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Written by Sheree Hoddinett

“Look Mummy I can do it. I can do it and it’s because you showed me how.” My heart nearly melted with pride when my beautiful five-year-old daughter uttered those words. My girls nearly break me on a regular basis, but they sure know how to make Mummy smile in a split second! The awesome praise came about after she copied a little trick I showed her on the trampoline. It really is the little things they do that can lift your spirits, at times when they have almost worn you down. And they can definitely do the wearing down very well.

If there’s anything I have learnt in the last six to twelve months, it’s that they really like Mummy to see their achievements in action. I do my best to watch, I really do. But sometimes, I can’t watch them do the same thing for what feels like the millionth time in a row (yes I know, that’s an exaggeration). And they don’t have a lot of patience if I don’t look at them in two seconds flat when they need it either. But isn’t it funny when I need them in a hurry, it doesn’t happen. Instead, selective hearing kicks in of course. What you wanted my attention, Mummy? I guess I do get it when their attention wanders easily. Did someone say chocolate? Just kidding.

The attitude never dulls though, it just ramps up even more. I’ve tried raising my voice, lowering my voice and saying nothing at all. I take things away, I try to reason and I know I shouldn’t but I also use bribery. Nothing changes. I think it’s easy to say you know what you’re getting yourself into when you have kids. But with each new “fun” encounter, I’m not so sure. There is no manual to tell you exactly what is coming up and it is so different with each child. There is no comparison! Sure, the basics are the same, but you can never predict when each change is coming.

A friend of mine has a daughter who is just a few months younger than Miss Phoebe (now three). And we often share (commiserate) about the pain…sorry I mean joy…our daughters heap upon us. But she quite often watches in shock over what I cop from my eldest daughter. Sometimes I wonder if it’s because she’s worried about what she’s going to experience herself in two years. I remind her that she won’t be alone because I’ll be hitting the repeat button and going through the exact same thing, all over again, but with my youngest daughter.

But it is really one day at a time, right? Hell no! I try to plan as best I can for the attack of attitude that will hit me like a tonne of bricks. I’m joking, mostly. You can’t plan for that kind of thing. I might be lucky as I laugh silently and rock myself in the corner. As you can probably tell, I use humour a lot when it comes to my kids. Most of what they do is pretty funny, more so when you look back on it. It isn’t always so funny at the time. But if you aren’t laughing, the alternative is crying and I think I do way more than my share of that already.

Talking about humour, I still find one of the toughest parts of parenting is trying not to laugh when your kids do something so wrong but hilarious at the same time. You know that moment where you almost have to bite your lip to stop the laugh escaping. Because you know if you do, your kids will see and then you are screwed. Miss Phoebe is usually quite the entertainer on that front. The butt of the joke often her sister. It always comes down to perfect timing and she seems to say or do things at the right moment, usually at the dinner table too where everyone sees and hears it.

So, I guess it’s not all bad. I think I’ve said that a few times now. I’m not really sure who I’m trying to convince anymore, haha! There’s something about being a mum that is hard to pinpoint but it’s made me a different person to what I imagined. I’m not always sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing but my girls seem to love me so I’m definitely doing one thing right. I just need to work out what it is…somehow. Check out more of my parenting tales and “wisdom” (insert snort here) via my website

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