarse, shouting, impatient, bad-mother sort of way. I even had a couple of moments as a fully screeching banshee.
Daisy wouldn’t wear the leggings under her witch’s outfit and my patience flew out the window on a broomstick, leaving me in the midst of a foot-stamping tantrum. I yelled to the point where she cried. I even slammed a door. I’m pretty sure I didn’t see ‘slamming doors’ on the list of good parenting ideals.
And I realised that maybe the first rule of being a good parent is that there should only be one child in the relationship? We kissed and made up and she was a bright ray of sunshine again before I could even say Abracadabra. But as my little witch (“I’m a good witch mummy”) skipped into school, this bad witch flew home on her broomstick with a sour taste in her mouth… the bitter bile of guilt.
And as I sit down to write my article on what makes a good parent, I realise it’s a lot easier to write about it….. and a lot harder to do.