5 parenting lessons I STILL haven’t learned

I may have learnt some lessons in my, almost sixteen, years of being mum.
I’ve learnt to always keep your mouth tight shut when changing a baby boys nappy.
I’ve learnt to always have a snack in your handbag (still the case with teens)
I’ve learnt to ALWAYS ask a toddler if they want their sandwiches cut into triangles or squares.

There are some things though that 16 years and 4 children down the line I still get wrong. Repeated mistakes. Lessons I never learn. Things I tell myself I’ll not do again. Here are some of them :

Thinking ‘make your own pizza’ tea is a fun plan.
Every single time, I have this idea I forget about the carnage. Flour travels, you can’t stop it. One day discoveries will be made that flour can fly. This is why you find it in the hallway or on the sofa when you were sure you’d kept it on the table. Sinks full of pizza dough are no fun either. Especially if someone has bypassed the kitchen sink and washed their hands in the bathroom without your knowledge. By the time you realise it’s welded to the sink.
If you want real pizza fun, call a takeaway when the small people are in bed is my advice.

Expecting people to have listened to what you’ve said (and acted on it)
I always knew when I told toddlers to get their shoes on, chance was it wasn’t going to happen until I’d repeated my requests 5 times and used chocolate based bribery. I didn’t expect this to still be the case with teens. For example I will ask eldest boy to put a load of washing in. I will stupidly take his ‘OK mum’ as an indication that this task is to be carried out imminently. Until I go put said washing in the dryer – to find it never got there in the first place.

Expecting a movie afternoon to be a lovely, relaxing activity.
In my head we’ll put a film on, open the popcorn, all squeeze onto the sofa under a duvet and have a snuggly afternoon.
The reality goes like this :
Arguments over which movie to watch.
Arguments over who sits where on the sofa.
Arguments over which snacks to eat.
Arguments over who has too much duvet/ is sitting on the duvet / has spilt something on the duvet. Oh… and popcorn and crisp munching? Aaaarrgh sounds like someone’s brain is being crunched!!

Letting the kids ‘help’ is rarely helpful
I’ve enthusiastic children, I’m really grateful as I’d always hoped this would be the case. So enthusiastic and eager to help. So when they see you cooking or doing DIY or decorating or fixing the washing machine with superglue (don’t judge me I gave it an extra couple years of life with that trick) they’ll ask to help. You can’t say no and dampen their enthusiasm and part of me every time thinks ‘aaaw they finally have a use!!’
95% of the time their help makes a simple task complex, a 5 min job an hour long or a quick dinner a kitchen mess.
The other 5% though…. that makes up for it!

That parenting is full of surprises.
You know when they do something so unexpectedly lovely you think your heart is going to dissolve into a mushy mess.
When we get in from a rainy school day to find eldest boy has put our pj’s on the radiator.
When they save their money up to buy me a birthday treat.
When smallest girl leaves letters filled with love on my pillow.
When people put their shoes away BEFORE I fall over them (that’s a biggie)
Them being such unexpected treats means I could never learn to expect it.

So they’re the lessons I have failed to learn on my parenting journey. I probably never will…. and that’s OK.
What’s a messy kitchen and a bickery movie afternoon between friends after all??!

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