Picture-Perfect is Overrated

 Sarah and her beautiful family. Photo by Bek Grace Photography.

Sarah and her beautiful family. Photo by Bek Grace Photography.

Introducing Sarah Weir (my big sister, hero, and one of the people I am constantly inspired by)... Nearly 30, married with two young children, she is an accomplished musician and music teacher. Whilst having the privilege to be a stay-at-home mum she keeps her dreams alive and skills honed by teaching piano students from home and writing songs for her local church. She is an amazing mum, full of wisdom, down-to-earth and a genuine, constant pillar of strength. I am so excited to have her as a guest blogger here on Blussh, to share one of her many pearls of wisdom.

Love Heids Xx

We’ve all been there, either as an innocent bystander, or a victim of the dreaded tantrum of a child at the shops! I’m sure the images are flooding your mind right now, as they do mine. The child, writhing on the floor, screaming about something they want, or perhaps don’t want to do. The Mother, either trying to ignore, trying to reason or yelling at the child, probably almost in tears herself. The bystanders and spectators, either feeling sympathy for the poor parent, or muttering something judgemental under their breath about what they would or did do with their child if they ever behaved like that. Sound familiar? Not long ago, I was the victim of a horrendous tantrum at the shops. But I will get to that in a minute…

I have two beautiful girls, Alicia, who is almost four, and Evie, who is 21 months. They’re my delight and joy, my greatest accomplishment, and I have the privilege of being a stay-at-home Mum. It’s the most exhilarating, exhausting, overwhelming, challenging, yet rewarding job ever. You cannot ever fully prepare for the task, and the job description is endless and ever-changing, but it’s the best! With each new stage, there are so many things to look forward to; the first smiles, the gurgles, the giggles, rolling, crawling, eating solids, their first steps, and then there is the big one, the one we dream about……..sleeping through the night! But have you ever heard the saying, ‘you have to take the good with the bad’? Well, just as each new and exciting stage holds anticipation with new milestones and possibilities, they also bring new challenges. There’s the unsettled newborn, trying to work out by process of elimination what is wrong and how to fix it, broken sleep, teething troubles, endless washing, childproofing the house as they become mobile, and when they get older, the tantrums! Oh, the tantrums.

Let me just state that I am no expert when it comes to discipline and dealing with tantrums, however, I have had quite a bit of experience doing just that in the past year! I remember after a particularly challenging day, I went to a friend’s house in the afternoon to catch up, and pretty much as soon as I walked in the door, she told me she had had a shocker of a day with her son, who is a similar age to my eldest. Can I be honest, and say it was such a relief to hear her say that?! To know that I wasn’t alone, to have a reminder that as Mother’s we all have those days, some more than others, but it still does happen. It’s so important to have people in your world that you can be honest with, that you feel safe enough to tell them how you are feeling, or the challenges you are facing without feeling judged or any less of a person. So, let me share a little of my journey…

My eldest daughter is an intelligent, fun-loving, girl with an awesome sense of humour. She comes out with some amazing things, so I started keeping a journal in order to remember some of the gems in the years to come. She is also quite a determined and quite strong-willed little girl, and has always been pretty ‘full on’. As a baby, she was always looking for the next new thing she should be doing. She was rolling at 12 weeks, sitting up by herself at 5months, crawling at 6months, walking at 11months, and I had to have my skates on just to keep one step ahead of her! I remember her starting to throw a few little tantrums at about 18 months, and remember thinking, ‘uh oh, we haven’t even hit the ‘terrible two’s’ yet. What are we in for?’ However, the terrible two’s weren’t so terrible, and I thought we had breezed few with no major incidents or battle scars. Then we hit three, and things changed. Don’t get me wrong, she didn’t suddenly turn into a monster and behave horribly all the time, but she seemed to go through bad patches, which I dubbed her ‘bad zone’. She would test boundaries, push me to my limits, and was generally unsettled. She would get frustrated quickly or out of nowhere just ‘lose it’ over something, and would do the opposite of what I said. It was the beginning of one of these ‘bad zones’ where her infamous Shopping centre tantrum took place.

Taking two children to the shops is challenging at the best of times. I try to avoid it, but sometimes you just can’t! I got the trolley out, started putting my youngest in the front seat part, when Alicia started whinging that she wanted to sit in the front seat. I explained that Evie had to sit there, as she was too little to sit in the back section. Trying to lift my three year old into the back of the trolley, she started writhing and arched her back, starting to get louder with her protests. Trying to be calm and reasonable, I told her we would not be able to go shopping if she didn’t do what I said. I once again attempted to lift her into the trolley, with people beginning to stare as she started crying and screaming louder.

Things were getting a little embarrassing, so I decided to ditch the shopping and just go home. Putting the trolley away and holding my youngest, I started to head towards the exit. The screaming continued, but now she was saying she will sit in the back and do what I say. Walking towards the exit, Alicia was pulling on my leg, lying on the floor, dragging herself behind me. I had become a hostage to my three year old! I managed to make it to a seat and tried to calm her down. To cut a long story short, I spent over an hour at the shopping centre or car park, had three people help me, and came I away with nothing but my confidence shattered and probably very high blood pressure!

One thing I have learnt in my parenting journey thus far, is to not be afraid to accept help or to ask for it! It can be humbling to admit that you can not do it on your own, that you are struggling, but it can also be liberating. I am truly blessed to have an amazing support system of family and friends, and I think it’s so important to have people in your life that you feel comfortable enough to be vulnerable and honest with. For them to see your life isn’t perfect, you don’t always have it together, and they still love you.

I know during some of the challenging times, there have been times when we have both been in tears, and I have said on many occasions, ‘I can’t do this anymore’. Feeling defeated, deflated and like a complete failure at my job as a Mum, those feelings seeped into every area of my life. Suddenly, my perspective on everything becomes tainted, including self-esteem, my self-worth and my abilities as a Mum, wife, friend, etc. It’s those times when I have had to dig in deep, pick myself up, at times with the help of others, and get on with it. Sometimes it has meant to try a new approach, or just take a deep breath and try and stay calm, to be the adult in the situation. So much of parenting is trial and error. Trying to find the best solution for that particular child and something that works for the whole family. Then once you find it, to stay consistent, patient and calm. I know that I have made my fair share of mistakes, and I have always tried to apologise to my daughter.

At this point in time, I can look back and see the progress that has been made, and it is so rewarding. To know that all the hard work, sweat and tears have been worth it. I know there will be more hurdles along the journey, but it’s comforting to know that I don’t have to walk the journey alone. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to walk telling everyone all my problems, but I believe that the journey of life, and especially motherhood, is much nicer when you are walking it alongside others. Not needing to be perfect, but being real... Sharing and celebrating each other’s triumphs, and helping each other through the difficult times.

Thanks for letting me share with you.
Love Sarah x