The week I failed at parenthood

Diary of a tired, honest, moody, hormonal mum…

Not your ‘normal’ week…
Have you ever had a week where you feel you’ve totally failed at parenting? Reward charts have gone out the window, chicken nuggets for supper every night, feeling you just want to run and hide from the kids, cry and eat a snicker without sharing it with them. The constant tidying, cleaning, cooking battle on rotation. It’s not glamorous it’s overwhelming and exhausting.
I don’t want to put people off having kids but parents will understand this. Social media is good for showing off the good bits, and the happy times of parenting but oh boy there is a lot of bad bits too!! I suppose we don’t want to share them so much. Why not? Ashamed to say we struggle? Afraid of what people might think? When you open up you soon find out everyone’s on the same boat. I’m here holding my hands up saying yes, I struggle, really struggle. It may look like 3 kids looks easy… a breeze…believe me it’s more like a hurricane.
I feel the kids are constantly fighting for attention, you satisfy one and the other one kicks off, just one vicious circle. I’m having one of those weeks where by dinner time I’m counting down the last hours until bed time. One good thing is when they go to bed at 7pm they don’t move again, no bed time performances, just lights out and sleep. So why can’t they just behave like this during the day?

design desk display eyewear

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I always laugh inside when I hear people say ‘’Oh I love the bed time routine, we snuggle up and read a story and spend one on one with the child special bonding time, it’s just wonderful’’ In reality is it really that wonderful? Yes when they are all lights out and sleeping that’s wonderful . I call it happy hour in my house the bath time bed time routine. It’s a struggle now to get the eldest into the bath at all, while the other two are trying to drown themselves deliberately by seeing who can hold their breath the longest. The Drama performance of who comes out the bath first is always a showcase. Tackling 3 naked body’s to put on pyjamas and dry hair you would think they are being chased by a lion. So let’s have that one on one time with 3 children individually…yes that’s right, by this point everyone is past it including myself.

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Malachy our 3rd child is lucky if he gets a bed time story, if he forgets to grab one I’m delighted, one down. Gracie the middle child always goes for the thickest book or chances her luck with 2 books. If you secretly try to skip a page or a couple of sentences oh boy does she notice! Ain’t no fooling her. Final bonding time is with Ivy our first born the most laid back of the 3, very independent and easy pleased. Somehow we was led into a false sense of security after having Ivy as you think they will all be like her…don’t be fooled! By the time I get to Ivy’s bedroom she’s pulled out the good old 500 page BFG chapter a night book. Naturally Ivy likes to try and read some of the words which takes twice as long. So as u can imagine by 7pm I can’t wait to see them all tucked up in bed…asleep. I then head down stairs to tackle the bomb site they left behind.
‘I know what I’m doing, I have it all planned out- plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.’ Jeremiah 29:11
Before I head upstairs for the night I go around their bedrooms and switch off their lights and tuck in their little hands under the blankets. I look at them sleeping angelically and begin to feel guilty and the worst mum in the world for shouting, because someone spilled milk for the 2nd time or wouldn’t put their shoes on the first time I said it. Why did I have no patience today? I say tomorrow I’m going to try harder to be a better mum. Sometimes I question myself and God why am I getting pushed to the very ends of my limits?

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‘No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down: he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; He’ll always be there to help you come through it.1st Corinthians 10:13
I’m beginning to sound like I live with 3 caged wild animals, well sometimes it feels like that. What is the key to well behaved children all the time? Has anyone found it? Hats off to you if you have. I know a few people pretend to have it all under-control.
I know all children have their moments and usually mine are not too bad, but I think a combination of hormones, 5.30am starts everyday, work, Christmas planning, more hormones, has made this week exhausting and left me questioning my parenting skills, my life choices and hormonal imbalance. Reading back I sound like a right witch of a mother, like the one in Tangled. I love my kids, and everything I do is for them, they are my world and my dream is to push them to their fullest potential. Sometimes I look at them and can’t believe how blessed I am to have them.

close up of padlocks hanging on heart shape

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Parenthood wasn’t supposed to be easy sometimes we just need a little encouragement to get through it. Maybe these bad days wasn’t in our vision of parenthood but its all part of the package to make us better parents on our journey. We are not robots, we struggle and have our bad days, this is just a glimpse into mine…

My survival guide

Many people ask me how I cope with 3 kids 5 & under also with an occasional husband (who works away 2 weeks at a time) To be honest some days are more fun than others. Sometimes I look at people with 4 or 5 kids and wonder how they cope. Having 3 kids really push you to your limits when your solo parenting. I try to keep on top of the housework as much as possible to make this journey more enjoyable for everyone. It’s getting easier now the kids are older and more independent. I love to plan things out, write myself notes, and be prepared for the week ahead. I don’t have OCD but after you read this blog you might think so. It works for us. Everyone does life differently, so here’s how I do mine:

Prep the kids
I found out through experience and reading baby books that kids love routine. Keeping them informed makes them happy bees in the hive. A fine example of this: Gracie is sitting engrossed in the iPad, instead of taking it off her I would prep her beforehand. If i didn’t I would then endure a 10 minute tantrum which then leads to some serious misbehaviour. “Gracie, you’ve got 5 minutes left on the iPad” then a while later “two minutes, Gracie” then after a another couple of minutes ” okay Gracie, times up put down the iPad now that’s long enough” It works wonders. I would say 90% of the time she puts the iPad down. It’s a good technique to use when were about to leave the grandparents ” were leaving in 5 minutes kids” and so on. Usually we all leave happily and without a tantrum, tantrum free= happy mum!

Prep the food
At the start of the week I love to meal plan for the week ahead. I first got the idea from a Slimming world class. It helps you to stick to your chosen meals for the week and not go off track. I try to involve the kids as much as possible however their reply to “what would you like for supper?” is usually “noodles.” I have recently started to write out a shopping list before I head to the supermarket. We’ve found that we save money as we only buy what we need for that week, we actually come out with some decent meals. As before I would wander around the aisles throwing stuff in the trolley be £100 at the till and have nothing to make a decent meal with. So this is how we do it now. If its not on the list it doesn’t go into the trolley. On a Monday I do lots of food prep when the kids are away at school. A typical Monday can be quite stressful for me so I like to have a big pot of soup boiling on the hob. This will do us for 3 lunches. I also stick a big piece of meat in the slow cooker that will do us two meals too. Doing this just releases the stress of making supper after one of our busy Mondays knowing that the meals are sorted.


Housework
The dreaded word, right? I used to enjoy house work when I had time to do it before we had kids. Nonetheless with 3 kids now and sometimes a working mum I struggle to find the time. I like to be able to keep on top of it so it doesn’t nag me. There is more important things in life than housework however when the house looks like a bomb has hit it something needs to be done. I love following The organised mum method(TOMM) 30 minutes a day on specific rooms and your done! I hear you thinking that doesn’t work… but it does. She also does a deep clean method for all those homes needing a bit more tlc. I find that if I keep the washing & ironing basket empty I am not doing piles of ironing that I hate. I like to spend a little time each day in my utility room sorting out clothes and it keeps the whole thing at bay. Sometimes if were busy over a weekend and I don’t keep on top of it, and I go into the utility on a Sunday I could just walk out again and cry.

Morning Routine
From when I open my eyes in the morning even before I have a cup of tea here is a glimpse into my morning routine. This only applies when Sean’s away. As when he comes home the routine can sometimes get a knock on the head. When I hear the first child awake, usually one of the girls I jump in the shower while Malachy is still asleep in his crib. The girls will sit happily with the tv on until I shower. We are lucky with Malachy as he sleeps from 7pm till usually 7am. If I were to take him out of his crib there would be carnage in the bedroom and I would end up not getting a shower. He can be seen running about calling 999 with the house phone, emptying bedside table drawers or dunking the toilet brush down the toilet. So I tend to leave him in bed till I get myself organised. After everyone is dressed
1, Make beds
2, Throw all dirty clothes down the stairs
3, Quick tidy of bedrooms and bathroom upstairs
4, Open blinds and turn radiators down (Sean’s request)
5, Everyone comes down stairs and eats breakfast
6, While the are kids eating breakfast I load the washing machine.


I love to come down stairs to a clean kitchen and empty sink so the night before I ensure the island is free from dishes and clutter. I like to set out everyone’s clothes for the next day in the bathroom in their individual piles. When the kids get up they know the routine, get dressed and go down stairs. I try to encourage the girls to help with making their beds and throwing the laundry down the stairs. Which usually results in a pair of knickers landing on Malachys head. The girls can be so messy at times, I try to engage them in some games when it comes to tidying up. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Please note my routine doesn’t always go to plan the way I would like it. There’s usually a chase around the bedroom with a half-naked child trying to put on their socks. That’s what makes life exciting I suppose a lap around the bedroom before school. I’m not the perfect mum or don’t try to be. I just love routine and so does the kids. What is the perfect mum?