I’ve let things slip. Without a doubt, I haven’t been living according to my mothering values. I think my Mother Manifesto must be hiding under a pile of work because it would seem I have forgotten what’s important to me.
Yes. I can’t remember the last time I consistently (as in, most nights) went to my kids’ bedrooms for a little chat and a smooch goodnight. Nope. When it’s come to bed time, I’ve called out ‘it’s time for bed’ and even yelled a ‘goodnight’ too with the promise, ‘I’ll be there in a minute’. And then hours pass and I go in to kiss them on the cheek when I’m heading to bed and of course they’re fast asleep.
And for me, that is NOT okay.
Now before you lovely mamas either beat yourself up because you don’t do this OR jump to my defence, I need to let you know something.
Saying good night to the kids when they hop into bed is REALLY important to ME. There’s lots of things that other mothers most likely do that’s super important to them, that I don’t. For example, my kids earn their pocket money by making their own school lunches. It works for me. I HATE that task with a passion. But some other mothers would be horrified at the thought of it, because they really want to make their kids’ lunches. It’s how they show love and also something they believe a ‘good mother’ does. Awesome. They SHOULD do that, if it’s IMPORTANT to them. Me, I don’t bat an eyelid. It’s not part of MY definition of being a ‘good mother’.
And how do I know that this one is important to me? Well it’s on my ‘Mothering Memo’. What’s that? Well that’s a document, yes I have literally written it, to guide me in my mothering. Brene Brown has a Mothering Manifesto that you can download which is a GREAT start but I do encourage you to read it and tweak it so that it really fits for YOU. After all, a Mothering Memo needs to reflect YOUR values and also work well with YOUR temperament.
I’d love to say that I developed this Mothering Memo at least 16 years ago given my eldest is 16 years old. But I didn’t. And in fact, I didn’t even do it by the time I had my 8-year-old either. Nope. This is something that I’ve only developed over the last 5 years or so. When I was challenged by the realisation that I was and am, an Ambitious Mother. This seemed to create the perfect crucible (aka angst) for me to take the time to work out my mothering values – WHO I wanted to be and WHAT I wanted to raise my children to believe. So, I did. And it has guided me through all sorts of super tricky scenarios, the day to day grind and the ‘work creep’ that comes with being an Ambitious Mother. NB. They call it that too, ‘work creep’, because it’s where work begins to ‘creep’ into your family time more than you’d like.
And on that note, that IS what’s been getting in the way of my bedtime tradition.
It’s what has caused ‘THE SLIP’.
I am SO pumped about offering my retreat in Perth in May (and Vic in August) that I’m head down, bum up tweaking the retreat content and writing the marketing.
And so, I haven’t done the bedtime thing for quite a few months BUT its only NOW that I’m realising that. In fact, it was just last night. As I got up from the couch to head to bed, extracting myself from underneath my laptop and my notebooks (I’m a stationary addict), I went and checked on the kids.
And it hit me, I miss them. I miss that time. For me, that little ritual is not necessarily long but it does mean we CONNECT in that warm fuzzy way. And that’s particularly important for me because even on the afternoons I don’t work, it’s still crazy on the drive home from school and doing the homework and dinner fiasco.
We don’t get a lot of one on one time (we are a family of 6 after all) and so the bedtime thing is IMPORTANT to me. The kids have been able to COUNT ON THAT but not for quite some time. And that’s another thing in my Mothering Memo – I want them to be able to count on me. Short of an unexpected drama, if I say I’m going to do something, I want to do it.
So, with that. Yes, I have been a bad mum – MY version of it. And it doesn’t feel right. I’m not going to beat myself up about it but I am gonna get my shit together and make the bedtime routine happen again. You can count on it. They can count on it (me) too.