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.

me2
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?

me3
‘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…

The Potty Train…

 The dreaded word right?

After reading many baby books I always wanted to be on the ball with potty training, my granny always said ”back in the day your mum was potty trained at a year old!!” How could this be? Could she even walk? Statistics say 97% of children were potty trained by age 18months in 1957! Wow!!! I wonder how much of that statistic is true?

IVY

We took the plunge when Ivy was about 17months old. I followed Gina Fords book Potty training in 1 week. Sounds ideal right!? Thinking if we can crack this we can crack anything. The book is a short step by step daily guide with tips and signs to look out for to keep you on the right track. Previously I have used Gina Fords books for issues such as routine and weaning, and felt they really worked.
So we opened the book (I say we, but not entirely sure how much Sean was involved) page by page day by day she stuck to the book and she was ‘potty trained’ within 10 days…so a little longer than it says on the cover but I was impressed.  Of course we had the odd accident, and she wasn’t dry at night but it was a great success!

You think 1 week isn’t long…however it was the longest week ever! I thought she would never crack it. Its so frustrating at the time your life is consumed indoors, concentrating solely on potty training. As it states in the book they need to recognise to ask for the potty themselves to move onto the next stage and not just be reminded. I remember going to the top of the stairs with Ivy for her bath on day 8 thinking about packing the whole thing in…when she finally said ‘pee pee’ and ran to the potty and did the needful. I couldn’t believe it!  I was jumping about on the landing clapping my hands and dancing!! It had finally clicked and we were on our way!  A short while after we were on holiday with the girls abroad, and to my surprise Ivy was dry from the first night there right through the week. So it was a pretty easy journey with Ivy as she progressed in age she hardly has had an accident. To the point now at 5 years old I have to remind her to go to the toilet. As she would quite happily go the whole day and not go!

GRACIE

When Gracie became about 18months I decided to pull out the good old Potty training in 1 week book again. My girls even though they look similar they couldn’t be more opposite in personality. Unfortunately it didn’t click after a few days in or few weeks. We decided to abandon all efforts and give her a little time as she wasn’t ready. After several attempts at trying however she still wasn’t able to hold her bladder long enough. When we did get Gracie dry around age 2 it was such a relief. However she wasn’t dry at night and wasn’t accident free. There was lots of days she wet herself on many occasions and I felt we were right back to where we started. Some days she would deliberately have an accident to gain attention. I just imagined the whole process would be easy like it was with Ivy but it wasn’t. It wasn’t until she was about 3 she would go long periods without accidents. I began to worry and google for tips as now she was 3 and a half and was still wet through the night. I had tried several things however none seemed to work.
I called the health visitor for advice as she was turning 4 soon and I was beginning to get really worried as not one night had passed where she had been dry. I couldn’t help compare the girls how could they be so different? The health visitor came to see Gracie for her 4 year review and was very much pleased with her progress. So I thought It was a good opportunity to bring this topic up. I couldn’t believe when she began to discuss other situations and examples of other children’s issues at the same age as Gracie. it gave me a sense of not being the only one like this. She asked questions like if anyone in my family had been older in age before being potty trained? As it sometimes can run in the family. She advised me that unless the particular hormone in her brain is mature and released she will never be dry as she wont be ready. No mater what I try it wont make any difference until this hormone is produced she wont be dry at night.
Gracie turned 4 in February and we had the choice whether she went to school next year or waited until she was 5 1/2. We decided to put her forward for school as she is so go ahead we didn’t want to hold her back in another year of playschool if she is ready for school. Naturally I have been trying to prep her for going to school by dressing herself, toileting and zipping up her jacket independently. So with the bed wetting I was nervous of the fact that she continued to do this.
On her 4th birthday evening her granny was preparing for bed, I overheard her say she didn’t want a pull up on that night. I thought oh dear, but I let her go to bed without one since the sheets need changed anyway in the morning. Much to my joy in the morning she was dry!! She had never done this before it was a great achievement. I thought it must have been a fluke…but no she has been pretty ‘dry’ since.
I used to always lift her before I went to bed and sometimes she will shout in the middle of the night to go to the toilet. She has had the odd dribble since then so I tend to put a training mat under her in bed. However sometimes when we are having a bad week, when she isn’t getting enough attention/or her own way, like last week…for example I was working extra shifts she wet the bed for a whole week!! However usually the majority of the time she is dry.

So that was my experience with girls very different indeed. What about boys??

The average age now for potty training is 3 1/2 with teachers in schools seeing an increase in children coming to school not potty trained. 10% of 7 year old are still wetting the bed. These are facts I was glad to hear when I was struggling with Gracie’s bed wetting. Its nothing to be ashamed of and not spoken about enough. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help and advice with toilet training, and don’t feel like you’ve failed if they don’t succeed. If they haven’t realised the matured hormone they will never be ready, no mater what techniques you try at home.

”Potty training boys is so much harder than girls, they need to be at least 2 and a half!”

MALACHY

So Malachy was 21 months and he’s quite mature for his age I would say- he copy’s the girls a lot and had started showing signs like talking about going to the toilet and recognising when he’s wet! So I took a deep breath and pulled out the good old Gina Ford book for the 3rd time. To be honest I wasn’t planning on attempting it until nearer summer but I thought I would do a little test…much to my delight he knew exactly what he was doing. Sean was looking at me saying I thought we wasn’t doing this just now? But once I started and he got on so well I couldn’t stop! Didn’t want to send him confusing signals by abandoning ship.
Out of  10 days I would say we had 5 accidents/wet pants with me. Of course when I was working and grandparents had him, unfortunately not so switched on to he whole potty training thing and didn’t toilet him so often there was more accidents. He was absolutely no problem and I couldn’t quite believe how easy he was to train- even easier than Ivy.
He’s now dry for his afternoon nap, and sometimes dry at night so we’re on the right track! I must admit I was a little emotional when I began to train Malachy as he was my last and youngest in nappy’s.

What worked for me?

GINA FORD POTTY TRAINING IN 1 WEEK.
They need to be ready and show the signs.
Rewards for peeing in potty (penny sweet)
Don’t go back to nappy’s after you start- don’t confuse them!
Patients
Team work

It doesn’t mater what age they are toilet trained as every child is ready at their own pace. It can be something you don’t want to discuss with other mums as you might be ashamed or embarrassed as they begin to grow older and they have not achieved it. Speak out and seek advice. By sharing my three different experiences shows how good or how bad it can go.